Yesterday saw the third medal day of the World Orienteering Championships with the Middle distance race held in the hilly venue of Jizera. Switzerland’s Matthias Kyborz took gold in the Men’s and Tove Alexandersson claimed her third gold of the competition so far to win the women’s.
Three heats in each category were comprised of 102 men and 83 women competitors from whom the course setter prepared a very challenging course in the mountain terrain with thick forests, rock fields, granite boulders and steep hills. The fifteen fastest runners from three heats in each gender qualified for the final race, with the winners of the heats managed to push down the time to between 28 and 31 minutes on courses with the length of 3.5 km and 200 m elevation gain for women, and 4 km and 265 m of climb for men.
The fastest men in the individual heats were Norwegian Kasper Harlem Fosser, together with Swiss runner Matthias Kyburz and Lucas Basset from France. The big favourite of the race, Swedish runner Tove Alexandersson, conquered the women’s heat B, whilst Sabine Hauswirth of Switzerland and Marie Olaussen representing Norway were the best in the other two heats.
GB Megan Carter-Davies, Cat Taylor, Peter Bray, Ralph Street also qualified and gained their places to compete in the Individual Middle distance race later that day.
The terrian for the Individual Middle distance race Final was challenging mountain terrain with broken ground, partly marshy. Hilly and physically demanding, altitude 530 - 836 m.
Swiss runner Matthias Kyburz was crowned the new 2021 Middle distance world champion managing to finish the 5.4 km long course in a very demanding terrain of constant rock fields and granite boulders in 39:31, more than four minutes behind the expected winning time.
Kyburz said: “It’s been five years since the last individual medal and to win again after this long time is just amazing. I told myself today that I have to be really strict with the map reading as it is a technical terrain. Sometimes in the control circle, I felt like the windscreen wiper, looking for the control, but I never lost the grip.” Kyburz is the owner of five gold World Orienteeringg Championship medals. He beat the silver medalist Gustav Bergman from Sweden by 40 seconds and Ukrainian Ruslan Glibov in the third position by 47 seconds.
GB Ralph Street (49:06) and finished in 27th position and Peter Bray (51:21) finishing in 34th.
In the Women's Middle distance Final even Tove Alexandersson (SWE) like many other female athletes made a mistake at the beginning of the tricky course but she managed to close the gap very quickly and showed who is the queen of WOC 2021 receiving the third gold medal in a row. Alexandersson said: “I had a really tough start, I did two quite big mistakes so I had to fight mentally as well to stay focused and positive. I really liked today’s terrain, it's so challenging and tough physically and technically. I’m really happy and satisfied with how I did today.” Norwegian Andrine Benjaminsen ran the race of her life and took the silver medal finishing 2:21 behind Alexandersson. Simona Aebersold from Switzerland won a close fight for the bronze medal over Kamilla Steiwer from Norway.
GB Megan Carter-Davies (50:21) finished in 26th position and Cat Taylor mis-punched.
Full results from the Middle distance Final can be found here.
Photo above left: (left to right) Gustav Bergman (SWE), Matthias Kyburz (SUI), Ruslan Glibov (UKR).
Photo above right: (left to right) Andrine Benjaminsen (NOR), Tove Alexandersson (SWE), Simona Aebersold (SUI).
Photo credit: Petr Kadeřávek
Tomorrow (8 July) the World Orienteering Championships will continue with the Relay in Heřmánky, situated in Česká Lípa district , 16 km (20 min of driving) from the Event Centre in Doksy.
Women's Relay - GB team
Start time: 16:20 (15:20 UK time)
Megan Carter- Davies
Men's Relay - GB team
Start time: 18:25 (17:25 UK time)
British Orienteering wishes the GB team all the very best as they get set to compete in the Relay at the World Orienteering Championships.
The full start list is available here.
Watch the action live and follow the excitement with the GPS tracking here.