The 2017 World Trail Orienteering Championships got under way yesterday with the TempO competition, held in the grounds of Harmony Park, Vaizgaikiemis, a scenic country park and large equestrian centre near the WTOC event base in the spa town of Birstonas, south of Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas.
In the morning there were two parallel qualifying heats, held around the environs of the equestrian arena. Each course had five stations, each with five different problems to be solved. In TempO scoring is done by adding up the total time taken to solve all the stations plus 30 seconds penalty time for each wrong answer.
In Heat 1, won by the Slovakian, Pavol Bukovac with a time of 246 seconds, John Kewley finished 14th in a time of 362 seconds, with Tom Dobra 28th in 460 seconds.
In Heat 2, won by the Finn, Antti Rusanen, in a scarcely credible 193.5 seconds, 58 seconds clear of his nearest rival. Charles Bromley Gardner was 27th in 512 seconds, and Ian Ditchfield 32nd in 538 seconds.
Only the top 18 competitors in each heat go through so this meant that only John Kewley progressed to the finals, held in picturesque parkland adjacent to the equestrian centre, in the late afternoon, during what is the now traditional thunderstorm. The Final course had six stations, each with five problems.
The race was won by Vetle Ruud Bråten in his first international for Norway, in a time of 282 seconds. The Silver medal went to Martin Aarholt Waaler also of Norway and son of last year’s TempO winner, a mere 4 seconds down with 286 seconds, whilst the Bronze went to Jan Furucz of Slovakia, only a second ahead of Marit Wiksell of Sweden in a time of 329.5 seconds
John Kewley, with a penalty time of 650 seconds came 36th.
Wednesday is a Model event before the first PreO race on Thursday.