The final day of the European Youth Orienteering Championships was the best from a British perspective, with one top 10 and 3 more top 20 results.
Central Grodno was the venue for the sprint races on the hottest day of the competition, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees towards the end of the race. The athletes stated that all the courses provided a lot of 60/40 route choices on a typical continental old town area.
David Bunn was first off in the morning after struggling with a bout of food poisoning that affected several athletes across most teams. David, still recovering from injury, along with the food poisoning, felt he would have had a lot more speed in his legs at peak fitness, but was still disappointed with a few mistakes to finish 39th.
First up for the women was Lizzie Stansfield who finished 48th, closely followed by Rachel Brown who made a 20-30 second mistake, but still finished 20th overall in the W16 class. Rachel felt she had the speed for a better result and is already looking ahead to improving on this debut sprint performance next year.
Matthew Gooch and Alice Wilson started either side of 10am local time and had varying performances with both just over 2 minutes 10 seconds behind the eventual winners .
Then the two M16’s set off ten minutes after one another and produced two of the best team performances of the day. Joe Hudd stormed round in 9:22, just 25 seconds back from the winner, to finish 10th. Jim Bailey was just 8 seconds slower, finishing in 18th.
Joe said “I had really good fun, I enjoyed the technical difficulty of the race, but struggled a bit in the heat. Overall, though, I’ve had a really fun debut and learnt a lot”
Flurry Grierson has had a good set of runs this weekend and topped it off with a run into 18th in the M18 class. Annika Schwarze-Chintapatla was the last of the Brits to start and finished 66th overall.
Full results from the Sprint are available here. The organizers also award a team prize with the top 3 teams being:
2nd Czech Republic
The team have performed admirably across the 5 days and have shown real resilience and team spirit which will stand them in good stead for their future international careers. The team is now on the journey home from Grodno with many of the team starting a busy summer of camps and competitions.
Paul Murgatroyd, Head Coach for Talent, said, “the team will have learnt a lot from the experience they have gained this weekend. They have all demonstrated the ability to bounce back from adversity, putting dispapointments in previous races behind them, and managing to refocus again on the next race, which is crucial in the tight timescales of international competition. Both as a squad, and as individual athletes, we will review the learning points from this competition and plan how to work on those aspects for future races.”