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Tweet Wednesday 21st August 2019

Round Up of the 2019 World Orienteering Championships

Athletes from 48 nations took part in the Middle distance, Long distance and Relay races at Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2019.  

Congratulations to the Great Britain Team who competed at the 2019 World Orienteering Championships (WOC) in Norway last week (12 - 17 August 2019).

GB team

Left to right (front row): 
Graham Gristwood, Hector Haines, Peter Hodkinson, Ralph Street.  
Left to right (back row):  
Edward Nicholas (Team Manager), Liz Campbell (Coach), Charlotte Watson, Jo Shepherd, Cat Taylor, Megan Carter Davies, Jane Ashbrook (Physio).


Monday 12 August
World Orienteering Championships 2019
Opening Ceremony – Sarpsborg Town Square

The Opening Ceremony started with a mini concert with UKM Sarpsborg (Young Culture Meet) and then continued with a parade with all the WOC national teams. School children representing all the orienteering clubs from Østfold each carried a nation’s sign. There was marching band music by Sarpsborg Janitsjar and a speech by Sarpsborg Mayor Sindre Martinsen-Evje. The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture Frida Blomgren also gave a speech before WOC was officially declared open by the IOF president Leho Haldna. The opening ceremony then finished with the national teams then parading out.  

Read more here.  


Tuesday 13 August
World Orienteering Championships 2019
Middle distance Qualification – Knatterudfjellet, Sarpsborg

The first race was the Middle Qualification. A new rule was introduced that gives all competing nations the chance to have a runner in the Final. For both women and men, the top 15 in each of three heats went through to the Final, plus the best-placed competitor in nations with no athletes in the top 15 – as long as their time was within 100% of the heat winner’s time.

Great Britain qualified 5 out of 6 athletes to Friday's Middle Distance Final.

Jo Shepherd (5th); Cat Taylor (7th); Megan Carter Davies (10th); Ralph Street (6th) and Peter Hodkinson (9th) all qualified. Unfortunately Matt Speake (17th) just missed out. 

Read more about WOC Middle distance Qualification here.


Megan Carter Davies 
Matt Speake
Cat Taylor

Wednesday 14 August
World Orienteering Championships 2019
Long distance – Mørk, Spydeberg

Olav Lundanes, Norway is proving to be one of the greatest Long distance competitors of all time, taking his sixth gold in this format and the fourth in succession, a convincing win by 1.39. His compatriot Kasper Fosser, still a junior, took the silver medal and Daniel Hubmann, Switzerland the bronze.

Tove Alexandersson, Sweden emulated the feat of Olav Lundanes today in winning a fourth WOC Long Distance gold in a row, with a huge win by 6 minutes and 16 seconds.  Marika Teini, Finland was in a medal position for a good deal of the course, but lost time towards the end and finished 12 seconds down on the young Swiss athlete Simona Aebersold, who took the bronze medal 6.50 down on the winning time.

Great Britain had four athletes running and there were a series of good results from the athletes. Hector Haines finished in 20th place closely followed by teammate Graham Gristwood in 21st.  Jo Shepherd was an early leader and ended up finishing in 21st place with Charlotte Watson finishing in 35th.

Read more about WOC Long distance in the links below.

WOC 2019: Time for Long distance final! 
Read more here.

Master-class Gold show by Lundanes and Alexandersson.
Read more here.

Yesterday's Long Distance was the first of the finals at WOC 2019.
Read more here.

Jo Shepherd in the Leader's chair
Hector Haines 
Graham Gristwood 
Charlotte Watson
Lundanes takes GOLD 

Thursday 15 August
World Orienteering Championships 2019
Rest Day


Friday 16 August
World Orienteering Championships
Middle distance Final race, Mørk, Spydeberg

The Middle distance is a tough technical race and this year’s World Championships final was no exception. The forest was in high quality; rough; rocky and tough terrain making it hard going for all runners.

A fascinating women’s Middle distance race built up to an intensely exciting climax, as Swedish Tove Alexandersson chased down Swiss Simona Aebersold’s time on the long run-in from the edge of the forest – and won gold by just 5 seconds.

There were two bronze medallists in the Middle distance Final: Russian Natalia Gemperle and Finn Venla Harju had the same time, 1.45 down on the winning time.

Great Britain having qualified 5 out of 6 runners for this Final at the Middle distance Qualifier earlier in the week on Tuesday (13 August). The placings in the final for GB athletes were Ralph Street (19th); Megan Carter Davies (21st); Jo Shepherd (24th); Cat Taylor (27th) and Peter Hodkinson (31st).

Read more about WOC Middle distance Final here:

Start Lists for WOC Middle distance Final announced.
Read more here.

Second GOLD medal for Alexandersson and Lundanes.
Read more here.

The WOC Middle distance is a tough technical race.
Read more here.

Jo Shepherd
Cat Taylor
Ralph Street
Peter Hodkinson

Saturday 17 August
World Orienteering Championships 2019

Relay, Mørk, Spydeberg

Sweden took the Women’s Relay title at the end of an exciting battle with Switzerland on a very wet last day of Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships in Mørk, Norway; Karolin Ohlsson out-sprinted Julia Jakob on the run-in, so reversing last year’s result. Russia took bronze, finishing just ahead of Norway.

Great Britain’s women's team finished in 9th place with Charlotte Watson on Leg 1; Megan Carter Davies on Leg 2 and Cat Taylor on Leg 3. The women’s result means topping Division 2 of the Nations League and promotion to Division 1. This means that Great Britain’s women will have three long spaces at WOC 2021.

In the men's Relay last leg runner Gustav Bergman went out in third place on the last leg for Sweden, but with a confident run he overhauled both Finland and Norway to bring Sweden to gold by 1.34. Finland held on for the silver medals, and France pulled up a place to take the bronze.

Great Britain’s men’s team finished in 17th place with Peter Hodkinson on Leg 1; Graham Gristwood on Leg 2 and Ralph Street on Leg 3.

Read more about WOC Middle distance Final here:

WOC 2019: Time for the Relay!
Read more here.

WOC Relay: Double victory for Sweden.
Read more here.

Men's mass start
Peter Hodkinson
Graham and Ralph
Ralph Street
Megan Carter Davies

Around 20.000 spectators gathered for the World Orienteering Championships Finals during WOC 2019 in Østfold.

Six spectator races and three competition days at the final’s arena were very successful. The arena at Mørk Golf was one of the greatest ever seen for these kinds of competitions. Many people, orienteers and non-orienteers alike, have showed up to experience the world’s best runners compete. Both at Wednesday’s Long-distance and Friday’s Middle-distance finals the arena was crowded with people, great atmosphere and satisfied runners. Heavy rain showers made that the arena experienced slight less visitors for Saturday’s Relays.

The television broadcasts came out successful and with good ratings.

Chairman of the World Orienteering Championships main committee Sigmund Vister, says:  "Based on the feedback from spectators and runners we’ve had fantastic days in Østfold. Television viewers have also sent positive feedback."  He added: "I’m more than happy. This event came out as a huge success both organising- and spectator-wise."

Craig Anthony Head of Development at British Orienteering, says:  "It was clearly a tough week with both the weather and the terrain putting significant pressure on the team. Congratulations to the team on their results and a big thank you to the volunteer support team who accompanied them. There will be a lot to learn from this first forest only world championships since the advent of sprint Orienteering. We will continue to assess how best to support the team and wider squad towards the aim of sustainable success at the World Orienteering Championships in both the forest and next year’s sprint championships ahead of the home World Orienteering Championships in Edinburgh in 2022.”


For more information and news from this year's World Orienteering Champsionships click here.

All photo credits:  Rob Lines