On Friday 14 May, athletes from a total of 28 Nations met in St-Blaise for the Knock-out Sprint Qualification races. It is a community which lies a few kilometers east of the European Orienteering Championships main city on the Lake of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The finish arena of the competition was located directly on the shore of the lake at the local boat harbour.
The race was divided into three start heats each for the men and the women. 12 athletes could qualify from each heat for the final races. Three athletes represented Great Britain, Thomas Wilson and Jo Shepherd finished 24th and 25th respectively and unfortunately missed out on the Quarter Finals. GBR Megan Carter- Davies finished 4th in her heat and progressed to the Quarter Finals which took place yesterday (Saturday 15 May).
Megan raced in Quarter Final 1 and finished 2nd to move into the Semi-Finals later in the day. Faced with a strong field she ran a solid race but failed to make the Final.
The qualification race for the athletes was a little over 3 kilometers long with 50 meters climb. 20 control points had to be found in a running time of less than a quarter of an hour. Longer sections between the individual controls were equally challenging for the participants as were the technically difficult passages in the narrow alleyways and roads of the village with the character of an Italian little town. Beginning rain created slippery conditions in the women’s race and added to the challenge.
The first two places in the Semi-Finals heats secured a ticket for the final of the best 6 athletes. There were almost two kilometres to be covered per round and between 12 and 19 control points to be found. The constant contact with the opponents and the many changes of directions ensured that full concentration was required to advance another round.
The final of the Knock-out Sprint was the second of three medal decisions at the EGK European Orienteering Championships (EOC) 2021 on Saturday. In rainy and nasty weather conditions in Neuchâtel, the Swiss Matthias Kyburz for the men and Tove Alexandersson for the women showed convincing races.
Tove Alexandersson (SWE) and Simona Aebersold (SUI) demonstrated their skills in the women’s competition right from the start. They were the fastest athletes in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and ultimately in the finals. The Swede won the final race with an eight-second lead over the Swiss with a running time of just over seven minutes. The Norwegian Benjaminsen completed the podium 18 seconds behind.
The decision was much narrower in the men’s Final. Winner Kyburz was only one second ahead of his team-mate Hadorn; third placed Norwegian Fosser was only three seconds behind the gold medalist. There were almost three medals in sight for the EOC host country Switzerland. Ricardo Rancan only missed the podium by a second in fourth place and was awarded an EOC 2021 diploma.
Yannick Michiels did not qualify for the finals of the six best men. The Belgian who was considered a favourite for a medal was surprisingly eliminated in the quarter-final.
The format of the Knock-out sprints in orienteering is still young. The discipline also celebrated its inauguration at the European championships. On Final day of the Knock-out Sprints yesterday, the 36 best athletes were at the start who had recommended themselves for the finals in the qualifying races the previous day.
A full overview and results can be found here.
Watch slideshow from the Knock-out Sprints here.
Today (Sunday 16 May), at the end of the EGK European Orienteering Championships, an individual sprint is on the programme. As with the Knock-out Sprint, the finish arena will be located again on the Place des Halles in the middle of the city of Neuchâtel. No spectators are allowed on site due to Covid-19 measures, but the competition will be broadcast live on the Internet and Swiss TV (SRF2 at 13:15) as well as in several Scandinavian countries.
Programme and Timetable for today: Individual Sprint
Sunday, 16.05.2021, Neuchâtel, Place-des-Halles
|13:10 (UK time 12:10)||Sprint men and women (top 40 each)|
|14:10 (UK time 13:10)||Last woman at the finish|
|15:15 (UK time 14:15)||Last man at the finish|
|15:40 (UK time 14:50)||Award ceremony|
Start Times for Great Britain
Thomas Wilson 12:24:00 (UK time 11:24)
Jo Shepherd 12:44:00 (UK time 11:44)
Megan Carter Davies 12:44:00 (UK time 12:44)
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish Thomas, Jo and Megab representing Great Britain today all the very best and good luck wishes as they prepare to compete today in the Individual Sprints.
Watch LIVE TV broadcast and Live GPS tracking - find out more here.
15:35 (UK time 14:35) Prize-giving ceremony, free web-TV here.