The JWOC Relays in Tazlar today were the final races of the JWOC 2018 programme and Team GB bounced back in style from their disappointments in the middle, as the Women's 1st team recorded the best result by a female British trio in the discipline and the Men's 1st team put down the third best result in a JWOC relay and ended up only ten seconds away from what would have been a historic podium double. The team had gone into the races knowing that they had the physical speed and the technical preparation to cope with the challenges of the area and it was all about putting together three complete performances in a row.
In the Women's race, Fiona Bunn headed out first and, although she dropped some time on the first gaffle, she kept her composure and began to claw the front runners back-in. Having been 1:24 down at the second radio control, she managed to gain back 30 seconds over the next 3k and sent out Grace Molloy in joint 8th place. Over the next 4k, Grace ran a superb race and reduced the deficit to only 38 seconds and climbed to 5th as she headed through the arena and onto the final loop. A small wobble saw her lose around a minute, but the damage was minimal, as she handed over to Chloe Potter in 6th and only 40 seconds away from a medal. Chloe then ran the best race she'd ever had in a GB vest, as she climbed to 3rd at the half way point and even flirted with the lead as she approached the spectator control. Some small misses meant the chasing pack reeled her in, but a turn of speed into the finish straight saw her hold off both Sweden and Switzerland to claim 4th place and put the women's team onto the podium. Afterwards, Chloe said "I can't believe it - I beat Simona Aebersold, a JWOC multi-gold medalist. I'm absolutely buzzing!". The 2nd team, made up of Emma Wilson, Laura King and Niamh Hunter, performed admirably as well, ending as the 5th best placed 2nd team, with both Laura and Niamh pulling up places throughout their runs, to end in 20th position in the overall standings.
Meanwhile, the Men's race was also developing into an exciting affair. Experienced first leg runner, Alex Carcas , started well, but then had a difficult middle spell, with a number of small misses and left Aidan Rigby with a gap of around 2 minutes to make up to the main pack. Aidan then ran a controlled leg, with only a few minor mistakes and pulled up 9 places, to leave Matthew Fellbaum in 13th and around 2 minutes back from the podium. Although extremely tired from his week's exertions, Matthew managed to pull yet another consistent run out of the bag and gradually moved through the field. By the arena passage, he'd reeled in the pack of Finland, France, Poland and Switzerland and was within touching distance of the podium. However, it was not to be, as the three runners in front just managed to hold him off as he headed into the finish straight, but it was a tremendous effort, in the end, to get that close and it was the Men's team's best result since Denmark in 1995. The Men's 2nd team had also begun well, with Eddie Narbett having the run of the day on the first leg, coming back in 4th and only 19 seconds off the lead. Alastair Thomas and Daniel Spencer, tired from their exertions at both EYOC and JWOC, ran as well as they could, but it was just one race too far for their young legs and they ended up in 27th position overall and 10th placed 2nd team.
The team now head back home tomorrow with some great memories of what has been an eventful week, with outstanding performances in the relay and the sprint, and we wish them luck with the rest of the season, as many in the team now begin their preparations for JEC in the autumn.
Team GB went into today's Middle Final at Bocsa knowing that the race would be one of the most demanding in JWOC history. The planner, as expected, had saved the trickiest elements of the area for the runners in the final and he created courses that were unremitting in their technicality and intensity. The athletes were confronted by a maze of juniper, much of it impenetrable, and this required labyrinth-style navigation for nearly the entirety of the race, with virtually no let up in its mental demands.
Most of the 6 A finalists from the team were seeded for early starts and this undoubtedly meant they were at a disadvantage, as the later runners could use the tracks that appeared through some of the denser vegetation to their gain. It was some time into the race before the winning times began to come down and they stayed around three to three and a half minutes above the planned EWT, demonstrating how hard it was for even the world's best juniors to conquer this area.
Fiona Bunn and Alastair Thomas fell foul of the compulsory run-through, having not followed the tapes through the arena, a set-up which also caught out multi JWOC gold medallist, Simona Aerbersold, and all were subsequently disqualified. In the Men's race, it was a Swedish 1-2-3, with Jesper Svensk leading the medal charge and in the Women's race, it was the local favourite, Csilla Gardonyi (HUN), who took gold. For Great Britain, Niamh Hunter in 41st and
Matthew Fellbaum in 40th was again the best runners, as in yesterday's qualifier.
Tomorrow's relay promises to be a different affair, as the competition moves to the semi-open,
forested dunes of Tazlar, and the going will be lightning fast. Team GB is hoping to bounce back with a strong showing in the last race of the 2018 JWOC programme and leave with good memories of what has been a challenging week!
Entries for the British Sprint and Middle Championships are now open!
You can enter the Championships through SiEntries.
Early entries close on Sunday 15 July 2018.
Entry fees will rise after Sunday 15th July and will close on Sunday 12th August 2018.
To enter, all participants must be a member of British Orienteering or their National Orienteering Federation.
There will be no entries available for Championship courses after this date.
British Orienteering is delighted to announce we will be working with Oomph! to develop orienteering as part of their wider community programme.
British Orienteering are one of just four National Governing Bodies contracted to design appropriate activities for older adults as part of Oomph’s successful Active Ageing bid to Sport England. Oomph! was recently announced as the largest delivery partner of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund. With £915k National Lottery Funding from Sport England, Oomph! will get 27,000 adults doing regular exercise within two years. Oomph! will train around 1600 workers and volunteers in retirement villages and community venues to run adapted sports activities for older people.
Prioritising online applications from venues in the North West of England and London and the South East before moving on to other regions, their fun-first approach involves bringing elements of lesser-known sports including volleyball, weightlifting, boccia and orienteering. They will enable regular sessions to be provided to wide audience through housing associations, retirement villages and at public venues such as libraries and community centres.
Craig Anthony, Head of Development at British Orienteering said:
"Orienteering is a fantastic sport for people to get involved in at all ages. We’re pleased to be working with Oomph on this project providing our expertise and helping to ensure the people they engage in the project get a fun, enjoyable and exciting experience of our sport."
To enable the project to achieve wide reach, Oomph! has secured the involvement of the County Sports Partnership Network, an England-wide group of organisations who are responsible for facilitating sports and activity at a local level. Inactive people over the age of 55 are a large and diverse group (roughly 6.4 million people) so age and community appropriate programmes will be tailored to each setting. An anticipated 800 venue partners will use a bespoke app uploaded onto a tablet computer to enable Oomph! to report in real-time to Sport England and direct additional support to partners that are struggling to keep people on the programme.
Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England said:
“Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age. We’re delighted to be supporting Oomph! with National Lottery funding to help get older adults lead happier and heathier lives. We’ll be sharing learnings so successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country.”
The Housing Associations' Charitable Trust (HACT) has advised Oomph! on how to reach as many housing association locations as possible. Barry Malki, Head of Communities, HACT said:
“HACT is working with Oomph on this innovative project to help enable more older adults to be active in their own homes. We're excited to see the initiative being scaled up with this funding, as housing providers are increasingly looking to support their residents to improve their health and wellbeing through alternative and innovative methods.”
Nicky Ellison, National Specialist Support Manager at Hanover Housing Association who piloted Oomph! in the Community at six retirement and extra care venues this year, said:
“Oomph! trained both staff and a volunteer resident from each venue to lead activity-based sessions. Training residents as session leaders really helped gain buy-in from all the residents and ensure that sessions are truly co-produced. We were amazed at the skills and self-belief that Oomph!’s trainers instilled in all the trainee instructors, most of whom had never done anything like it before. The result has been people of wide ranging abilities pushing themselves out of their comfort zone week after week. The buzz, laughter and socialisation continues well after the sessions. With real-time monitoring of activity levels, Oomph! has been able to swoop in to offer new resources and extra support if there have been early signs of a drop in attendees or practical issues that are affecting the success of the programme.”