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WOC Middle Live from 12.40: Favorites and Background

woc2010logoThe middle distance starts at 12:40 CET – with the winner in the mens class in the finish around 16:20 CET. Again the excellent live services including live GPS tracking, video streaming and Live Blog will make this a very interesting day for all orienteering lovers.

The two big favorites in the WOC Middle distance are Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou – but in any other terrain they would probably both be even bigger favorites. Thus the WOC Middle distance is open – and exciting – in both the mens and womens classes – look out for a real thriller later today!

Important links and information

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Favorites: Men

topmen
Top Favorites:

  • Thierry Gueorgiou: The best middle distance runner in the world – and the biggest favorite in many people´s books. Gueorgiou has been the king of middle for many years, and has shown that he masters the Norwegian terrain well – however so do the best Norwegians and Swedes, and Gueorgiou has not at all been unbeatable in this kind of terrain. He his really hungry for this victory, though.
  • Carl Waaler Kaas: Very determined and strong technical runner, and has been extremely strong in tests lately. Some injury problems just ahead of WOC, but not enough to make an impact on his shape. All the three Norwegians – Kaas, Nordberg and Weltzien – are very strong and could turn out as gold medalists at the middle distance, but Kaas is my favorite of them in the Trondheim terrain based on results in local and national races this year.
  • David Andersson: Strong middle distance runner, with a breakthrough in WOC 2005 in Japan with a 4th place. This is still his best individual WOC result, but based on results races earlier this year he is among the top favorites for gold in WOC middle. It was difficult choosing between Andersson and Peter Öberg for one Swede on the list of top favorites – both can turn out being the gold medalist in the end.
  • Daniel Hubmann: I take the chance of putting Hubmann up on the list of top favorites yet again – even after two 7th places. The middle distance will probably be a bit less Nordic in characteristics, suiting Hubmann better, but is he in his best shape? Due to Gueorgiou missing out on World Cup and EOC races on the middle distance this year, Hubmann is actually on top of the World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
  • Anders Nordberg: Nordberg took silver on WOC long, but is just as strong on the middle distance. Knows what is required to win a middle distance race in the Trondheim terrain, and has a bit less pressure on his shoulders after the silver medal on the long distance.

Outsiders:

  • Mattias Merz: Did not impress on he long distance, but may still come back to the very top at the middle distance if he has the day. Took the second spot on EOC Middle this year – and has the 4th spot on the World of O Ranking on the middle distance. The key to success for Merz and the other Swiss runners is the Nordic terrain.
  • Valentin Novikov: On the list due to his gold medal in EOC Middle distance earlier this year, but probably not strong enough in Nordic terrain. Has surprised earlier though, and can do it again… 3rd spot on the World of O Ranking on middle distance.
  • Francois Gonon: Very strong at the long distance, just missing out on a medal by 27 seconds. Showed good orienteering in large parts of the course, especially in the uphills early in the race. Might reach very far with a good race. Only 22nd spot on the World of O Ranking on middle distance, but finished 5th in WOC Middle distance in 2009 and showed his capacity there.
  • Peter Öberg: Has not showed earlier this year that he is one of the big favorites for the gold medal in the middle distance, but if he gets close to his capacity from last spring, nobody can beat him. 8th spot on the World of O Ranking on middle distance.
  • Audun Weltzien: Won the Nordic Tour, and after having trouble in the important races earlier in his career, has lately shown that he can handle the pressure a lot better. An outsider, but may still be on top of the podium at the end of the day. 5th spot on the World of O Ranking on middle distance.
  • Tero Föhr: The Finnish runners have not shown impressive form at this years WOC, but Föhr may still be in on the fight for the medals. 7th spot on the World of O Ranking on middle distance.
  • Matthias Müller: The gold medalist from the sprint is in good shape, and has shown earier (4th spot WOC Middle last year) that he can perform very well on the middle distance as well. One to look out for for the medals. 8th spot on the World of O Ranking on middle distance.
Favorites: Women

topwomen

Top Favorites:

  • Simone Niggli: 17 WOC gold medals – and probably the biggest favorite at the WOC middle distance also, even if middle is her “worst” discipline. Will be really difficult to beat also on middle, but this is the big chance of the competitors. On top on the World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
  • Marianne Andersen: Running for her first individual WOC gold medal – and the middle distance in Trondheim might be the place where it will finally happen. Silver from WOC Middle 2006 and 2009 and bronze from WOC Middle 2007 – will this finally be the gold medal race for Andersen? The biggest favorite along with Simone Niggli. Number two (shared with Kauppi) on World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
  • Helena Jansson: Won NOC Middle last year, and 4th spot in EOC middle earlier this year. Very strong middle distance runner in Nordic terrain – and may be the one to challenge Andersen and Niggli. Missed out on the medals on the long distance. 6th place on the World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
  • Minna Kauppi: Has struggled a bit in 2009 and 2010, and been sick on the run-up to the championships. A real fighter, and nobody would be surprised if she took the gold medal despite some problems. Needs to have a good start in the race to keep pushing all the way to the end. Shared 2nd place on the World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
  • Signe Söes: Finally a medalist at EOC with her silver medal on the middle distance – despite injury problems all winter. Has taken the steps towards the top one by one the last years, and if everything fits she could be able to take the final step in the middle distance today. More likely that Söes is fighting for the bronze, though.

Outsiders:

  • Anne Margrethe Hausken: The big star in 2008 when winning the overall World Cup, but has had some injury problems in 2009 and 2010. Middle is not Hauskens best discipline – she has not made many really good middle distance races. However, if she has the day, notbody can beat her. Only 15th place on World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
  • Dana Brozkova: Brozkova is 4th on the World of O Ranking on the middle distance, but has not showed those kind of results in Trondheim yet. Reigning world champion on the middle distance – and has shown good shape in continental terrain earlier this year, and must therefore be counted among the outsiders.
  • Merja Rantanen, Lena Eliasson, Vroni König Salmi: These three women are also fighting for the medals at WOC middle distance – being placed 7, 8 and 9 on the World of O Ranking on the middle distance.
Fantasy World Cup

Remember to submit your team to the Fantasy World Cup 2010. All WOC finals are part of the World Cup, and 10 of the 13 World Cup events count in the overall Fantasy World Cup. The last chance to update your Fantasy World Cup team ahead of the middle final is at 12:40 CET – 2 minutes ahead of the first start!

WOC History

Another useful resource is the World of O Runners WOC history page – giving you all the best WOC results for each discipline sorted by country. We will update these pages during the championships.

LiveBlog for WOC 2010

There will be a LiveBlog during all of WOC in a cooperation between WorldofO.com and the WOC organizers in Trondheim. I will be reporting live from the arena/forest via mobile phone. All Tweets from Eliteorienteers go directly into the LiveBlog.

HeadCam videos

HeadCam video through part of the WOC Long Qualification course Women heat B. Get to know the type of terrain the WOC athletes meet in Trondheim by comparing map with terrain as seen through the eyes of a runner with a HeadCam mounted on the head. The runner speed (including some mistakes not shown) is just about what was required to get to an A-final. This video was made on request based on the comments on the World of O Facebook page after the WOC Middle Qual HeadCam video (see below). Longer version coming…

HeadCam video through part of the WOC Middle Qualification course Women heat C. Here the HeadCam footage is combined with 3DRerun visualization which gives an overview of the course. The runner speed here was just inside what was required for an A-final spot (thus some mistakes are allowed in the womens class).

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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