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JWOC Middle: GOLD for Ojanaho and Ahlsand

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[With splits analysis, video interviews, photos] The Junior World Championships Middle distance offered tricky orienteering – which gave very big challenges for the athletes. Many of the favourites got problems in the slopes around Rauland – the terrain offering many diffuse marshes and varying vegetation.

Again it was a day for the Scandinavian runners – with gold for Finland’s Olli Ohanaha and Norway’s Anine Ahlsand. In the men’s class Swedish Erik Andersson (14 seconds behind) and Swiss Sven Hellmüller were closest. In them women’s class early starting Swede Johanna Öberg (also 14 seconds behind) and Swiss Sandrine Müller were closest.

Both Swiss runners – Sven Hellmüller and Sandrine Müller have good connections with Scandinavia; competing for Scandinavian clubs and having spent time preparing in Scandinavia.

Ojanaho: Strong start – mistakes in the end

Olli Ojanaho had a very strong start, running faster than everybody else until the arena passage after around 3 km – leading with more than a minute. Then Ojanaho started losing time, and Swedish Erik Andersson got closer and closer. At the 17th control of 19 the lead was down to only 7 seconds. But like a true master Ojanaho refocused and finished stronger than all his opponents.

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Looking at the rest of the start field, there were many who had medal speed in part of the course, but the tricky part today was to adapt the speed to the difficulties. While some controls were “high speed – easy orienteering”, there were some really tricky controls in dense vegetation. The key to perform well today was to know when to run fast and when to slow down. Three runners who had the speed but made big mistakes are shown in the illustration below. Markus Holter (Norway) and Simon Hector (Sweden) both had excellent speed but made big mistakes at the 5th control – Hector had even gold medal speed. Italian Riccardo Scalet had a good start of the race – clearly fastest of the earlier starters, but made a big mistake after the spectator control.

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Women: Ahlsand exploited Öberg’s mistake

In the women’s class Swedish Johanna Öberg started early and set a fantastic time. She did not look 100% happy after her race though, as she had lost half a minute towards the end of the race. This mistake proved to be crucial in the end – Norwegian Anine Ahlsand using the opportunity to pass her – and in the end beat Öberg with 14 small seconds. The fight between Müller and Öberg was also close. Müller was very close to catching the silver medal but lost some time on the control after the spectator control.

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Looking further down at the results, last starter and qualification heat winner Sara Hagström, Sweden, must be mentioned. She had definitely gold medal speed, leading the race before she made a big mistake and went out of the fight for medals (see illustration below).

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Maps, courses and GPS-tracking

Results

Men

1. Olli Ojanaho FIN 25:13 (+0:00)
2. Erik Andersson SWE 25:27 (+0:14)
3. Sven Hellmuller SUI 26:16 (+1:03)
4. Jonas Madslien Bakken NOR 26:22 (+1:09)
5. Audun Heimdal NOR 26:43 (+1:30)
6. Nikita Stepanov RUS 26:57 (+1:44)
7. Emil Granqvist SWE 27:21 (+2:08)
8. Jens Ronnols SWE 27:32 (+2:19)
9. Markus Holter NOR 27:33 (+2:20)
10. Anton Kuukka FIN 27:44 (+2:31)
11. Anders Felde Olaussen NOR 27:58 (+2:45)
12. Simon Hector SWE 28:16 (+3:03)
13. Magnus Dewett DEN 28:25 (+3:12)
14. Topi Raitanen FIN 28:35 (+3:22)
15. Andreas Soelberg NOR 28:36 (+3:23)

Women

1. Anine Ahlsand NOR 26:57 (+0:00)
2. Johanna Oberg SWE 27:11 (+0:14)
3. Sandrine Mueller SUI 27:14 (+0:17)
4. Anna Haataja FIN 27:30 (+0:33)
5. Ingeborg Eide NOR 27:48 (+0:51)
6. Tilda Johansson SWE 27:55 (+0:58)
7. Paula Gross SUI 29:04 (+2:07)
8. Pihla Otsamo FIN 29:25 (+2:28)
9. Andrea Svensson SWE 29:26 (+2:29)
10. Marie Olaussen NOR 29:52 (+2:55)
11. Sara Hagstrom SWE 29:58 (+3:01)
12. Daria Korobeynik RUS 30:19 (+3:22)
13. Kerstin Ullmann SUI 30:38 (+3:41)
14. Miri Thrane Odum DEN 30:42 (+3:45)
15. Tereza Novakova CZE 30:49 (+3:52)

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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4 comments

  1. May be also noticable: Sprint winner Simona Aebersold had a good start, then a terrible 9th control where she lost appr. 7:30 and after that she continued with same speed as the podium girls…