Gold medals to Hara and Bogar at the WMTBOC Sprint

The second day of the World MTB Orienteering Championships continued with the sprint competition in Seinäjoki, Finland. The courses started in a largely forested area where demands in addition to finding the right route choices were placed on both technical riding skills and in places quite intense navigation. As usual in sprint competitions quick decision making and minimizing mistakes was key to a good result.

In the Womens competition Marika Hara of Finland turned in a strong and consistent performance to win the gold medal. She was in a leading position at each of the 3 intermediate controls on the 7.3 km long course and ended up with a rather comfortable winning margin for a sprint of 25 seconds. This was a great way to bounce back from her 4th position in the Mass Start competition yesterday. Svetlana Foliforova, competing as a neutral athlete from Russia, added a silver medal to her mass start gold following a strong performance once again. The bronze was maybe a bit of a surprise and went to Anna Tiderman of Sweden who seemed to have an error-free race. She started very early in the field and had a long wait for the medal decisions.

A number of the main favourites made mistakes early in the competition and were not able to gain back enough time to content for the medals. Veronika Kubinova of the Czech Republic actually seemed to the fastest on the day and had an early 40 second lead but a couple of sizeable mistakes dropped her down to 6th place in the end. Based on form she is definitely a medal contender for future competitions.

Womens gold medallist Marika Hara (FIN) attacking the challenging terrain at the WMTBOC Sprint

In the Mens competition Krystof Bogar of the Czech Republic earned his gold medal through a dominant performance. He was basically in the lead from start to finish powering ahead of his competitors physically and making no obvious route choice or navigation errors. His winning margin of 48 seconds is impressive for a sprint race. The silver medal was won by Simon Braendli of Switzerland in a similar fashion. With a strong start, he was in a clear second place nearly the entire way around the course. Although his lead on 3rd place dropped from around 30 seconds to 10 in the last part of the course it was a clear silver performance.

Bronze winner Valerij Glukhov, neutral athlete from Russia, however was in a fight with 5-6 others for the final medal. From 9th place at the first intermediate time he improved to 5th at the second intermediate after 6.3 km of the 9.2 km course. He finally pulled into 3rd position following a better route choice to the 23rd of the 29 controls and a very fast finish in the final urban part of the course.

Krystof Bogar (CZE) pushing hard towards his gold medal in the WMTBOC Sprint competition

Results – Women

Results – Men

Junior World MTB Orienteering Championships

Among the junior women the medallists were also the top 3 along the course. Liliou Pauly of France actually started first of all competitors today and set a good early target to beat. Her leading result lasted for a very long time and was finally only bested by Kaarina Nurminen of the host nation Finland. Actually Nurminen first overtook Pauly for the lead after about half the course, but in the final half pulled away to a commanding 45 second victory on the 5.9 km course. Kaarina Nurminen adds this Sprint gold to her gold medal from the Mass Start competition yesterday. Lilou Pauly won the silver medal 5 seconds ahead of Alena Aksenova of the Russian Federation.

The junior mens competition was very exciting with multiple lead and position changes among the top 10-15 riders. Bartosz Niebielski of Poland executed the first 2/3rds of the 7.1 km course the best and had a 20 second lead with 2 km remaining. However, a big mistake after the arena passage ruined the day and dropped him to a final 11th position. In the end it was a double for the Danish team with Mikkel Brunstedt Nørgaard putting in the best overall performance to take the gold medal 11 seconds ahead of his teammate and gold medallist from yesterday’s Mass Start winner, Morten Jørgensen. Jørgensen recovered from an early navigation mistake through a very fast finish in the last 2 km. Bronze medallist was Noah Rieder of Switzerland also with a solid consistent performance.

Results – Junior Women

1 Kaarina Nurminen Finland 18:07
2 Lilou Pauly France 18:52
3 Alena Aksenova Russian Federation 18:57
4 Pihla Hakkinen Finland 19:16
5 Silja YliHietanen Finland 19:51
6 Vilma Pesu Finland 19:59

Results – Junior Men

1 Mikkel Brunstedt Noergaard Denmark 20:03
2 Morten Jorgensen Denmark 20:14
3 Noah Rieder Switzerland 20:51
4 Simo Klemettinen Finland 20:57
5 Yaroslav Shvedov Russian Federation 21:08
6 Vladimir Kuznetsov Russian Federation 21:34

Interview with Krystof Bogar (CZE):