19th World University Orienteering Championship

19th World University Orienteering Championship

Olomouc (CZE)

Swiss dominate 19 th FISU World University Orienteering Championship

The Swiss mixed team composed of Sarina Jenzer, Martin Hubmann, Julia Gross and Matthias Kyburz won the first gold medal of the 19 th World University Orienteering Championships 2014 that took place around Olomouc, Czech Republic. The brand new discipline on the WUOC programme lead the athletes through the historical town of Kroměříž. National university teams of 28 countries consisting of two women and two men competed on the courses that took them into the gardens of the Archbishop’s Palace with the last part in the narrow streets of the old city. The Swedes came in second, losing 1:10 to the winners. After a drama on the last leg, the Czech host team won the bronze medal, delighting all the spectators at the Kroměříž Main square.

The second race of the Championship was the long distance race which took place in Nectavské údolí and its surroundings. The organisers prepared very demanding courses with many possible route choices over steep hills and deep valleys with many tough ascents and technical descents. The courses were 12.4 km long for men and 8.3 km for women. In the women’s category, Gøril Rønning Sund won the gold medal. The Norwegian dominated through the whole race and finished ahead of Bettina Aebi from Switzerland. Jana Knapová from the Czech Republic won the second bronze medal for the host country. Among the men, there was a tough battle until the very end of the race. Frédérick Tranchand (FRA) managed to catch Matthias Kyburz (SUI) on the track and this cooperation lasted to the finish, with the better result for the Frenchman. Matthias took second place. Third medal went to the brother of the silver Swiss, Andreas Kyburz.

The sprint course was situated in the surroundings of the basilica in Svatý Kopeček, leading the competitors through the local zoo and adjacent built-up area. The terrain was very hilly and forest was taking turns with asphalt and cobble stones. In the women’s category, Karolin Ohlsson got the gold medal. The Swede was leading the race throughout the whole course and the gap to the second position was nearly 20 seconds in the finish line. Anastasia Denisova from Belarus managed to get the silver medal. Elena Roos finished third and got another medal for Switzerland. The clearer the fight for the gold was amongst women, the closer it was in the category of men. Matthias Kyburz from Switzerland started earlier than his biggest rivals and he was clearly leading in the finish. Later on, his Swiss teammate Martin Hubmann crossed the finish line in the very same time and not even the electric eye was able to resolve the fight for the first place. Two gold medals for Switzerland. The World University Champion from the long distance Frédérick Tranchand (FRA) won the bronze medal.

Albin Ridefelt (SWE) was the only one to break the dominance of continental runners in the middle distance race which took place in Protivanov. Silver medal went to the French Lucas Basset, an early starter Jan Petržela from the Czech Republic took the bronze after a long-time lead in the finish. The women’s race was nearly a walkover for Sarina Jenzer. The Swiss competitor managed to win with an impressive 48 second margin ahead of Iveta Šístková (CZE). After the sprint, another medal had to be shared by two runners – this time the bronze one, won jointly by the French Lea Vercelotti and Gøril Rønning Sund from Norway.

The last day of the Championships saw an intriguing spectacle during the relay race, resulting in two golden medals both for the Swedish women and men. The women’s race reminded of an action thriller movie with the order changing at each and every control point. Until the changeover to the third leg the Swedish relay was in the lead ahead of Finland. Then, however, the Swedish anchor Lina Strand made a one-minute mistake and the Czech Iveta Šístková took the first place, cheering up all the spectators in the arena. Nevertheless, at the last radio control she was caught by the Swede and the Finn and a tough race until the finish line was to come. In the end, Lina Strand proved to be the strongest and reclaimed the gold for the Swedish team composed of Lilian Forsgren, Helena Karlsson and Lina Strand. The Czechs finished at the second spot while Finland took the bronze medal. In the men’s race, the Swedish team changed over as first after the first leg, surprisingly followed by Great Britain. Matthias Kyburz, so far the most successful individual of the Championships, pulled the Swiss to the lead after the second leg, but only less than a half minute ahead of the Swedish and Czech relays. Martin Hubmann from Switzerland was the first to fall back and it was clear that the men would repeat the same tough battle between Sweden and Czech Republic as the women fought just a few minutes before. And the result was the same all over, with Oskar Sjöberg coming first to the run in ahead of Vojtěch Král. Second gold medal goes to Sweden, this time for Rasmus Andersson, Albin Ridefelt and Oskar Sjöberg.

The medal ceremony was followed by the closing ceremony where the FISU Flag was handed over to the organizers of the 20 th World University Orienteering Championship in Hungary, in 2016.

C. Pierre, FISU Press Officer

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