World Orienteering Championships Selection Races

Last weekend saw approximately 30 athletes travel to Denmark to compete for a place in the Great Britain team for the World Orienteering Championships. The championships are going to be held in and around Aarhus and Silkeborg (mainland Denmark) at the end of July and beginning of August, and so the selection races were held in relevant terrain. Friday – sprint race Held in Botanisk Have, an open park in the town of Aarhus, the weekend opened with a short sharp sprint race. Quick decision making and running speed were the main requirements and with some very close times, every second really did count. Men 1 Graham Gristwood 12.50 2 Jon Duncan 12.53 3 Matt Speake 13.00 4= Oli Johnson 13.10 4= Ewan McCarthy 13.10 6 Nick Barrable 13.15 Women 1 Helen Bridle 14.03 2 Pippa Whitehouse 14.16 3 Sarah Rollins 14.30 4= Rachael Elder 14.58 4= Jenny Whitehead 14.58 6 Joanne Stevenson 14.59 Saturday – middle race The competition moved into the forest on the Saturday, with the middle race being held in Silkeborg Nordskov. Again the results were really close, with only 45 seconds covering the top 5 men. British number 1 and pre-race favourite Jamie Stevenson had a strong race but lost his chance of a top result when he made around a 2 minute mistake about half way through the race. Neil Northrop was leading at the mid point, but faded in the second half to drop down to 12th place, leaving Jon Duncan and Oli Johnson to fight for the win. Neck and neck most of the way round, their times were level at the last control, but Jon?s speed at the end paid off for a 1 second victory. In the women?s race, the youngster Alison O?Neill took victory from British number 1 Sarah Rollins. Alison had a solid race, only winning 1 split but not losing much time at any control. This is a great result for the 20 year old. She won a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in 2004, but she had a tough year in 2005 suffering from some injuries, so this is a great return to form for her. Men 1 Jon Duncan 33.04 2 Oli Johnson 33.05 3 Matt Crane 33.18 4 Matt Speake 33.20 5 Graham Gristwood 33.48 6 Jamie Stevenson 34.27 Women 1 Alison O´Neill 33.17 2 Sarah Rollins 33.44 3 Helen Bridle 33.56 4 Rachael Elder 34.45 5 Jenny Whitehead 34.47 6 Becky Carlyle 38.35 Sunday ? long race Back to Silkeborg Nordskov for the final selection race, the classic distance. With expected winning times of 65 and 80 minutes for the women and men, this is the race where true fitness levels show. The courses were not overly challenging technically (a theme of the weekend), and so it was down to the physical challenge of the undulating Danish forest to split the athletes. Jamie Stevenson showed his true class in winning by 3 minutes from Jon Duncan, demonstrating that he has an excellent chance of winning a medal in the World Championships. Oli Johnson completed the top 3, another minute behind. True to form, Sarah Rollins was back at the top, also winning by 3 minutes from Alison O?Neill, who showed that the middle race victory was no fluke. After 4th in both the sprint and middle. Rachael Elder finally got on the podium with a 3rd place, a minute and a half behind Alison. Men 1 Jamie Stevenson 77.03 2 Jon Duncan 80.04 3 Oli Johnson 81.25 4 Dan Marston 81.32 5 Matt Speake 82.16 6 Nick Barrable 83.07 Women 1 Sarah Rollins. 63.50 2 Alison O´Neill. 66.29 3 Rachael Elder 68.02 4 Jenny Whitehead 68.19 5 Jo Stevenson 68.39 6 Helen Bridle 68.42 The GB Team Men David Brickhill-Jones S Graham Gristwood S Matthew Speake S Matt Crane M Jon Duncan MLR Jamie Stevenson MLR Oli Johnson LR Women Helen Bridle SMR Sarah Rollins SMR Pippa Whitehouse S Rachael Elder ML Alison O?Neil LR Jenny Whitehead L Reserves Jo Stevenson Ewan McCarthy S ? Sprint, M ? Middle, L ? Long, R ? Relay Full results and selections can be found on the British Orienteering Federation website And finally congratulations to planetFear team member Jenny Whitehead for making the team. Good luck in Denmark.