Orienteering World Cup Race 1 Results

Yesterday, the British Team assembled in Lapua, Finland for the first race in the Orienteering World Cup 2007. There was a qualification race (divided into 6 heats, 3 for men and 3 for women) and a final, where the top 16 runners from the three heats ran head to head for glory. The Qualification Races started at 9.00 (GMT) and the finals at 17.00 (GMT) with women starting before the men, the final finishing in the Jukola Competition Centre. The races were all less than 3.5km and winning times were expected to be under 15 minutes. Qualifications went well in the GB Camp with 6 runners out of the 18 team members qualified for the A Final. Rachael Elder, Jenny Johnson, Pippa Whitehouse, Jonathan Duncan, Graham Gristwood and eventually Rob Baker were those who qualified. Everyone else were put into the B final, where runners competed for positions from 50th place onwards. Rob Baker´s route to the A final was filled with controversy as his map was covered with permanent marker, making it nearly impossible for him to read his map. He lost quite a lot of time with this, and it was deemed unfair by the organising committee – so moved him up to the A final. The Women´s A final didn´t raise any eyebrows with the 12 times world champion Simone Niggli-Luder (SWI) taking the top spot, closely followed by Helena Jansson (SWE) only three seconds behind and Heli Jukola (FIN) in the bronze medal position. planetFear´s own Jenny Johnson qualified in 13th place and managed to get some high profile scalps in the final, finishing in a creditable 28th position. Best result for the Brits was Pippa Whitehouse who finished just ahead of Jenny in 26th position, with Rachael Elder finishing in a solid 38th.The Men´s A Final was also no surprise with World Ranked no.1 Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA) taking the gold. Thierry was closely followed by Mats Haldin (FIN), recent winner of the York City Race and Emil Wingstedt (SWE), with all three medallists within 18seconds of the top spot. World number 2 Daniel Hubmann was disqualified, uncharacteristic of the young Swiss runner. Great GB performances from Graham Gristwood in 11th and Jon Duncan in 15th beating some world class competitors such as Pasi Ikonen, Mattias Millinger and Øystein Kvaal Østerbø. Rob Baker whose qualification was controversial, finished strongly in 42nd position.Results for the World Cup Race can be found here. The athletes now look forward to the Virkiä Jukola Relay that takes place this weekend starting on Saturday, running into the early hours of Sunday morning with over 13,000 runners taking part. The women´s race starts at 13.00(GMT) and runs throughout the afternoon, and the men´s race starts at 21.00(GMT) running through the night into the early hours of the morning. Live results can be followed at the Virkiä Jukola Website.