World Orienteering Championships

The World Championships opening ceremony takes place in Kiev this afternoon with Team GB in attendance. After the qualification races 13 athletes have places booked in this week´s finals. Tomorrow is the Middle Distance with four Sheffield athletes representing the country. Matt Crane finished 14th in his heat (15 to qualify) with an 11 second margin, Helen Winskill was 12th, Rachael Elder 10th and planetFear´s own Jenny Johnson 6th. Reigning womens champion Simone Niggli from Switzerland finished 2nd in her heat behind Russian Tanya Riabkina with star names like Mina Kauppi (Fin) and Anne-Margrethe Hausken (Nor) finding it tricky out there but scraping through to the final. The forest was very bushy and the contours vague with Jenny advising the GB supporters to walk in their spectator race yesterday afternoon! Thursday is the Long final with former World Sprint champion and brnze medallist from last year´s middle Jamie Stevenson leading the charge for the men after qualifying in 4th with Jon Duncan finishing 5th after missing 2 minutes at the start of his heat with a 180 error! Helen Winskill and Pippa Whitehouse compete for the women with Helen in 8th from the heats despite a dramatic fall and rescue (by a Moldovian male runner) at a 10m cliff. Friday is a rest day with a chance to sample the festival atmosphere of the city as the Ukrainians celebrate independence day. Saturday sees the relay and Sunday is the Sprint final. Updates to follow, you can (try to) follow the races here!