Recap of WOC 2022
10 minute read
It's that time of year again where we get to experience the highest level of orienteering, this time in the first ever sprint-only world champs! I did not get to participate this year, but I still wanted to go over some of the maps and results that came out of this championship.
Despite being a forest orienteer, I found WOC this year to be quite entertaining. It seems that they increased the usage of artificial barriers which really made the courses quite challenging and we got to see some awesome unexpected results.
Relays are always a blast, and this year was no different. Right out of the gate there was a very interesting first control for the women. A forked leg with vastly different route choices depending on which control point they had. For option B the clear option was to go south and for option A it seems that north or south were about the same if executed properly. Main takeaway here is that the southern option while similar distance seemed to be a bit speedier because there was so much straight running and not very many turns. Marika Teini seemed to do quite well out the start, but then again some competitors had to take option B which was not as good in the beginning here.
After that there weren't any super interesting legs until after the arena passage where there was still a small group together in the lead. There were two main routes to number 10 and what was quite suprising is that despite the fact that both options were so close together, the best route choice for each option was still different! This is great course planning. North was slightly better for option A and south for option B.
There was also a middle route to option A although it seems that Basset lost a little bit of time, but no hard feeling because if you take a look at the top route it is actually quite difficult to spot since the runners had to do a sharp U-turn and even then it's not clear that there is a good path to the control unless you look at it carefully while running the arena passage (which I'm sure many of them did).
At this point Lina Strand (Sweden), Simona Aebersold (Switzerland) and Charlotte Ward (Great Britain) took a small lead which I assume just came from high speed on the way to the tenth control. This continued all the way until the end of the first leg where Lina Strand ran away from Simona on the last few controls.
Max Petr Bejmer started for Sweden with a small lead and managed to keep it up pretty well. Hadorn had the worse forking on the first control and made some mistakes which didn't help and MPB was a full control ahead by number 4. They had the same leg after the arena passage and MPB took another great route to the south and maintained his lead while the rest were trying to catch up. The rest of the runners gained some time from pure speed on 11 and 12
Then came the most decisive part of the whole relay. The Swiss, Norwegian, Czech and Finnish team ran down a path that was out of bounds. Personally I think its a load of crap that the runners even had the option to run in the out of bounds there as I assume that there was no fence or tape that should block off a path like that. Either way, the runner ended up getting really far behind and even though they came out the same direction (thus were not disqualified) it really gave Sweden and Great Britain a huge lead.
In the third leg we got to see Kristian Jones start right after Gustav Bergman, two very strong runners who didn't struggle to maintain the lead they gained on the rest of the field. Although shoutout to Kasper Fosser and Mattias Kyburz who had the fastest time on the third leg.
The last leg was a little more interesting. Tove Alexandersson was chasing right behind Megan Carter Davies, two of the best sprint runners in the scene right now. Although Tove didn't struggle to chase down and overtake Megan Carter Davies on some of the early route choice legs, but Megan Carter Davies did a great job holding on and didn't allow the runners behind to gain much time. In the chasing pack, we saw an impressive performance by Andrine Benjaminsen of Norway who gained 3 places and was the second fastest runner on her leg putting Norway into 3rd place behind Sweden and Great Britain. Elena Roos has a great run too, only 8 seconds slower than Benjaminsen.
Overall a great race that maybe would've been more interesting if some of the runners didn't make that ridiculous mistake in the out of bounds, but either way Sweden looked very dominant throughout the race and definitely deserved the victory.
The first of its kind! This was probably my favorite one to watch (although I only watched the finals and semi finals). Karolin Ohlsson had a poor race and didn't qualify to the semi finals which was a surprise.
The first semi-final was amazing to watch and I highly recommend checking out the TV footage. Kristian Jones led a majority of the race and looked calm and in control taking the win. Mattias Kyburz followed not far behind and towards the end of the race he made a very interesting move where it looked like he intentionally baited some of the other runners to go into a passageway when in reality he quickly backed out.
The second knockout sprint was also very exciting and probably had one of the closest sprint finishes. After reaching the 2nd to last control, the Norwegian runner Eidsmo quickly picked up the pace and forced everyone to remain hot on his heels. Unfortunately, at the last control he made a TINY mistake that cost him a spot in the final! Definitely the best finish.
The third knockout sprint was also interesting, although maybe the least impressive of the three semifinals. Tim Robertson and Aston Key led the beginning of the race, however the young Australian fell behind and made a poor route choice to the last control while August Mollen pulled head of Robertson and the two of them came through to the next round.
In the first women's semifinal, Tove swept the field with Simona Aebersold following not far behind. Tove had good control over the entire race and as usual she had higher speed than the rest of the field. Unfortunately, Tereza Janosikova didn't qualify.
The second womens final was much more interesting with many strong runners, Megan Carter Davies, Andrine Benjaminsen, Venla Harju and Eef van Dongen, just to name a few. Megan Carter Davies took control from the beginning all the way to the end where she took the lead. And on the route choice to the last control, Eef van Dongen took the better route and made it into the final with a 2nd place finish!
In the last final, we had the Ukrainian Kateryna Dzema start out strong to the second control, then the field split where she lost some time to the other runners.
Wow! This was an amazing final. So many great runners and it was really great to see Tim Robertson and some other take many risky and interesting route choice. Spoiler alert: Mattias Kyburz won with an amazing last leg! His strategy seems dominant in this kind of race, hanging back and reading ahead until the end where he pulls away with his great speed.
Not as interesting as the Men's final since Tove swept once again, however Megan Carter Davies definitely gave her a run for her money. The most amazing result was from Eef van Dongen who took home a BRONZE MEDAL! After 4 years of orienteering, how amazing!
and Tove got beat by Megan Carter Davies. The end!