European Orienteering Championships - middle qualifier
After a much-needed rest day, Thursday brought the Middle Distance Qualification races on Olovena Stola writes Kirsten Strain.
Conditions contrasted with the start of the week, with lower temperatures and low-lying mist but a long walk from quarantine to the start gave opportunity for an extended warm up. The courses were similar to those predicted in the pre-race geeking session, which gave some GB athletes additional confidence.
Qualification in the Men's race proved a tough challenge, with only Alan Cherry reaching the standard. In the words of Hector, who missed qualification by 42 seconds: "For me, I just misjudged it. It was easier than expected. I spent too much time hesitating and reading the map on approach to controls, when instead I should have maintained a high speed and focussed on flow. Physically I felt full of beans. I should have been more aggressive." Similarly, Peter Hodkinson commented on how playing safe, even making some legs into orange-standard, allowed him to qualify for the Sprint final but was not a tactic that paid off today. Ralph was also below the required pace and didn't get the qualification he wanted. Jonny Crickmore and Matt Speake are also through to the B final, in the esteemed company of Long-distance winner Daniel Hubmann. All of the Swedes qualified as did all the Czech team but none of the Kiwis.
The Women's race provided more opportunities for celebration in the GB camp. Stealing the limelight was Cat Taylor, winning her heat by a peachy 10 seconds. Cat said: "I wasn't very confident with my current form but I kept a level head and decided not to go bananas. I was pleased with the fruits of my labour and I hope that I can have the same result in the final tomorrow." Jess came 8th, 1:44 off the lead. Jess said afterwards that she felt well prepared, finding the course very much as she'd expected and happy that her tactics of safe routes and minimising time in greens paid off. Jo came 13th in her heat, despite a small mistake on number 13, in a soup of green and gullies. Jo and Jess both said they are excited about tomorrow and are pleased to have qualified for A finals twice this week. Kirsten had fun but narrowly missed on qualification, with 19th place, 24 seconds off qualification time. Alice Leake ventured into the forest, missing her usual olive green and buildings. Unfortunately Alice got herself into a bit of a pickle by running off a crag and hurting her back when landing on a rock, but she bravely finished her course to take 25th place. Alice commented: "Ow! Top tip: don't fall off a crag. It hurts." Hollie was still suffering from some niggles that develped on Tuesday and decided not to run the Middle distance but plans to be fresh and strong for the relay.
The Middle distance finals are today at Cerna Voda. The B finals are from 12:30 (CET), the Men's A final starts at 13:45 and the Women's A final starts at 15:30.Hide full report