Australia had three top 35 placings in the World Championship sprint final today in Sotkamo. The atmosphere and challenges of the sprint final were very different to the ease and calm of the qualification in the morning. Runners faced a roaring parochial crowd of around 4000 Finnish spectators in the Sotkamo baseball stadium who saw a Finnish gold medal in the men’s class from Mårten Boström and Simone Niggli take another gold in the women’s class.
The course itself was characterised by complex route choices which constantly made runners second guess their decisions as they had to zig-zag many times through the impassable fences specially constructed for the final. This certainly took Sprint racing to the next level with a somewhat artificial environment created specifically just for the race.
Felicity Brown made her World Championship debut and had a ´cautious but mistake free run´ on the complex course to finish in 31st position.
Vanessa Round running in her first sprint race at a World Championships really enjoyed the atmosphere of the competition and started her race very well but missed a few route choices in the middle of the course to place a very respectable 32nd place, two seconds behind Felicity.
Jasmine Neve after a solid performance in the qualification found the final very complex with many tricky and windy route choices which made competitors unsure of their decision all the time. She finished off strong and came 42nd in the sprint final.
In the men’s race Simon had smooth and careful run though the urban area until he dropped places with a mistake on the way to the second last control due to tiredness. But he was pretty well satisfied with his best ever WOC result of 30th place in a competitive men’s field.
Action continues tomorrow with Hanny Allston in the women’s long final starting at 20.11 AEST Tuesday.