A great start to the 2005 WOC campaign, with all six Australians qualifying for the final in today’s middle distance heats, the first race of the 2005 World Championships in the Mikawa Highlands near Nagoya in Japan. Australia was one of only 4 nations (alongside Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland) with all runners qualifying.
In typically hot and humid conditions most of the Australians made some mistakes or had other problems. For some it was a nervous wait after finishing to see if they would make it into the top 15 but as the later runners arrived it became clear that all would qualify – although some just scraped in.
Hanny Allston (11th) felt the terrain was quite Australian – steep gully-spur. She made few errors but was relatively happy with her run saying she was glad to get the mistakes over and done with in the qualification.
Tash Key (13th) made a couple of significant mistakes and wished she had fresher legs to tackle the very steep terrain. But she made it though despite only being in Japan 4 days. With a bit more acclimatisation she is sure to improve for the final.
Julian Dent (14th), fresh from his success at JWOC performed well in his first senior WOC race. A couple of minor mistakes and a poor route choice (he chose to contour around a steep hillside but the terrain made it harder than expected – he now knows the few extra contours up to the ridge top were worth it) but generally he was happy with how he ran.
Tracy Bluett (13th), making her WOC comeback after a four year hiatus, had a tough time. A two minute mistake at the first control was not the best of starts and she felt under pressure all the way after that. Feeling slow on the big hills (a feeling everyone else shared) she was extra careful not to make further mistakes but never sure if she had already blown her chances with that initial mistake. In fact she qualified quite comfortably with two minutes to spare.
David Shepherd (14th) had a “Simone Niggli experience” losing a contact lens at the fourth control. After futile attempts to put it back in he had to give up and just keep going, finishing the rest of the course with one in and one out. It was a disconcerting experience but he kept his cool and also managed to qualify.
Rob Walter (11th) suffered a few scratches to his legs as a consequence of choosing to run in shorts – presumably due to the heat. But a steady run saw him comfortably qualify.
The best performers in the heats were quite predictable. Both Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli won their heats with clearly faster times than the other heat winners. It looks as though the real competition in the middle distance final next Thursday will be for the silver medals unless one of them makes a big mistake.
Tomorrow morning is the long qualification using the same finish area but a different part of the terrain. Then the real action starts on Wednesday with the sprint qualification and final followed by the opening ceremony at World Expo.
|Women A 2800 metres|
|1.||Martina Fritschy (Switzerland)||28:16|
|2.||Riina Kuuselo (Finland)||30:19|
|3.||Sandy Hott Johansen (Canada)||30:53|
|13.||Tracy Bluett (Australia)||34:24|
|Women B 2800 metres|
|1.||Simone Niggli (Switzerland)||25:45|
|2.||Jenny Johansson (Sweden)||28:04|
|3.||Inga Dambe (Latvia)||29:07|
|11.||Hanny Allston (Australia)||32:32|
|Women C 2800 metres|
|1.||Minna Kauppi (Finland)||27:22|
|2.||Lea Müller (Switzerland)||28:52|
|3.||Iliana Shandurkova (Bulgaria)||29:22|
|13.||Natash Key (Australia)||34:18|
|Men A 3400 metres|
|1.||Anders Nordberg (Norway)||28:07|
|2.||Chris Terkelsen (Denmark)||28:11|
|3.||Kalle Dalin (Sweden)||29:11|
|11.||Rob Walter (Australia)||31:57|
|Men B 3400 metres|
|1.||Thierry Gueorgiou (France)||26:28|
|2.||Jarkko Huovila (Finland)||27:52|
|3.||Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland)||27:58|
|14.||Julian Dent (Australia)||32:26|
|Men C 3400 metres|
|1.||Damien Renard (France)||28:52|
|2.||Gernot Kerschbaumer (Austria)||29:47|
|3.||Jørgen Rostrup (Norway)||29:57|
|14.||David Shepherd (Australia)||33:28|