As indicated in the preview the sprint races were held in a very difficult area. Mike Dowling, who competed in the public event between the heats and the finals said: “It was just like competing in New Zealand native forest, steep, thick and low visibility”. During his run he had a heavy fall, smashed compass and bruised his hip.
The day started in bright sunshine, then a shower came through wetting the ground & making it extremely slippery. After the rain the temperature and humidity rose sharply. The recorded temperature when the women started at 13.00 was 37C and it got hotter later in the day.
Spectators were given a map of the controls they could visit and it seemed like there were more spectators around controls directing runners than there were at the finish. Some runners may have received an advantage.
Troy de Haas ran steadily throughout both races, and had an excellent start in the Final. He lost a few seconds over the concluding stages and that not only cost him a podium finish, but probably also a medal.
Grant Bluett had a reasonable run in the heats, was not feeling well after that run and did not get away well in the final. However, he picked up the pace and finished strongly over the concluding stages.
Jo Allison , Natasha Key, Allison Jones and David Brickhill-Jones all did their best but it was not quite good enough on the day. Tash Key backs up in middle distance final on Thursday, Jo Allison takes on the long distance final on Friday and David Brickhill-Jones’ next run will be in the relays on Sunday.
Some notable features of the day were that all Japanese women made it through to the final, the New Zealanders again did well in terrain that suited them (confirming Mike Dowling’s assessment), and previous top sprint distance competitors Yuri Omeltchenko and Tore Sandvik both missed the final. Switzerland’s Simone Niggli claimed her third straight sprint distance gold medal and her current form suggests she might repeat her record of four medals in 2003.
|1.||Simone Niggli (Switzerland)||14:02.7|
|2.||Anne Margrethe Hausken (Norway)||14:34.4|
|3.||Heather Monro (Great Britain)||15:01.7|
|28.||Jo Allison (Australia)||17:31.9|
|32.||Natasha Key (Australia)||18:03.3|
|1.||Emil Wingstedt (Sweden)||14:31.0|
|2.||Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland)||14:41.5|
|3.||Jani Lakanen (Finland)||14:45.7|
|7.||Troy de Haas (Australia)||15:02.4|
|28.||Grant Bluett (Australia)||16:41.6|