The World Championships Middle Distance final was held in Denmark overnight, with some impressive performances by the Australian team.
The women’s race was, once again, won by Simone Niggli-Luder — her 12th gold medal at this level. All three Australian women qualified for this final, and Jo Allison ran a great final to come in 20th place. Jo’s performance is all the more special considering she has been out due to injury since the Australian summer — she had knee surgery only 2 months ago and has quickly returned to form. Grace Elson, at her first World Championships, was only a minute behind Jo, and finished in 27th. With Jo, Grace and World Champion Hanny Allston all in top form, the women’s relay tonight looks very promising. Anna Sheldon was our third competitor in the women’s final — she has not fully recovered from the stomach bug she suffered in the gruelling long distance final — but ran solidly to finish 40th.
Rob Walter has also suffered from illness this week. He was faced with a tough decision after he qualified for the Middle Distance final — should he run the Long Distance qualification or spend his time recovering from his flu in time for the Middle Distance final? He decided to put all his eggs in one basket, and the decision paid off when he came 24th last night — his best result in an individual race at WOC. David Shepherd, running his second final of the week, came in 36th. The eventual winner was Holger Hott Johansen of Norway — a very early starter after qualifying poorly, he had to wait over an hour after he finished to learn that he had won his first gold medal.
Stay tuned to the WOCC 2006 live* site and the Australian team blog for updates on tonights relay. Australian teams (in running order) are: Jo Allison, Grace Elson and Hanny Allston; and Rob Walter, Dave Shepherd and Troy de Haas.
*Website no longer available