Four Australians through to the WOC middle distance final

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Hanny Allston after placing second in heat B

Hanny Allston after placing second in heat B

The qualification heats for the middle distance race in Kiev, Ukraine, were run today on the “Bortnychi” map. Australians competing were Troy de Haas, Rob Walter, Julian Dent, Jo Allison, Grace Elson, and Hanny Allston.

The forest used for the qualification race is a model event venue for the final, so competitors can expect more of the same when they line up for Wednesday’s final. Thick vegetation reduced visibility a lot and made accurate compass work difficult; combined with the relatively shallow detail (where there was any detail at all), it made for a very challenging race, with even Simone Niggli having to relocate from a previous control.

Troy de Haas was one of the first three starters, but his time of 34:16 suggested he would struggle to qualify. Although Valentin Novikov’s time of 28:54 was significantly slower than the predicted winning time, Troy eventually placed 17th in heat A, 1:31 behind 15th placed Kiril Nikolov (Bulgaria). Rob Walter placed 18th in heat B, 1:02 behind Andreas Krass (Estonia).

Jo Allison was the first of the Australian women to start, and her time of 32:13, compared to first finisher Emma Engstrand (Sweden), might initially have caused some nervousness, but as results were posted, it was obvious that the difficult terrain was taking its toll, and Jo qualified comfortably in 9th place. Grace Elson maintained her consistent form, and she also qualified in 9th place. Hanny Allston was the last of the Australian women to start, and obviously relished the tough conditions to place 2nd in heat B, behind Finland’s Heli Jukkola.

Julian Dent had an excellent run in heat C, and his third-place time of 27:32 was the fourth fastest time overall in the men’s heats, and gives the Australian team high hopes for at least two podium places on Wednesday.

Results

Men’s Heats

Heat A   Heat B   Heat C  
Valentin Novikov (Russia) 28:54 Thierry Guergiou (France) 26:02 Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland) 26:44
Anders Nordberg (Norway) 28:59 Holger Hott (Norway) 27:47 Jonn Are Myhren (Netherlands) 27:23
Martins Sirmas (Latvia) 29:00 Pavlo Ushkvarok (Ukraine) 27:52 Julian Dent 27:32

(+3:03)

17 Troy de Haas 34:16

(-1:31)

18 Rob Walter 32:08

(-1:02)

   

Bracketed time is time ahead (+) or behind (-) the last qualifier.

Women’s Heats

Heat A   Heat B   Heat C  
Tatyana Riabkina (Russia) 26:52 Heli Jukkola (Finland) 26:43 Helena Jansson (Sweden) 26:28
Simone Niggli (Switzerland) 27:09 Hanny Allston 28:53

(+8:33)

Paula Haapakoski (Finland) 27:51
Emma Engstrand (Sweden) 27:30 Annika Billstom (Sweden) 29:24 Marianne Andersen (Norway) 28:02
9 Jo Allison 32:13

(+3:42)

    9 Grace Elson 32:09

(+2:42)

The first 15 in each heat qualify for the final to be held on Wednesday 22nd (16:30 AEST)

For more personal appraisals of the day be sure to check out the Australian Team Blog.