Allston 13th, Dent 24th in Middle Distance

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Hanny Allston runs into 13th place - photo:Erik Borg

Hanny Allston runs into 13th place – photo:Erik Borg

The World Middle Distance Championships was held at Bortnychi, Ukraine, today with  gold medals going to Simone Niggli (SUI) and Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA). A strong showing by the Australian Boomerangs: Hanny Allston finished 13th, Grace Elson 32nd and Julian Dent 24th.

The sandy forest, with lots of negative contour detail, made for a technically difficult race and a large spread between the runners. Furthermore, visibility was reduced due to areas of young trees and long grass made it a physically tough race. The long grass made for a big advantage for later runners, with tracks forming in the forest; but this meant little to Minna Kauppi (FIN) who set the early pace with a fast time of 34:17, and led for much of the day. She eventually finished 4th after Niggli  claimed her 11th gold medal at World Championships level.

The technically difficult start claimed many scalps, including Jo Allison, who made some uncharacteristically large mistakes early on, and couldn’t recover, ending up 44th. Grace Elson started strongly, and while she faded slightly in the final, short, loop had a solid day to finish 32nd, 13 minutes off the lead. Australia’s leading orienteer, Hanny Allston, showed her strength in this terrain, and finished  in 13th place, 7 minutes behind Niggli. Allston will now try to recuperate in time for tomorrows Long Distance final.

Julian Dent, 24th today. Photo: Erik Borg

Julian Dent, 24th today. Photo: Erik Borg

The mens race followed a very similar pattern — another Finn, Tero Fohr, led for a long time, only to be beaten at the end of the day. Gueorgiou dominated the race, pulling out 40 seconds in the first 13 minutes, ultimately winning by 2 minutes. Australia had one qualifier in Julian Dent, who started slowly, but made ground during the course to finish well in 24th place.

Womens Results
1. Simone Niggli            Switzerland      32:13
2. Heli Jukkola             Finland              33:18
3. Marianne Andersen        Norway         34:14
13. Hanny Allston            Australia            39:19
32. Grace Elson              Australia            45:42
36. Tania Robinson           New Zealand          46:48
44. Jo Allison               Australia            57:56

Mens Results
1. Thierry Gueorgiou        France               32:21
2. Tero Fohr                Finland              34:22
3. Valentin Novikov         Russia               34:30
24. Julian Dent              Australia            38:11
37. Ross Morrison            New Zealand          42:35

Stay tuned to the WOC home page for live internet coverage and the Aussie Team Blog for more details on the team.