2005 Junior World Championships: Relay – Story

Posted on | July 17, 2005 | Category: News

Norwegians felt as though they were at home

Norway has never had a better Junior World Championship than in Switzerland. The runners felt as though they were at home in an incredible relay event. “It was Norwegian terrain on the relay”, says Per Olav Gulbrandsen, the national coach.

For both men and women it was a Norwegian victory on the last day in the Championships. In both classes it was the second leg runner who established a big gap from the rest of the competitors.

Mari Fasting became the queen of the Championships after a not so good start. “I don’t really know what happened, but the orienteering was just going so well”, says Mari, who won both relay and long distance. “The gold on the relay feels even better than the gold on the long. We have such a good team feeling, and just after the gold in the women’s class the men also became champions”, continues Mari.

Mari and Elise Egseth will run at senior level this coming year, but the last leg runner Betty Ann Bjerkreim Nilsen still has one more year in the junior class. The young girls in Norwegian team 2 were also impressive in the relay. They came into second place after the first team, but for the medals it is only the best national team counting.

In the winning Norwegian men´s team, Øystein Sørensen is the only one too old to take part in next year’s junior championships. Magne Dæhli and Olav Lundanes have two years left. Olav got two gold medals in Switzerland, just like Mari Fasting. Magne did his best performance at the relay. “Magne ran just like a king”, says the happy team trainer Per Olav Gulbrandsen. “I like the second leg best and I ran safely, but I didn’t feel that I was going so fast during the race. I thought maybe I was losing time to the others, but it often seems as though you aren´t running so fast when it’s going very well. I also felt at home in the terrain. It was a bit like Norwegian mountain terrain”, says Magne.

The trainer Per Olav Gulbrandsen is in his first year as the head coach for the whole team. “It’s great to be a trainer when it’s going so well, and the results are an inspiration to build on”, he says.

In the preparations for these championships the Norwegians had two training camps in Switzerland: first a week last autumn, and then a week this spring. These camps were clearly worthwhile.

The Norwegians are already thinking a bit about next year. The winner Magne Dæhli and two other boys from the team are going to Lithuania for a training camp at the end of July.

Story: Erik Borg / Clive Allen

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