Johansson – learning from the world’s best

Posted on | July 24, 2014 | Category: Arena

Junior-VM langdistanseOnsdag 23. juli 2014Borovetz i Bulgaria

Anton Johansson is very often training with, and learning from, a medallist in the two last World Championships. His father is also a former star. On the Long Distance at JWOC, the young Swede himself wrote his name in the history books of orienteering.

For Johansson it was in some ways “finally the gold”. Last year he was just one second after his team-mate Emil Svensk on the Middle Distance at JWOC in the Czech Republic. On the Relay he also got a silver in Hradec Kralove, and on the first distance at this year’s JWOC he got bronze, just ten seconds after Tim Robertson from New Zealand.

“It was a good performance today, but I can do better. It wasn’t perfect”, he says. The 20-year-old Swede didn’t feel he was in his best shape, but of course he didn’t gave up. He was not at all thinking about not fighting. “Quite early I realised that my shape wasn’t the very best, but I simply had to go on and go on”.

With the start 1,750 metres over sea level it was maybe a little influence of the high attitude, and also the very tricky course with a map with a lot of green forest and rather diffuse details all the way. There were a lot of mistakes, and maybe not a perfect feeling for so many runners – if anyone at all.

Johansson’s orienteering heroes

Anton is from Jamjö in the district of Blekinge – close to Östersjøen – by the Swedish east coast. Jamjö is a small city with a lot of orienteering stars. Kent Olsson won the WOC Classic race in 1987. Martin Johansson, father of Anton, got a bronze on the Short Distance in both 1991 and 1993. He has taught his son a lot.

The bronze winner in Relay last year and Middle Distance this year at WOC also lives in Jämjö. The Ukrainian orienteer Oleksandr Kratov and Anton are also very often training together. This means a lot for the final-year junior. “Oleksandr is away a lot, but when he is in Jämjö we are normally training together three–four times a week. It’s good to see how it is at senior level”, says Anton.

All these runners are members of the Orion club..

Not exactly home terrain

Even though the finish was only about 1,400 metres above sea level, there was a lot of climbing – and of course a lot of running downhill. When at home, Anton isn’t that used to doing that. “The biggest hill climb in Blekinge is maybe 30 metres”, says Anton.

– But you managed – even though it was such different terrain from home, and not the kind of orienteering that is very normal in Sweden, where it is very often possible to run pretty straight from control to control?

“The family has travelled a lot during the years, both abroad and in Sweden. I have gained experience from that”.

He also has a very talented sister. Tilda Johansson is taking part in JWOC too. She was 43rd on the Long.

Two training sessions a day

Anton went to orienteering high school in Eksjö, where Tiomila was this year, and finished there last spring. Since then there has been a lot of orienteering.

“I have been working a bit in the afternoons, taking care of small children at school – when their normal school time is over. It hasn’t been so much. I have had good time for doing a couple of training sessions a day”.

In August last year he was at a training camp in Borovetz with the Swedish junior team and got to know what to expect. On Wednesday he showed that he really knows what to do.

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