2006 Junior World Championships: Relay Report

Posted on | July 9, 2006 | Category: News

Estonia’s great day

Mihkel Jarveoja (20), Timo Sild (18) and Markus Puusepp (20) created history for Estonia in the relay. They ran together to win the first gold at JWOC for the Baltic state.

– Unbelievable, smiles Mikhel Jarveoja.

He had been thinking about a place among the ten best on the relay, but the Estonians ran incredibly fast and were on four minutes per kilometre in the pine forests just outside the centre of Druskininkai.

After the first leg, it was Oleksandr Starov from Ukraine leading. After the second leg, the middle champion, Jan Benes, gave the Czech Republic a lead of more than two minutes.

Estonia’s last leg runner, Markus Puusepp, didn’t see the Czech, but he saw the Swede, Mikael Kristensson, quite a lot, but the Swede was out of the fight for the gold when he had a little longer forking at one point and made a mistake at another.

Olav Lundanes, from Norway, was approaching fast, but Mikael Kristensson secured silver for Sweden, in front of Norway.

The winner, Estonia, not only secured a very clear victory, but also the country’s first JWOC gold. All this in a season with much to be happy about. First Olle Kärner took bronze at the World Cup and European Championships in May, then Lauri Sild became European Youth Champion in M16 and the relay team in the same class took bronze a week before JWOC. At JWOC Markus Puusepp also won the bronze at the long distance.

– Now it remains only to be continued at WOC in Denmark, says Sixten Sild, Member of the Board of the Estonian Orienteering Federation.

Sixten thinks the gold in Lithuania was the culmination of an incredible season in the nation’s orienteering history! –

For a small country like Estonia (1.4 mill. inhabitants), a relay victory at a World Championships is something extraordinary because it proves that we have been working in the right direction. A new generation, that has not just one star-runner but many, is emerging. In team sports like football and basketball such a small nation will probably never become a world champion, but at least our junior orienteers have shown that such ambitions are justified, even for small nations, says Sixten.

The Estonian Orienteering Federation has been waiting for such a breakthrough in youth orienteering for many years.

– Now success seems to have been achieved and we can make further plans as to how to give this young generation the appropriate conditions for development towards world elite in the senior class. At the same time we will now have an excellent opportunity to increase recruitment of young, inspired orienteers, continues Sixten.

Kozlova wins all year

Tanya Kozlova (20) is really used to being a winner. She has been world champion six times in either ski orienteering or orienteering.

– And the last gold is the best, smiles Tanya.

The Russians won the women’s class at the relay in JWOC in Druskininkai and it was Tanya that went into the leading position on the second leg, after Ekaterina Terekhova (19) also ran well on the first leg. She was only four seconds after the leader, Kristina Rybakovaite, from Lithuania. In fact, Ingunn Hultgreen Weltzien had created a big gap in favour of Norway on the first leg, but she, and Norway, was disqualified. Ingunn was missing one punching, even if she was sure she has punched at that control.

On the second leg, Tanya gave Mariya Shilova (20) a break on the last leg. Mariya saw Denmark at the second control, but ran alone after that.

– But on the last loop I was afraid that we would lose the gold because I made a big mistake. I first realised where I was when I came to the sixth control that was 200 metres from my control, Mariya says.

Well it ended well for Russia and Tanya gained her sixth gold as a Junior World Champion. She won two gold at the ski orienteering championships in Switzerland in 2004 and three last winter in Ivanovo in Russia.

– It’s more difficult in orienteering, but I have had a good base from the winter and that’s good for me, says Tanya.

Next year is she is a senior!

Sweden took silver after a hard battle. At the public control it both Finland and Denmark were a bit ahead of Sweden, but Eva Svensson, who had started the last leg with some mistakes, had an excellent end of the race. Finland took bronze.

Lithuania organised a very good championship. Next year it is time for Australia! It’s really something for the juniors to look forward to.

Stories: Erik Borg

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