EOC Relay: The winners didn’t know they were winners

Posted on | May 28, 2016 | Category: Arena, News

Finnish women celebrate victory                                              Photos: Erik Borg

The European Championships ended with an incredibly tight Relay competition. The last-leg runners were not at all certain what was happening.

“It was a bit strange when I passed the spectator control with some controls left, and Gustav Bergman on Sweden’s team was stopped”, tells Martin Hubmann.

“I just ran without thinking”, smiles Merja Rantanen.

On the last leg in the men’s class, five runners were almost together. In the last part, two of them had forking that was a bit shorter and Martin Hubmann was one of them, Gustav Bergman the other. But Bergman was stopped at the spectator control, due to the fact that the team was disqualified on an earlier leg.

“I thought I maybe was number three. To the two controls after the public control I felt really tired. Then I saw Vojtech Král and I got more energy”, says Hubmann. He pushed on into the finish. He was followed by his team-mates for the last few metres, but Hubmann didn’t know what place it was. Finally after the finish line he understood it. It was gold again.

Believed in the anchor

On the public control in the women’s class there were two teams together in front of all the others: Sweden and Finland. Tove Alexandersson had the chance to take her third gold. But Merja Rantanen had a good Sprint and was not so good on the Long and Middle, and wanted some success.

It was an incredible fight. On the way to the last control the Swede was in front for a while, but then Rantanen attacked and got in front of the Swede. It was a bit as expected for some. “Merja never loses a fight shoulder by shoulder”, Merika Teini tells. She had the second leg. Sari Anttonen was the first leg runner.

Merja didn’t give Alexandersson the chance to come back. It was a while after finishing that Merja Rantanen also understood what it was about. It was a golden day for Finland.

Finally success

The Czechs have staged an incredible championships with a lot of different and challenging terrains, but one thing has been lacking before the last day: a medal to a Czech. On the Relay the Czech men knew from the day before that they could really cope with the terrain. They also run incredibly well.

It ended with the bronze medals.

Czech relay team 28-5-16

The Czech men’s relay team

In one way the Czechs also have a connection to the winning team. Baptiste Rollier, on the second leg for Switzerland, is living together with Monika Topinkova and for the weeks after the World Cup start in Poland they’ve been in the Czech Republic. They are living in Neuchatel in Switzerland and have a little son. Florian Howald ran the first leg in the winning team.

Silver went to Norway. Carl Godager Kaas was awarded his medal by his mother, Astrid Waaler Kaas, who is a member of the IOF Council.

Incredible second team

The winners from Switzerland were in the second team. “It’s a bit crazy with the second team”, smiles Martin Hubmann. Three times in a row he has been in the Swiss second team at the European Championships. Every time the second team has also been the best team from the nation. Two years ago it ended with a fourth place, and four years ago it was also gold.

Also study focus for Hubmann

In recent months, Martin Hubmann has focused a lot on the studies and that is also shown in his face. “The beard is something that was decided at the University”.

– You will have it for a while?

“Until July 8th”, the European champion smiles.


The first two first legs were 4.9 kilometres in the women’s class. The last one was 5.2 kilometres. On each leg there were 19 to 20 controls. The men had 6.7 kilometres on the first two legs. The third was 7.3 kilometres. There were 21 to 22 controls. The Relay was, like the Middle final, organised in Cerna Voda, 20 kilometres from Jesenik, in the north-eastern part of the Czech Republic.

The Relay ended the European Championships. In the last part of August the World Orienteering Championships will take place in Strömstad in Sweden.

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