Home cheering but not home terrain

Posted on | July 25, 2014 | Category: Arena

Bulgaria - fgfg lav (1)

The A-finalists from Bulgaria: Martina Dzhulieva, Stefan Mikhaylov (left), Martin Ponev and Apostol Atanasov are ready for good runs in the last individual race of JWOC. Photo: Erik Borg

When the Bulgarians arrive at the arena they really feel that they are in their own country, but in the forest it isn’t just like that.

“We are not at all familiar with the terrain”, Martin Ponov smiles. “It’s only here in the Plana mountains that such terrain exists in Bulgaria”. On the Middle Distance Qualification there were a lot of curvy contours and knolls, and even though it was quite open, one could not see far. It was incredibly tricky, and careful map-reading was a must.

Four of the Bulgarians succeeded in getting to the A-final, and the same terrain is waiting in the last individual race at JWOC. The finish is the same.

“We have got used to the terrain during camps”, the four finalists say. They are Martina Dzhulieva, Stefan Mikhaylov, Martin Ponev and Apostol Atanasov.

Even though the host nation has no advantage, since the terrain isn’t that typical Bulgarian, there is some extra in being a home runner. “We get lots of cheers when we are finishing”, Martina Dzhulieva says.

– What’s the goal for the final?

“I want to be among the 30 best”, Martina says. There are 60 taking part in each A-final.

“I hope for top 20”, Martin Ponev says. “A good race”, Stefan Mihaylov continues. “My goal before the Championships was to be among the ten best. I will do my best”, Apostol Atanasov tells.


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