“I was much more nervous after the race”

Posted on | July 11, 2016 | Category: Arena, News

Celebrations for Anna Haataja                                                  Photos: Erik Borg

Anna Haataja had to wait for some hours before she could get tears of happiness in her eyes. In her fourth JWOC she at last achieved the gold. Joey Hadorn won his second gold medal in under 30 hours.

“It’s amazing”, smiles Anna. Today she climbed up to the highest peak of the podium at the flower ceremony. In the Sprint on Sunday she was third. At the Long Distance at JWOC one year ago she was second.

Her first individual JWOC gold came in her fourth JWOC and in her favourite discipline. “I feel the Long is the right distance for me, but I like them all”, she smiles.

Haataaja started in the first group and waited for hours to learn how it would end. “During the race I wasn’t nervous. It was tougher afterwards”, the Finn tells.

From the start through the first three controls she didn’t have the flow. “It was a bad start. I lost some time”. After that the 20-year-old athlete calmed down and navigated perfectly, and she felt stronger than on the Sprint the day before. “It went well. I had only a few small mistakes”.

Something to go for

Joey Hadorn was very satisfied when he finished, in the middle of the race period. “It was all the time tough physically, but I think it is that for everybody the day after the Sprint. I have looked for and taken easier route choices when it has been possible since I am running quite well”, he told after finishing in a clear leading time.

His race was run very perfectly, but he was still apprehensive: “There are a lot of strong ones starting later in the race. They can beat my time, but they have to avoid mistakes”, the Swiss said.

Nobody managed to do that. The runner from OL Norska got one more gold. “It’s great. I have no words!” He has ‘only’ been dreaming of medals. Now he has two of the best kind, with both Middle and Relay still to come.

men best LD 11-7-16

Joey Hadorn – second gold medal of the week

Medicine and sport

Anna Haataja is from Rovaniemi and is originally from the same club as Olli Ojanaho, who got three golds at JWOC last year. So far he has been 9th and 28th in JWOC this year. The club is Ounasvaaran Hiihtoseura.

From the beginning of last year, today’s winner Haataja has been representing SK Pohjantähti, the club in Oulu, on the north Finnish coastline. Last autumn she started to study medicine full-time.

“The combination has worked well”.

– You’ve got a smart head!

She smiles and says: “I really want to see how well I can do in sport, and I am ready to decrease my percentage of studies from full-time to something less”.

Running uphill

There was a lot of uphill running and also at high level on the Long Distance. Late last autumn the best Finnish juniors had a training camp in Switzerland. Anna wasn’t there. “I had to stay at school. There were some exams”, she smiles. Her first meeting with the terrain was at the Finnish test races, and a training camp together with them, in June this year. She showed she really knew what to do.

– How did you manage all the uphills? There aren’t so many of them in Finland!

“In Oulu it is in fact totally flat, but I have been visiting some alpine tracks and getting experience in uphill running”.

Very high up

The Long Distance was organised in Val Müstair in the Engadin valley in the north-east of Switzerland. The terrain was situated between 1900 and 2300 metres above sea level, with the start at 2200 metres and the finish 100 metres lower. It is a hilly terrain with pine forest and semi-open areas varying with open areas. The ground is quite rough. In some parts there are grassy spaces interspersed with rock. Run- and visibility are very good in open areas. Runnability is good to reduced in forest sections. The visibility is mostly good also in the forest parts.


For the women it was a 6.5 kilometre long course with 310 metres of climb and 16 controls to visit. The men had 8.8 kilometres and a climb of 450 metres with 21 controls. On the course there were three refreshment points.




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