Monday 28 July 2008

High drama at the WOC Relay

The Relays provided a gripping end to the World Orienteering Championships. The Women's race started first and heading into the final leg, Switzerland held a clear lead of over two minutes thanks to a great run by Silver Medallist in the Middle Distance Vroni Koenig-Salmi. Lea Mueller (SUI) was being chased down by a pack consisting of Helena Jansson (SWE), Tatiana Ryabkina (RUS) and all three gold medallists from earlier in the week: Anne Margrethe Hausken (NOR), Minna Kauppi (FIN) and Dana Brozkova (CZE). Minna it was who made the difference, stepping up a gear in the long leg with the big climb. She brought home the gold for Finland running almost three minutes faster than the next best time on her leg. Russia were second and Sweden third.

Niamh O'Boyle started strongly for Ireland coming in ahead of Denmark, Portugal and Canada to hand over to Ciara Largey in 23rd. Ciara ran creditably but was passed by the stronger Danish team. Ailbhe Creedon anchored the team with a steady run keeping the team in 24th place, behind Canada but now ahead of the Japanese. Good work, girls!

Worth noting is the incredible 7th place of the Chinese women's team. They have extremely fast runners and the entire team has been training intensively in Czech terrain over the past two months and it paid off.

The Men's race was almost unreal. François Gonon (FRA) came back in the lead after the first leg to tag Damien Renard. The pecking order was only really established after the second leg though. Jon Duncan (GBR) taking over from Graham Gristwood came back with a 24 second lead over the French setting up a titanic battle between Jamie Stevenson and Thierry Gueorgiou. Behind them, Valentin Novikov (RUS) and Daniel Hubmann (SUI) were hot on their heels. Sixteen minutes in, Gueorgiou caught Stevenson and managed to get a clear lead. France now seemed unbeatable and about to claim their first Gold in relay. But... "les dieux en avaient décidé autrement", as the French put it. On the way to the 7th control Thierry swallowed a bee which stung him on the inside of the throat. He struggled on for a while but had to bail out. On reaching the finish area he collapsed, barely able to breathe. A helicopter duly arrived to take him to hospital where the word was that he was on the way to recovery.
This freakish accident left the way open for Jamie Stevenson to claim a historic Gold for the British team, despite Novikov's fastest time on the third leg which gave Russia silver. Switzerland took third, Czech Rep 4th and Latvia 5th, relegating the Nordic nations of Finland, Norway and Sweden to 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.

Andrew Quin ran first leg for the Irish. A mistake on the 8th control and some problems with dehydration hurt his race. Patrick Higgins ran better, passing Turkey, but not enough to bring us within striking distance of the teams further ahead. I anchored, and had an uneventful race, leaving us in 32nd place ahead of South Africa with three teams disqualified. For the men's team it was a disappointing end to the week as we are capable of beating several of the teams ahead of us if we run to our potential.

Some photos of the Irish team and result summaries are available at
Full results including split times at:
More photos are to be found at

Andrew and Patrick went on to Sweden with Andrew running O-ringen and Patrick the World Cup races. Patrick, Ciara and Niamh will be running the World Student Championships in Estonia and I'm going to the 6 days in France. We are all looking forward to a solid year of training and moving up the rankings.

Bring on Hungary 2009!

Neil Dobbs

Friday 11 July 2008

Write about your Summer!

Despite the weather, there is lots of orienteering going on this summer. First and foremost is the World Championships,now an annual event, in the Czech Republic. The event starts on 12th July and the Irish team is

Andrew Quin (3ROC)
Neil Dobbs (WATO)
Patrick Higgins (LVO)

Ailbhe Creedon (CorkO)
Niamh O'Boyle (CNOC)
Ciara Largey (QUBOC)

Trail-O: Alan Gartside (LVO) and Wilbert Hollinger (LVO).

You can follow their progress each day on line here.

The programme is

Time WOC 2008 Events
Sat 12 July 2008 afternoon

Model Sprint

Model start procedure, punching system, time keeping, refreshments

Sun 13 July 2008 morning
Sprint distance qualification


Opening ceremony

Sprint final

Mon 14 July 2008 all day
Model long distance qualification
Tue 15 July 2008 morning
Long distance qualification
Wed 16 July 2008
all day
Model middle distance

afternoon IOF/VIP/media race
Thu 17 July 2008
Middle distance qualification

afternoon Middle distance final
Fri 18 July 2008 all day

IOF Congress

Model long distance final and relay

Sat 19 July 2008 morning

Long distance final

Model relay

Sun 20 July 2008 morning

Closing ceremony


If you are going orienteering,why not write about is for us? There's a Junior Tour to the Swedish 5-Day, there's the World Masters in Portugal, Junior World Champs, the Setanta Rogaine, the Welsh 6-Day, the World University Champs ...

CorkO's Fiona Barrett 3rd in L'Etape du Tour
John Scannell, Chairman of CorkO, writes "On behalf of CorkO I would like to congratulate club member Fiona Barrett on her super performance in the L'Etape du Tour. This is an event with nearly 7,500 cyclists competing on one of the actual stage routes of the Tour De France. This year's stage was the 165km route from Pau to Hautacam with two infamous category one climbs the - the 23km with 7.5% gradient Col du Tourmalet and the 15km with 7.2% gradient Hautacam. With inclement weather conditions, Fiona finished in 3rd place in the ladies category which is indeed a superb performance.

Our congratulation go out to you Fiona!"

Fiona finished the 165 km course in poor weather conditions in a race time of 7 hours 8 minutes 44 seconds, less than 3 minutes off 2nd place. The 16th Mondovelo Etape du Tour was on Sunday 6th July. For details see here.