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Scandinavian orienteers dominated the Middle distance finals at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in San Martino, Italy, taking five of the top six podium positions.
The three New Zealand finalists in the womens race, Georgia Whitla, Kate Morrison and Angela Simpson had strong races but failed to make an impact on the classy field.
The womens race was won by rising Swedish star (and Junior World ski-Orienteering champion) Tove Alexandersson, who ran an almost perfect race to cover the 3.1 km of the final in 23:24 minutes.
“I started very early with orienteering. My parents do the sport and when I was seven years old, I started to compete.”
Ingunn Britt Nydal (NOR) was second, only 18 seconds back, with long distance champion, Ida Bobach, in third.
Eighteen year old Kate Morrison (Hawkes Bay) while philosophical about her final race was still pleased with her efforts - "I'm very happy to make the A-finals three years running" she said.
Morrison's 22nd placing in the Long distance, behind teammate Greta Knarston (19th) was also a big highlight of the Championships for New Zealand and she will be hoping to improve on this in 2010.
The mens race was won by Finnish four-time junior world ski-orienteering champion Olli-Markus Taivainen, who had a great race finishing the 4.1 km orienteering course in 26’21’’.
Philipp Sauter (SUI) was the only non-Scandinavian medallist in the Middle distance, with Ulf Forseth Indgaard (NOR) in third.
Thomas Reynolds ran well for a 6th place in the B-final,after narrowly missing the A-Final cut by 44 seconds.
Saturday July 11 will be the closing day of the 2009 Junior World Orienteering Championships and the last race will be the team relay, to take place in Val Canali, one of the spectacular valleys of the Primero area, at the base of the Dolomites.
New Zealand will field two teams of three each in the mens and womens relays, with in- form runners Reynolds and Morrison leading the New Zealand charge against the best junior orienteers in the World.
Results - Junior World Orienteering Championships - Middle distance final.
Women - Middle distance A Final
1) Alexandersson Tove (Swe) 23.24;
2) Nydal Britt Ingunn (Nor) 23.42;
3) Bobach Ida (Den) 23.59;
4) Kirk Fiona (Sui) 24.11;
5) Aebi Bettina (Sui) 24.54;
5) Gross Julia (Sui) 24.54;
7) Teini Marika (Fin) 24.58;
8) Löfgren Kristin (Swe) 24.59;
9) Klinting Signe (Den) 25.07;
10) Arnesen Mari Jevne (Nor) 25.17;
55) Georgia WHITLA (NZL) 32:18;
56) Angela SIMPSON (NZL) 33:04;
59) Kate MORRISON (NZL) 35:14;
Women - Middle distance B Final
1) Linn HOKHOLT NOR 24:23;
2) Alizee GAILLARD FRA 26:16;
3) Jutta TORGGLER ITA 27:11;
4) Belinda LAWFORD AUS 27:29;
5) Elisa ELSTNER AUT 27:37;
6) Krystal NEUMANN AUS 28:40;
7) Bridget ANDERSON AUS 28:46;
8) Zenia Hejlskov MOGENSEN DEN 29:24;
9) Aislinn PRENDERGAST AUS 29:48;
10) Nicola PEAT NZL 30:58;
20) Greta KNARSTON NZL 35:27;
27) Rachel GOODWIN NZL 36:54.
Men - Middle distance A Final
1) Taivainen Olli-Markus (Fin) 26.21;
2) Sauter Philipp (Sui) 27.00;
3) Indgaard Ulf Forseth (Nor) 27.39;
4) Hubmann Martin (Sui) 28.05;
5) Bobach Søren (Den) 28.24;
6) Ridefelt Albin (Swe) 28.36;
7) Bergman Gustav (Swe) 28.52;
8) Kyburz Matthias (Sui) 28.57;
9) Klusacek Matej (Cze)29.00;
10) Hajek Daniel (Cze) 29.28.
Men - Middle distance B Final
1) Yury TAMBASAU BLR 22:08;
02) Vegard RUTTENBORG NOR 25:04;
03) Kris JONES GBR 25:18;
04) Siarhei FEDATSENKA BLR 25:26;
05) Kenny KIVIKAS EST 25:27;
06) Thomas REYNOLDS NZL 26:13;
07) Victor MANSNER FIN 26:15;
08) Andris JUBELIS LAT 26:17;
08) Karlis DISLERS LAT 26:17;
10) Mykola ODCHUK UKR 26:31;
14) Simon JAGER NZL 27:21;
16) Scott MCDONALD NZL 27:40;
22) Toby SCOTT NZL 29:06;
32) Andrew PEAT NZL 30:13;
32) Jourdan HARVEY NZL 30:13.