The first medals have been decided at the World Orienteering Championships with Frenchman Thierry Gueorgiou and Czech woman Dana Brozková the winners of the Middle distance race.
Tricky courses in a tree-strewn Hungarian forest made the Middle distance final tough for Chris Forne, who finished 34th in his first Middle distance final and is now focused on the Sprint qualification races at the World Orienteering Championships.
Chris's 34th placing is slightly adrift of his 27th placing in the Sprint in 2005,which is also New Zealands best result at the World Championships Sprint distance,
With World Games top-10 sprinter Ross Morrison, and Championships debutante Bryn Davies lining up besides Forne today for New Zealand, there are high hopes for two or even three qualifiers to the finals in the evening.
With their great results in the Sprint distance in the leadup to the Worlds, there are even higher hopes for a top 10 result from the Kiwi orienteers.
Once the finals are reached, Forne and Morrison, who have the experience of several World Championship finals behind them, will be focused completely on 'flow', where navigational decisions need to be made at full running speed with minimal or zero hesitation.
An error of a second can be enough to decide the placings at this level, where the electronic timing gates are accurate to one hundredth of a second.
The mens heats consists of three races just under two kilometres in length, with 20 controls, in the Miskolc forest.
Hot favourite for the mens Sprint is defending champion Russian Andrey Khramov who has the speed (track PB of 14:05 for 5km) and brains to match; but he has to contend with previous medallists, World #1 Daniel Hubman, and World#2 Thierry Gueorgiou.
Start times for the New Zealanders are Bryn Davies 9am (7pm NZ), Chris Forne 9:13am (7:13pm NZ) and Ross Morrison 9:27pm (7:27pm NZ).
1. Thierry Gueorgiou FRA 37:14
2. Daniel Hubmann SUI 37:43
3. Matthias Merz SUI 38:10
4. Matthias Mueller SUI 38:45
5. François Gonon FRA 38:48
6. David Andersson SWE 39:09
34. Chris Forne NZL 44.09
1. Dana Bro~ková CZE 37:09
2. Marianne Andersen NOR 37:19
3. Simone Niggli SUI 37:58
4. Minna Kauppi FIN 38:21
5. Merja Rantanen FIN 38:59
6. Helena Jansson SWE 39:08