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Strong running and smart thinking from Rotorua's Angela Simpson gave her a brilliant start to her week-long Junior World Orienteering Championships campaign in Denmark.
Simpson finished in 17th place in the Sprint distance, 77 seconds behind the winner Ida Bobach of Denmark, and just a tantalising 12 seconds out of the top ten placings.
Since finishing 24th in the Sprint at last years Junior Worlds in Italy, Simpson has put together a string of classy results, including National titles and wins over leading Australasian elites, showing new reserves of mental and physical strength.
It is expected that this strength will lead to an improvement on this excellent Sprint17th place, in the Middle and Long distance races over the next few days, which will be out of the urban environment and in the sandhill terrain.
Laura Robertson made an excellent debut at the Junior Worlds with her 27th placing as did her Hutt Valley clubmate Jula McMillan in 47th.
Aucklander Toby Scott was likewise 82 seconds behind the winner Rasmus Thrane Hansen (Denmark) but had to settle for 33rd place in the 154 strong mens field.
Matt Ogden (Auckland) was next for the New Zealand men in 70th, while an early navigational error on the first leg for Jourdan Harvey put him out of contention for a top 20 placing.
“The racing was close - with just a few seconds separating nearly 30 placings” said Ogden. “And the courses were well set, forcing us to navigate to the best of our abilities”.
Host nation Denmark provided both the winners and a great spectacle for the crowd; with many competitors finding it hard to focus at the noisy start.
“The roar of hundreds of spectators screaming at you straight from the get go was particularly brutal” noted Ogden. “Our biggest hope in the sprint, Jourdan Harvey, felt the full wrath of this killer set-up losing 2 minutes on the first control.”
2010 Junior World orienteering Championships, Aalborg, Denmark.
Sprint, Women 2.3km. July 5.
1 Bobach, Ida (Denmark) 13:36,
2 Wisniewska, Hanna (Poland) 14:00,
3 Gajda, Monika (Poland) 14:03,
17 Simpson, Angela (New Zealand) 14:53,
17 Sund, Gøril Rønning (Norway) 14:53,
27 Robertson, Laura (New Zealand) 15:25,
47 Mcmillan, Jula (New Zealand) 16:27,
52 Morrison, Kate (New Zealand) 16:36,
61 Metherell, Selena (New Zealand) 16:52,
94 Goodwin, Jaime (New Zealand) 19:12.
Sprint, Men 2.7 km. July 5.
1 Hansen, Rasmus Thrane (Denmark) 13:04,
2 Jones, Kristian (Great Britain) 13:23,
3 Danielsen, Vegard (Norway) 13:25,
33 Scott, Toby (New Zealand) 14:29, 70
70 Ogden, Matt (New Zealand) 15:15,
75 Mcdonald, Scott (New Zealand) 15:24,
103 Morrison, Duncan (New Zealand) 16:14,
107 Beveridge, Gene (New Zealand) 16:23,
118 Harvey, Jourdan (New Zealand) 16:56.