Junior World Orienteering Championships commences

Sunday 3 July 2011, 5:54PM
By NZ Orienteering Federation

398 orienteers from 35 countries are gathering in Poland this week to contest the 18th Junior World Orienteering Championships. 

New Zealand has entered a full-strength team - arguably its strongest ever.

Of the three individual races, the sprint and long distance are held first, followed by the middle distance qualification and final, and lastly the team relay.

Hopes are very high in the sprint for long standing team members Toby Scott and Kate Morrison, competing in their third and fourth Championships respectively, and current Silva Superseries elite champion Angela Simpson.

Team profiles
Twenty year old Toby Scott, a regular winner at elite level, is the current New Zealand Sprint Champion and Junior Silva Superseries Champion.

Not content with beating NZ elites at the Nationals, Toby was the overall winner of the three-day Test Match in Auckland against Australia, ahead of Oceania and Australian elite champion Simon Uppill, and was third overall in the 2011 Silva Superseries placegetter behind Ross Morrison and Karl Dravitzki.

Kate Morrison, also 20, recently won an elite Superseries race as well as the National Junior Sprint Championship - in a time faster than elite winner Lizzie Ingham.

But the making of this year team is the depth and experience at high-level competitive orienteering, mixed in with exciting potential from the younger members.

Such as Tim Robertson, the 15-year old from Hutt Valley who was second fastest over the elite Sprint Nationals behind Toby Scott, and Aucklander Matt Ogden, middle distance specialist, who was just three seconds behind.

Robertson and Scott were seconds ahead of multiple National and former Superseries champion Darren Ashmore.

Scott McDonald will also be racing his third JWOC sprint and showcased his sprint prowess at the 2010 Sprint the Bay weekend, winning the Sprint jersey ahead of Former Irish elite representative Bill Edwards.

Nick Hann's rapid rise to top level orienteering alongside training buddy Tim Robertson, has come about through superb navigational ability on top of improving fitness.

Aucklander Gene Beveridge has been in winning form this year besting the Australian and New Zealand elites in the third Test Match race two weeks ago.

He and the team have been training in Poland for a week aiming to "keep the legs fresh and still fast".

Also winning at elite Superseries level recently were Kate Morrison and Angela Simpson; winning a long distance race apiece at the elite Testmatch.

Simpson is aiming high at the Junior Worlds, looking to better her 17th place in 2010: "The sprint and the long are where I do best, at the extreme ends of the spectrum".

Making her Junior Worlds debut with 24th place in the sprint was the elder of the Robertson siblings, Laura Robertson, next best New Zealander after Simpson in 2010.

Jaime Goodwin, Anna Gray and Selena Metherell add to the mix of exciting potential to watch out for behind the established performers.

Ross Morrison, multiple National and Superseries champion and coach of the Auckland speedsters, thinks that this is the best ever team he's seen: "They're extremely impressive - I'm really excited to see how they perform this week."

Jaime Goodwin (Hawkes Bay)
Anna Gray (North West)
Selena Metherell (Peninsula and Plains)
Kate Morrison (Hawkes Bay)
Laura Robertson (Hutt Valley)
Angela Simpson (Bay Of Plenty)
Non-travelling reserve: Cosette Saville (Counties Manukau)

Gene Beveridge (North West)
Nick Hann (Wellington)
Scott McDonald (Hawkes Bay)
Mathew Ogden (North West)
Tim Robertson (Hutt Valley)
Toby Scott (Auckland)
Non-travelling reserve: Alistair Richardson (Peninsula and Plains)

MANAGER: Owen Cambridge (Dunedin)
COACH: James Bradshaw (Counties Manukau)

Junior World Orienteering Championships programme
3.07.2011 - Sunday - Sprint 14:00
4.07.2011 - Monday - Long 9:00
5.07.2011 - Tuesday - rest day
6.07.2011 - Wednesday - Middle Qualification 10:00
7.07.2011 - Thursday - Middle Final 10:00