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Nerves were replaced by focus and excitement for the six New Zealand orienteers competing in the Junior World Championships in Poland, leading to more fine results.
Toby Scott was the first to face the demanding finals terrain at Wejherowo, steeper and scattered with slow-running vegetation.
And - for the third time in the championships - he cracked the top 30 in the world-class field, showing the maturity and consistency that led to his second place in the 2011 NZ Silva Superseries behind elite Ross Morrison.
Gene Beveridge didn’t match his superb 4th placed qualifying run, but absorbed the pressure of the intense racing against the European orienteering stars to finish 55th.
The race of the day for New Zealand was that of Matt Ogden, who started steadily and hit the halfway spectator control in midfield.
Shrugging off about one minutes worth of errors, Ogden then accelerated through the second half of the course to move into equal 14th place, equal with Scandinavians Jonas Nordström and Yngve Skogstad.
However, final calibration of the electronic timing led to Nordström’s time coming down by a second and Ogden and Skogstad sharing 15th, one of the best ever NZ male performances at Junior Worlds, after Richard Bolt and Tom Reynolds
Matt Ogden was pleased with the final result: “It was good. Although I wasn’t satisfied with my run, dropping a minutes worth of mistakes early on. Today was all about being aggressive through the green, strong up the tough hills and making no mistakes.”
With the individual racing completed, Ogden now turns his attention to the relay, where he teams up with Scott and Beveridge in the three-man format, where they have an excellent shot at a top-six podium placing.
Lost in translation
Jaime Goodwin staked a claim in the womens ‘A’ relay team after a fine run for 43rd place, 51 seconds ahead of team-mate Kate Morrison in 49th.
Angela Simpson, 6th in the sprint three days prior, wasn’t having her best run but then took the wrong compulsory crossing point/gate to the spectator control.
Unable to understand the Polish-language instructions Simpson continued on and finished but was disqualified for not going through the correct gate.
The New Zealand team lodged a protest - as later runners were told by officials to go through the correct gate.
Unfortunately the protest was unsuccessful and the disqualification still stood.
Winner of the womens middle distance was sprint and long distance champion Ida Bobach of Denmark, claiming her third gold medal for the week.
And, for the first time in international orienteering championships three gold medals were awarded - to Robert Merl, Austria, Dmitry Nekonechnyy, Russia and Topias Tiainen, Finland.
The final race of the Junior Worlds - the relay - will be held today at 8pm NZ Time (10am Poland).
Junior World Orienteering Championships Middle distance finals
1 Robert Merl, Austria 25:43,
1 Topias Tiainen, Finland 25:43,
1 Dmitry Nakonechnyy, Russia 25:43,
4 Lucas Basset, France 26:08,
5 Florian Howald, Switzerland 26:22,
5 Eskil Kinneberg, Norway 26:22,
7 Miika Suominen, Finland 26:41,
8 Martin Regborn, Sweden 26:54,
9 Toni Saari, Finland 27:27,
10 Marius Thrane Odum, Denmark 27:33,
11 Andreas Hougaard Boesen, Denmark 27:36,
12 Johan Högstrand, Sweden 27:38,
13 Andreu Blanes, Spain 27:42,
14 Jonas Nordström, Sweden 27:46,
15 Yngve Skogstad, Norway 27:47,
15 Matt Ogden, New Zealand 27:47,
30 Toby Scott, New Zealand 28:42,
55 Gene Beveridge, New Zealand 33:47.
1 Christian Tingström, Sweden 23:52,
1 Thor Norskov, Denmark 23:52,
3 Patrik Waegeli, Switzerland 24:19,
19 Nick Hann, New Zealand 27:19,
23 Tim Robertson, New Zealand 27:31,
30 Scott McDonald, New Zealand 27:59,
1 Ida Bobach, Denmark 23:10,
2 Tove Alexandersson , Sweden 23:45,
3 Emma Klingenberg, Denmark 24:17,
4 Ita Klingenberg, Denmark 24:34,
5 Helena Karlsson, Sweden 25:01,
6 Denisa Kosová, Czech Republic 25:04,
7 Johanna Olsson, Sweden 25:15,
8 Linnea Martinsson, Sweden 25:28,
9 Aušrine Kutkaite, Lithuania 25:45,
10 Ingjerd Myhre, Norway 25:49,
43 Jaime Goodwin, New Zealand 30:12,
49 Kate Morrison, New Zealand 31:03.
Angela Simpson, New Zealand disq.
24 Selena Metherell, New Zealand 31:44,
27 Laura Robertson, New Zealand 32:05,
48 Anna Gray, New Zealand 36:42.