The Swiss Relay Teams winning Gold again at the Conclusion of JWOC 2016
It was a clear situation in the lead of the relay races at the conclusion of the 27th Junior World Orienteering Championships in the Engadin. Switzerland took gold medals #6 and #7. Both the women’s and the men’s team with anchor runners and double world junior champions Joey Hadorn and Simona Aebersold were running in a dominant manner to gold.
There were no surprises in the concluding men’s relay race. The favourite Swiss juniors fulfilled the expectations and fought convincingly for the gold medal. Anchor runner and double world champion Joey Hadorn increased the lead that his team mates Thomas Curiger and Ricardo Rancan had created with error-free runs. “I consequently chose safe routes and stayed the whole way under control”, declared the “king” of these JWOC in the finish. This was only the second relay-gold for theSwiss juniors after a victory 2002 in Spain. Last year’s bronze medal winners from Sweden improved from seventh position to winning the silver medal through the anchor-leg runner Isac von Krusenstierna down by 2:48 min. Final leg runner Olli Ojanaho (FIN) who was quite unlucky competing in his individual races this week, secured the bronze medal for the defending team with a strong performance after several mistakes of his team-mates.
Nothing new on the women’s side: after a restrained start of the Swiss first-leg runner Paula Gross (+1:49, 5th place) Sophie Bachmann took over the lead with an error-free run and best time to create the base for the victory for Switzerland. Double world junior champion, Simona Aebersold stayed safely in the lead and even increased it into the finish to a smashing 4:53. “At the beginning, I looked back once and saw nobody. After that I ran to stay safe and also stopped once in a while to check the map”, said Aebersold referring to the last loop which brought her personally the third gold medal of this JWOC-week. With the best time on the final leg, Anna Haataja overtook six teams and secured the silver medal for her Finnish team. Norway, with anchor runner Ingeborg Eide came in third for the bronze medal. The defending champions from Sweden already lost their fight for the medals on the first leg.
After the fifth and last competition of the 27th Junior World Championships the medal count for this JWOC shows the Swiss athletes in an unchallenged first place. 12 medals, 7 of which in gold made the Junior World Championships in the home country the most successful ever for Switzerland. Finland came in second and Sweden in third place with 4 medals each. With this extraordinary accomplishment the Swiss created a never before achieved highlight. No nation has ever dominated a world championship in such an impressive manner. The 12 medals are proof of the excellent work with the young-orienteering programs which the federation provides since many years. Simone Niggli, the president of the organising committee for JWOC 2016, has set an important base here with her 23 gold medals in the past in the elite class. Thus closes the circle at these memorable Junior World Championships in Switzerland.
Lukas Jenzer, Media Director JWOC 2016