Peter Molloy, running in 2023 World Cup Round 2, photo: Rob Lines
As summer ends and Autumn begins GB orienteering attention is very much on the sprint formats. Our article Stepping to Edinburgh noted the next steps after World Cup Round 2 being the Antwerp Sprint Meeting in Ghent in mid-August and Sprint Scotland the first weekend in September. Both include knockout sprints.
This was the big international sprint gathering in the run-up to the European Championships in early October. Germany, Norway and Switzerland had organized national team representation and individual runners from many other countries had made the trip.
A night 4-leg 2-person Mixed Sprint Relay on Friday 18th evening was won by Maxime Rauturier of France & Tereza Janosikova of Czechia.
The knockout sprints, with a full four races, were on Saturday 19th August. Andreas Bock Bjørnsen of Denmark won the Men's Knockout, whilst Nerea Gonzalez of Spain and Tilda Johansson of Sweden tied in the Women's.
Classic sprints in Ghent Old Town on Sunday 20th were won by Tuomas Heikkila of Finland and Emma Bjessmo of Sweden.
Belgium's Yannick Michiels was third in the knockout sprint and second in the classic race.
The British contingent included Peter Hodkinson, announcing he was “back in the game”, and several other squad members. Peter was 1 second ahead of Chris Smithard in the classic race, 15th= and 17th respectively. Chloe Potter was the highest placed GB woman in 16th.
Chloe Potter, in World Cup Round 2, photo: Rob Lines
On the men's side there was a good enough field that several athletes from the top-100 of the World Ranking List did not get through qualification.
For those that did there were then quarter-final, semi-final and finals as in the Europeans and next year's World Champs. So four races in all for the winners.
There were five Norwegians amonst the 12 runners in the knockout finals.
Peter Hodkinson and Chloe reached the Knockout semi-finals. Kirstin Maxwell, Charlotte Ward, Nathan Lawson, Chris Smithard and Peter Molloy got through qualification in the knockouts but did not progress through the quarter-final stage (Charlotte did not start her quarter-final.) Jim Bailey just missed out, 13th in his qualification race, with 12 to qualify.
Jim Bailey, finishing this year's JWOC Sprint where he came 8th; photo: IOF
The Knockout and Classci sprint races are World Ranking Events (WRE.)
The racing is west and slightly north of Edinburgh in Alloa (Saturday) and Falkirk (Sunday). Embargoed areas map.
The Kelpies, if not quite in Falkirk are very near and have helped "put it on the map"; photo: Wikimedia Commons
The knockout sprint is on Saturday and will not include a quarter-final stage, so 18 of the runners will qualify from each race. The men's qualification has 64 entered and the women's has 34.
In a knockout sprint qualification runners start in order of their World Ranking, so most of the qualifiers will probably come from the top of the startlist. But probably not all, as there are some potentially quick people who do not have many ranking points.
The popular Belgian "Sprint Specialist" Yannick Michiels is entered. He ran very well at ASOM. He gained a World Champs Medal last year.
Most of the British squad runners with aspirations in Sprint will run as these are selection races for the European Champs.
This includes GB WOC medallists last year Megan Carter-Davies, Charlotte Ward, Kris Jones and Ralph Street. Neither Kris nor Ralph have done an orienteering race in Britain this year.
Megan, current World Sprint Orienteering Champion, took a break after this year's (forest) World Champs and did not run World Cup Round 2.
Charlotte has had injury problems of late, after earlier in the year running the London Marathon in a little under 2 hours 45 minutes.
Kris Jones last Orienteering World Ranking Event was last year's World Champs- where he ran past a control and recorded the third fastest time. He has been doing lots of running though, and demonstrated his extreme versatility coming eighth in the World Mountain Running Champs "Short Trail Race" - which was won in 4 hours 19 minutes. It was the longest race he has ever done.
Ralph Street had a tremendous result with the win at the Sprint Race of World Cup Round 2. His previous O-race in Britain was the Southern Navigators Race at Wellington College last December. Hear him talk about his World Cup win in a podcast with Tim Robertson and Magnus Dewett.
Ralph Street in World Cup Round 2, photo: Petr Hap
Two of Ralph's Bækkelaget Sportsklub clubmates are also running; Cornelius Bjørk and Henry McNulty. Cornelius, a first year senior, was one of the five Norwegians reaching the knockout sprint finals at ASOM.