freddie-carcas-OltenSprint24_RLFreddie Carcas in the sprint race in Olten, Sunday 26th May 2024, photo: Rob Lines

It was good weather for the World Cup sprint race in Olten. It wasn't as tricky as most expected, except for crossing the railway where the bulletin had included the relevant section of map, and a small multi-level area near the end/ Here the map was different from the previous day, as a higher level was opened up.

The "red zone" runners, in this case the top 40 ranked women and top 40 ranked men ran first, in reverse order of ranking. After that those ranked from 41 upwards ran.

The races were won by Natalia Gemperle and Emil Svensk.

Both impressed. Gemperle was top-3 both days in Olten and now shares the World Cup lead with Simona Aebersold. She is a potential medallist in Edinburgh and a quality addition to the Swiss Sprint Relay team in place of the retired Elena Roos. Svensk's win was achieved without a strong focus on sprint that is common for many top runners less than two months before a sprint World Champs. Earlier this month he anchored Stora Tuna to their first TioMila win for decades, and apart from next weekend in Genoa, his focus now shifts back to the forest as Stora Tuna aim at another Jukola victory.

More detailed coverage

World Of O report on the Olten weekend

Hear the Ivars' views on the Olten weekend in their podcast (includes interviews with the four winners)

Inside and outside the top-40

The TV broadcast covered the time the top-40 women and men were running, and it included flower ceremonies for top-3s. Was there a chance someone starting after the broadcast could run well enough to make the full prizegiving...

Yes: Gustav Runefors (Sweden), the 117th man to start, ran a time for the podium, reaching joint 6th.

In the women's race it was another Swede, Tilda Johansson, who recorded the highest position from outside the top-40: she came 11th.

The 12 GB runners were split 6 / 6 into top-40 and oustide top-40. Charlotte, Grace, Cecilie, Ralph, Jonny and Nathan had sufficient points to make the first blocks of runners. Fiona, Rachel, Mairi, Peter, Freddie and Will were running after the TV broadcast.

Bragging rights: in the GB team Freddie (15:20) didn't quite reach top-40 but he was some seconds quicker than Nathan (15:27) and Jonny (15:30). Fiona was quicker than Cecilie.

Interviews with GB Athletes

Post-race interviews with Grace Molloy, Ralph Street, Jonathan Crickmore and Charlotte Ward on the British Orienteering Instagram.

Women's Race

Women's Sprint Course - Olten

The course began in the suburbs and headed to the town centre via the historic covered wooden bridge. There was then a short loop including a "surprise" visit to the roof of the building that had been used for athletes' quarantine in the previous day's knockout races.

Tove Alexandersson didn't win - she was 7th. She was never in the lead but was heading for 2nd or 3rd until a 20 second mistake at the change of levels near the end: she said she didn't understand the map. The men had a different control but also had to decide to ascend stairs. Ralph says in his interview (link above) that frankly he had to guess when he got to that point.

Several other runners lost time here. Women include Karolin Ohlsson, Venla Harju and Rita Maramarosi. Men include Tomas Krivda, August Mollen, Guilhem Verove and Martin Hubmann.

Top 6

  1. Natalia Gemperle, Switzerland
  2. Simona Aebersold, Switzerland
  3. Teresa Janosikova, Czechia
  4. Aleksandra Hornik, Poland
  5. Hanna Lundberg, Sweden
  6. Cecile Calandry, France

Olten_Sprint_woman-102_SilvanSchlettirFlowers: Simona Aebersold, Natalia Gemperle, Teresa Janosikova, photo; Silvan Schletti

OLten-WomenSprintPodium3456_SimonBuserAt the prizegiving, Aleksandra Hornik waves, photo: Simon Buser

Grace Molloy ran well to place 14th.

grace-molloy-OltenSprint2024_RemySteineggerGrace Molloy, OLTEN/SWITZERLAND, 26.05.2024 - captured during the Sprint Women at the Orienteering World Cup 2024 Round 1 / Switzerland. copyright by + owc 2024 / photo remy steinegger

Charlotte Ward was 35th, Fiona Bunn 37th, Cecilie Andersen 49th, Rachel Brown 61st and Mairi Edaes 102nd.

Men's Race

Olten_Sprint_men-129_SilvanSchlettiToumas Heikkila, Emil Svensk and Martin Regborn, photo: Silvan Schletti

Emil Svensk won by a second from Tuomas Heikkila who was three seconds ahead of Martin Regborn.

A third Swede, Jonatan Gustafsson was fourth, Yannick Michiels (Belgium) was fifth and Eirik Langedal Breivik (Norway) was tied with Gustav Runnefors in sixth. (Eighth was a fifth Swede, Isac von Krusenstierna.) The highest placed Swiss was their new national sprint champion Tino Polsini who was 11th, 1 second ahead of Daniel Hubmann.

Ralph was the highest placed GB runner. He was 16th. This was a good recovery from being outside the top-50 after 5 minutes running.

ralph-street-OltenSprint24_RLRalph Street, photo: Rob Lines

ralph-street-OWCup_Olten-Sprint_SimonBuserAt the finish, photo: Simon Buser

Freddie Carcas was 46th.

freddie-carcas2-OltenSprint24_RLFreddie Carcas, photo: Rob Lines

Nathan Lawson was 50th

nathan-lawson-OltenSprint24_RLNathan Lawson, photo: Rob Lines

Jonathan Crickmore was 54th.

jonny-crickmore-OltenSprint24_RLJonathan Crickmore, photo: Rob Lines

Peter Hodkinson was 67th.

peter-hodkinson-OltenSprint24_RLPeter Hodkinson, photo; Rob Lines

Will Gardner was 83rd.

will-gardner-OltenSprint24_RLWill Gardner, about to cross the historic bridge, photo: Rob Lines

World Cup Round 2

The next round of the World Cup is in a week's time in Genoa. There's an individual sprint on the Saturday and then a sprint relay (multiple teams per country) on Sunday. Most of the athletes have moved to the Ligurian coast for the days between the rounds with plenty of organised training / model events.

GROUP_May2024_RLGroup of GB athletes on the Sunday in Olten, photo: Rob Lines

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