wc :: Mixed Sprint Fortune

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GG rescues GBR mens' hopes

Today saw the opening stage and sprint qualification races of the world cup races, held on Surrey University campus, Guildford. The event opened to the tune of a jazz band and a small procession of participating nations. The race arena was compact with the start, finish and spectator controls all in proximity and commentary was aided by a big screen. All in all the event seemed to run smoothly with both the elite runners and Surrey 5 -O competitors enjoying the lovely weather and extremely challenging sprint orienteering.

With spectators allowed to roam the competition area, video links and radio controls it made for exciting racing. The area was incredibly intricate, with dead ends and confusing staircases meaning that the leaders were not only the fastest on the course but those who navigated cleanly and planned well ahead. Many competitors from both the World Cup and the Surrey Five-O found the area much trickier than expected, with areas making parallel and height errors very easy if concentration was lacking. The British Women all met this challenge, with all team members qualifying for the A final. Claire Ward got in by the skin of her teeth, with Jenny Whitehead and Sarah Rollins gaining a very promising 3rd place in their qualifiers. Sarah must surely be one to watch for the final after her third place in the Park World Tour in 2004.

The Mens team however was plagued with problems, with many making large mistakes. The youngest member of the team, Graham Gristwood, was the only runner to qualify, saying he was really happy with his run and that things went smoothly for him. Mark Nixon, missing out on the final by 30 seconds, reported that the area was much trickier than it looked, with the winners being those who had clean runs as opposed to those who ran the fastest. All in all he lost over a minute on the course.

Weve yet to see the full results as printing difficulties were plaguing the Results team, and we needed our beds way back in Oxford, but these will hopefully be posted tomorrow. Opinions are that we can look forward to watching a far less tricky and pacier final at Battersea on Monday, when our girls will be going for gold.

Edit: Full results & course maps now available at the livesite

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