wc :: Sprint Final
Monday morning saw a scorching Bank Holiday in Battersea Park, bringing out scores of potential spectators for an incredibly pacey World Cup Sprint Final. Courses were relatively long but with winning times expected of around 14 minutes the day was always going to be an exciting one. Athletes raced across packed swatches of grass full of picnickers and vaulted fences much to the delight of people expecting a quite day’s lounging in the sun. A wonderful venue in the nation’s capital to hold the most spectator friendly event of the week.
The majority of the GBR men were in the B final, with Mark Nixon declining to run through illness and Matt Crane saving himself for the Middle tomorrow. This left it down to JD, Nick B and Speakey to prove themselves after Friday’s disappointing qualifiers. JD had another solid run but seemed a little off the pace, ending in 15th position. Unfortunately Speakey mispunched, which left it down to Nick to prove that GBR were a force to be reckoned with. Luckily, he did just that, running incredibly strongly throughout the course and in front of a very supportive crowd to beat Rene Rokkjaer of Denmark by almost 15 seconds and take first place in the B final.
The Women’s A Final took place next, with all the GBR girls competing. Heather stole the GBR show with a podium position, gaining 6th place just 20 seconds ahead of sprint specialist Sarah Rollins in 8th. The rest of the girls bunched in 18th to 21st positions. Again, the winners were decided in the last few minutes of the competition, with Anne Margrethe Hausken of Norway just beating Simone and Jenny Johanson of Sweden into joint second position after very nailbiting finishes from both athletes.
Graham Gristwood was the sole GBR hope in the Men’s A final, and as the crowd went wild he went into 4th place as he finished. This dropped to a very promising 14th position during the course of the event, leaving him level pegging with Damien Renard of France. At the top of the results it was a day for the more youthful national team members, with recent junior Daniel Hubmann of Switzerland, David Brickhill-Jones of Australia and Norways Oystein Kvall Osterbo taking the top three positions ahead of more experienced runners such as Tore Sandvik and Mats Haldin.
A wonderful spectator friendly competition therefore which was bolstered by the presence of juniors from all over the South East to compete at the YOF. The Oxford team can certainly recognise the entire GBR team now and were very happy to have their flags signed! Thanks must go to the Major of Wandsworth, who came to spectate and allowed use of this fantastic area for the competition.
M21E (27) 3.5 km 60 m 26 C
1 105 Hubmann Daniel SUI 14:15
2 111 Brickhill-Jones David AUS 14:33
3 114 Kvaal Øterbøtein NOR 14:40
14 115 Gristwood Graham GBR 15:04
W21E (27) 3.2 km 55 m 24 C
1 303 Hausken Anne Margrethe NOR 14:33
2 302 Niggli Simone SUI 15:11
3 314 Johansson Jenny SWE 15:11
6 312 Monro Heather GBR 15:24
8 308 Rollins Sarah GBR 15:44
18 320 Bridle Helen GBR 16:44
19 310 Whitehead Jenny GBR 16:55
20 316 Winskill Helen GBR 17:02
21 325 Ward Claire GBR 17:08
M21E-B (59) 3.4 km 50 m 24 C
1 158 Barrable Nick GBR 13:56
2 144 RokkjæRene DEN 14:09
3 137 Losman Petr CZE 14:16
15 145 Duncan Jon GBR 15:15
DSQ 160 Speake Matthew GBR mp
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