Interview with GG

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Graham Gristwood, first junior in the WOC team for... well ages. How does that feel? Have you been welcomed into the team? I suppose its not an overwhelming surprise that you won the selection race, after consistently strong performances in sprint races in the past, British Sprints for example, which you nearly won two years ago, and the prologues to JEC where you have twice featured on the podium. Were you surprised by the result?

Firstly thanks for all congratulations I've received. I'm really happy to be competing in WOC and I have been made to feel a real part of the team. I have been training with the seniors for almost a year now, and I have got to know most of the people quite well already, but the pre-WOC camp was great for meeting those I didnt know and spending more time with the team.

I came into the selection race with no pressure on me, I had achieved my goals for the summer which were primarily based on JWOC (especially the short race where i was 11th), so I was just there to enjoy myself. I had a great run with only a couple of small hesitations, so I knew I stood a good chance of doing well. To get in the team is a great feeling, with me and Matt pushing out some top guys with good results in senior competitions out of the team. I was slightly surprised to win, but looking back I shouldnt have been as I have been racing well and I performed to my ability.

There has been discussion of a new generation of orienteering stars coming through, a generation who are focussing on sprint races and the PWT. This is hardly surprising given the differences between the disciplines. Do you see yourself as part of this group, which includes people like Marten Bostrom, BJ, Andrei Khramov and Oystein Kvaal Osterbo?

I havent really thought of myself as part of a new generation as such, but I definitely see sprint racing/park world tour as a big part of my orienteering future. I was picked for PWT in Italy earlier this year, but unfortunately my ankle injury stopped me competing. There is a big difference in the approach to sprint compared to other distance, but I am still interested in making the team for other disciplines as well
in the future.

Predictions for the race? Terrain, style of planning, and winners?
As for the race itself, I'm still not sure whether the competition will be technically difficult or not, but the team is prepared for every eventuality. The area has the potential to be tricky, but then again there is an extensive path network, so the courses could easily be planned for route choice rather than technicality.

Will you be making any special preparations for racing twice in the same day? Have you trained specifically for this?
Since my selection, I have been training on 1:5000 maps as much as possible, to try to get a feel for distance judgement and find the optimum speed to orienteer at. I have done sessions to work on specific aspects such as route choice, control flow, etc... and I have had days of training hard both in the morning and the afternoon. All my training has been focussed on the sprint races, but I have been resting a lot too.

And what about the rest of the team? How are they fairing? And what are you going to do for the rest of the week, given that WOC lasts 9 days and you're only going to be racing for around 30 minutes!
There is a real sense of confidence in the team, everybody is ready and cant wait for the week to begin. We have all brought loads of things to do, books, DVDs, games, and of course we have Vsteras nearby as well.

Thanks GG, and best of luck from us all here at nopesport.

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Graham won silver at JEC 2001. Photo Jason Inman

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