Sprint Final

Jd enroute to the spectator control

Jon on route to Spectator Control

Sprint Final

The World Championships came to life with a great atmosphere at the sprint Final at Rocklunda as 3000+ supporters arrived to cheer on their Nations teams. Simone Niggli-Luder made it 5 gold in a row with a commanding 29 sec win and was able to celebrate on the run in as it was evident from the splits she was in the lead. In contrast to the women’s, the men’s was incredibly tight at the top with only 8 secs separating the top 6. Niclas Jonasson the Swedish favourite coped with the pressure best to claim the title from joint second Omeltchenko and 43yr old Hakan Eriksson.

A large crowd of British supporters cheered on the 5 British sprinters, only outdone, just by the Swedish Fan-club. In the women’s Sarah Rollins caught team-mate Helen Bridle for 2 minutes at control 9 to claim 21st. Sarah felt reasonably happy with her run but didn’t slow down enough at a couple of controls.

The loudest cheers came for Matt & Graham from very proud parents Barrie Speake and Mr & Mrs Gristwood, and Speake’s Barmy Army (Jason, Andy, James, Chris, Jaz). Jon Duncan started steadily to take 26th and in his own words “showed them who’s their daddy,” by being top Brit from the two debutants who both performed well to take 31st and 33rd. Bodes well for the relay.

Graham was very happy with a clean run, but felt a little tired on the second half. He said “If you had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be 31st at WOC, I wouldn’t have believed you in a million years.” Matt was equally happy with his debut. He made two small mistakes before the spectator control, crossing the very minor paths. But said “[nope] it lets get pissed!”

Lets hope that Matt and Graham don’t have to wait until they are 43 to claim their first WOC medal. With Czech and Hungary chosen for 2008 & 2009, it certainly makes future WOC’s more open.

The much-anticipated Large Screen worked well with cameras showing two spectator controls as the runners crossed the arena and headed out for the final loop and then the penultimate control. We hope that it came over as well online with pictures on the big screen. Our major gripe was with the commentators and camera focus on the Swedes. Several new leaders were missed and times ignored as they focused on their home favourites. But WOC has started well for the home nation and we hope for more encouraging news from Team GB at todays Long Distance Final.

Photos taken by Seamus, Jason Inman and Andy Monro have been updated on the Gallery.

Sarah rollins

Sarah on Sprint Final start ramp

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