Friday, August 1, 2014

Final Event - The Relay, (not counting the nightclub of course)

Well the bad weather was predicted to avoid us until early afternoon however with about half an hour before the start of the women's relay, it bucketed down. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain meant braving the conditions if you were a first leg runner, ducking for cover if you were a third leg runner, and trying to protect our gear in the not-so-waterproof tents if you were a second leg runner.

Asha and Lanita were first leg runners for the women's teams and first to tag was Asha after 43 minutes. Nicola headed out on the second leg and the weather had cleared significantly. Lanita came in within 5 minutes and Anna set off on the second leg also. Nicola came in to tag Olivia and Anna to tag Michele. The teams were now in 32nd and 34th place respectively. Michele and Olivia both made some errors in the bush but finished creditably. Quickest legs were Asha 43.40, Anna 44.02 and Nicola 46.56 and when you don't count double teams our girls have finished 23rd and 24th. 

A solid effort and without taking any credit away from the excellent results from the boys during the week we have had some very solid results from our women. In particular to have 4 women within 50 seconds of each other and finishing 79-92nd places is certainly an improvement in the sprint, to have 3 finish in the top 23 in the B final of the middle and to finish 23rd in the relay are very pleasing results and I feel so confident things are looking up for our girls in Australia. There is so much potential with some of these girls still in JWOC age in 2015 that we can look forward to a bright future :) 
They showed some solid navigating in difficult terrain and have been absolutely enthused by this experience.


Another sibling combination for first leg runners in the Men's relay teams with Oscar and Henry setting out in slightly more settled weather conditions. A single punch control at the first control meant it was certainly an advantage being in the lead group and that was certainly where our Oscar was. The commentary reported him being in the top few runners and he came through the spectator control in second place with only a short distance remaining. A slight error in this loop and perhaps starting to notice the pain of the injury to his knee meant he slipped a couple of places but 
our hero for the day, Oscar, came in to tag Olle in 15th place, and it was then we became aware of the injury he had. Oscar had a very nasty gash to his knee, and as he sat in the chair getting medical attention, and pushing the skin on his knee from side to side watching the knee cap in the hole!!!! all he could say was: "Yeh it's not hurting so I'll stay and watch to see how we go". He battled on, propped up near the spectators with the finish chute and spectator control in view, but the pain became too much and as Brodie headed out on the third leg for his team, Oscar was taken to Samokov hospital for treatment. Treatment involved aggressive cleaning out of the wound and bandaging but no painkillers or antibiotics or further advice and no crutches. Knowing Oscar this wouldn't stop him from having a bottler of a night at the nightclub following the relay! And as I watched him slide down the handrail to avoid the stairs to the nightclub, Oscar was going to have a good night. The girls would look after him for sure! 
As far as the relay ended up, unfortunately Olle had our first mispunch for the week and this was dealt with by some showering of champagne early in the evening and after a fantastic week of competition all boys took it very well ... in reality not everything can go right all of the time. Brodie continued with a solid run in third leg. 
Henry had run leg one for our second relay team with an admirable time of only a minute 30 secs slower than his brother. Ashley who had been disappointed with runs during the week put in a solid effort and Matt had a blinder of a run with a time not much slower than Oscar's in first leg!  Fantastic to see these young ones perform so well. The best individual times for the Men were Oscar 33.17, Matt 33.53, Henry and Brodie both 34.51. Our relay 2 team finished in 22nd place (without double teams).
The boys have had some fantastic individual results during the week which has been very exciting for the Australians and we commend them on their commitment, attitude and effort. To have 3 athletes perform at the top of their game after years of representation at JWOC certainly cements the benefit of experience competing at this level. We wish them the best of success as they head into the senior elites. You have made a mark on international orienteering and provided us with some fantastic viewing. Well done.

The traditional banquet was replaced by dinner together as a team at the hotel, a few drinks and then a great evening at a nightclub. All had a fantastic time and I commend all members of our team on their cooperation. We may have been overcautious with the supervision but rest assured the banquet will continue now as part of the JWOC program, the party organiser Tristan was so appreciative of Team Manager's assistance, and I can report favourably to OA about everyones exemplary behaviour  :) .... maybe I can relax next year haha.