The last day of WMOC2019 – Long course Final tried competitors’ orienteering skills at picturesque pine forest dunes around Garezeri lakes in the surroundings of Lilaste. The weather was sunny and at the same time comfortably cool enough to enhance runners’ performance. Many of previous winners added to their treasury chests.
Champion of the Middle just two days ago in Category M35 Dmitry Mikhalkin (BLR) got another WMOC gold. It is worth mentioning that a year ago Dmitry was in Belarus WOC relay team. WMOC debut in category M40 brought both Middle and Long golds to JānisKrūmiņš (LAT), who also succeeded in Sprint final. Long-term Latvian team member Krūmiņš has reached as high as 4th position in WOC relay. Two golds were won by Mantas Rimkus (LTU) in category M45. Both silver (Middle) and bronze (Long) medals will travel to Sweden with Tommy Lindberg.
Hakan Eriksson is one of Swedish orienteering legends – he managed to win a silver WOC medal in Sprint at the age of 43, fifteen years after his first WOC podium in 1989. No wonder – double gold both in Middle and Long Finals was his.
Another Swede, Sixten Westlund did not manage to defend his 2018 Long distance title reaching bronze position this year. Gold and silver went to Eero Junkala (FIN) and Knut Wiig Mathisen (NOR). Sigurd Daehli (NOR), one of most famous Norwegian orienteers (2 Foot-O, 4 Ski-O and 1 Trail-O WOC medals) could add silver in Middle and gold in Long (category M65) to his medal list thus achieving the round number of ten WMOC golds.
WMOC2018 Long champion Freddy Sillien (BEL) was beaten by Veikko Loukonen (FIN) and he could stand on the silver step of the podium in M70. Meanwhile German Helmut Conrad (M75) took second Long gold in a row, reaching 16 WMOC golds in total.
All times most successful master Peo Bengtsson (SWE) keeps his position on the top – the Long gold in Lilaste is his 18th medal in total and 14th gold one. M90 hat trick goes to Kurt Dose (DEN) – three golds in this WMOC week.
WMOC2019 in W35 category was won by Russian squad member Natalia Efimova, who had won EOC2012 gold in relay, while W40 was impressively dominated by Galina Vinogradova, a holder of multiple WOC titles, currently Vinogradova holds 65th position in overall world ranking 8th position in sprint ranking).
Gold in category W45 went to local Irita Puķīte, who was only beaten by all times best orienteer Simone Niggli (SUI) last year when they competed in W40. Middle final winner Yvonne Gunell (FIN) finished 3rd letting Kirti Rebane (EST) take silver. All the three leaders fitted into 22 seconds leaving the 4th position 4 minuters behind.
Double forest gold in W50 was won by Sirra Toivonen (FIN), while Ilze Lapiņa (LAT) reached double silver position. Laila Hoglund (SWE), Middle distance champion of WMOC2019 let her compatriot Ulla Molin take gold in Long. A real finish thrill came up when three swedes competed for W60 podium positions – Elisabeth Fries managed to beat LottaLinsefors by just a second! Middle champion Kane Andersson was only 20 seconds behind the winner.
All times most outstanding Latvian orienteer Alīda Ābola won W65leaving Swede Christina Hjertson behind by an extremely impressive margin of 8 minutes! Alīda was the first Latvian to win a WOC medal – a bronze far back in 1989. Now Ābola is an owner of 6 WMOC highest titles.
W75 was won by Katharina Mo Berge (NOR) who beat the outstanding multiple times WOC medallist Birgitta Olsson (SWE), who also had already 11 WMOC golds, by 14 seconds. Now there are two orienteering women masters who share the honour of having most golds as Sole Nieminen (FIN) also has won 11 top medals. Sole Nieminen also keeps the record of 22 WMOC medals, while Olsson and Nyman both have 20.
Two Swedish masters Asta Sjoeberg (W80) and Bernice Antonsson (W85) also have to be pointed out – they repeated last year’s success adding to their accounts respectively 6th and 4th WMOC gold medals.