When the World Cup final kicks off in Switzerland this weekend, Simona Aebersold has the best chance to win a medal among the Swiss runners in front of the home crowd in Davos Klosters.
Ahead of the three final World Cup races in 2022, Aebersold is second in the women’s World Cup standings and the highest ranked Swiss athlete.
World Cup Round 3 consists of a Relay on Saturday, a Middle distance on Sunday before the Long distance on Monday. All the races take place in terrain between 1500 – 2000 meters above sea level, which suits Simona Aebersold well.
– I am really looking forward to it. I really like the mountain terrain, it’s really technical and physically quite tough. Since Estonia I have tried to train as much uphill as possible. I have spent a lot of time in the mountains and right now, I’m at Bettmeralp at 1900 meters over sea level to climatize before the World Cup and get those climbs. I like it more than flat terrains, Aebersold told orienteering.sport on Monday.
EOC-title a long-standing dream
The 24-year-old had a tough start to 2022, where she was struggling in pre-season to get over an injury.
So, when the World Cup-season began in May in Sweden, she wasn’t quite as fit, as she had hoped for but managed to finish third in the individual sprint and reached the semi final in the KO Sprint.
Since then, her form improved and after claiming the silver medal at the WOC Sprint in Denmark, she won her first individual championship title in August at the EOC Middle distance in Estonia.
– (It meant) a lot. It has been my goal my whole life. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to win that title. Of course the World Champs title also, but the first step to that one is done now, Aebersold says.
Simona Aebersold on her way to the EOC gold medal on the Middle distance in Estonia. Photo: IOF /Donatas Lazauskas
Getting ready for mountain running
Since EOC her training has revolved around getting fit for the steep hills and slopes, that await the athletes in Madrisa and Davos this weekend. And so far it has paid off, she told orienteering.sport on Monday.
– I have been training quite a lot the past week and the goal now is to relax and do some short runs to get ready for the World Cup final. I think the shape will be really good, because already it feels a lot better than this whole year during training periods.
Usually, international forest races in Swiss terrain results in lots of medals for the Swiss runners. At EOC in 2018 Switzerland, the home nation won 5 gold medals and 11 in total out of 27.
And Simona Aebersold hopes for more Swiss success in the coming days.
– I ran several trainings in the Middle and Long distance terrain before JWOC 2016, because we had a training camp there back then. So, I know a bit about how it is, but I have no idea what the ground looks like anymore. It will be a surprise for me as well, but the home crowd is always amazing and the atmosphere running at home is great. I think that will help me a lot, she says.
Alexandersson too far ahead
Tove Alexandersson leads the World Cup standings with 307 points, Aebersold has 217 in second place.
And the Swede who is heading for her eighth consecutive World Cup title feels impossible to catch for Aebersold.
– She will have to run really badly and mess up at every race, and I don’t think that’s going to happen. So, I have to focus on getting the second place for the third time in a row, she says.
Behind Aebersold, EOC Long distance champion Venla Harju (FIN) is third after scoring 194 points so far. Lina Strand (SWE), Marika Teini (FIN) and Andrine Benjaminsen (NOR) take up the rest of the places in top 6 with 175, 156 and 121 points respectively.
– I’m quite safe on the second place, if I do well in the last couple of races. But the first place is unreachable, I think. So, that’s a goal I didn’t reach this year. Last year I was really close and I thought it would be possible to fight for the gold this year. But what doesn’t happen this year can happen next year. And I’m already working hard to make it happen next year, Simona Aebersold says.
Simona Aebersold led the 2021 World Cup before the final races in Italy, where Tove Alexandersson snatched the overall win. Hanna Lundberg (SWE) finished in third place. Photo: IOF / William Hollowell.
Follow Simona Aebersold and the rest of the orienteering elite this weekend at IOF LIVE’s Web-TV with English commentary. 15 EUR for all races – 6 EUR for one.
The competitions will be broadcasted in Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Switzerland. Find the details here:
Program (local time is CEST – UTC +2):
Saturday, Oct. 1
Web-TV 11.50 – 16.00
First start 12.00/14.00 Men/Women
Sunday, Oct. 2
First start 9.20/9.50 Women/Men
Web-TV: 11.35 – 15.00
Monday, Oct. 3
First start 9.15/9.40 Women/Men
Web-TV: 13.00 – 17.30