WMOC: Gold, gold and gold again for four athletes

The ultimate achievement, three gold medals! That was the outcome for Tatsiana Voveriene, Lithuania (W35), Céline Dodin, France (W40) and the Norwegians Unni Strand Karlsen (W70) and Torid Kvaal (W80) after today’s Long Final. Kvaal won today by the huge margin of 12.50, and both Voveriene and Dodin won by more than 8 minutes.

Eight athletes achieved two victories out of the three:

Winners in both Sprint and Long were Oleksandr Marchuk, Ukraine (M35), Sigurd Dæhli, Norway (M70), Roland Karlsson, Sweden (M85) and Irita Pukite, Latvia (W45). Dæhli was in the winning Norwegian relay team at WOC 1981 in Switzerland, and got the bronze medal in the classic race at WOC 1983 in Hungary; he is nowadays also active in TrailO at international level. Pukite had the narrowest winning margin today – 4 seconds faster than Sarah Rollins, Great Britain, the Middle distance winner.

Success came in Middle and Long to Peo Bengtsson, Sweden (M90) and Anna Gornicka-Antonowicz, Poland (W55). Bengtsson had today’s biggest victory – 12.57 better than his nearest challenger.

Sprint and Middle winners were Linda Take, Sweden (W50) and Ruth Humbel, Switzerland (W65).

The Long Final terrain was quite different from the earlier races. The karst (limestone) area with its many depressions and rock features provided big technical and physical challenges to all the athletes; prior experience and a lot of training in that kind of terrain was almost essential for success.

Big thanks go to the Slovakian organisers in coping with more than 3,000 competitors on each day!