World Cup: Athletes from 17 nations make it through Knock-Out Sprint qualifiers

The 2024 Orienteering World Cup got underway under very variable weather conditions Friday afternoon in Zofingen, Switzerland, where athletes from 17 out of the competing 32 nations managed to qualify for Saturday’s quarter finals.

The sun was shining over the cosy old town centre as the first runners in the men’s three qualification heats made their way to the first controls. But halfway through the start field the heavens opened and made the short, tricky courses with an artificial maze section in the beginning even more complicated.

Lok Hin Ma (HKG) fought his way through the rain. Photo: Silvan Schletti / OWC Olten 2024

After postponing the women’s start by 30 minutes the rain stopped and the rest of the qualification could be completed.

Home nation Switzerland seemed to thrive in the difficult conditions, having 14 out of 16 athletes into the top 12 spots, that trigger a place in tomorrow’s quarter finals.

12 Norwegian athletes came through the eye of the needle as well while Sweden occupy 10 start places tomorrow.

Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson and Hanna Lundberg won one heat each, while Norway’s Ingeborg Rygg Eikeland made quite a World Cup debut by winning the last heat.

Norway’s Ane Dyrkorn reading the map carefully. Copyright by & owc olten 2024 / photo by rémy steinegger

August Mollén (SWE), Tuomas Heikkila (FIN) and Timo Suter (SUI) finished in top spot in the men’s heats.

Men’s Heat A saw quite a lot of mispunches as several runners skipped a control halfway through the course.

Among the athletes who didn’t make it into top 12 in today’s qualifiers are WOC 2022 KO Sprint-medalist Eef van Dongen (NED), Karolin Ohlsson (SWE), Charlotte Ward (GBR), former Sprint World Champion Isac von Krusenstierna (SWE), Belgium’s 2022 WOC-medalist Yannick Michiels and Sweden’s Max-Peter Bejmer.

Saturday’s Knock-Out Sprint quarter finals begin at 10.00 CEST (UTC +2) in Olten and can be followed on IOF LIVE.

IOF TV’s broadcast begins at 12.00, when the semi-finals start.

Results and maps from today qualification.