Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thank you!

Would just like to firstly thank everyone for their support over the last week here on the blogg. It was great to see so many people interested and as a team we were very appreciative for the support.
And Secondly, none of this(ie the blogg) would have got off the ground without Troysie. Thanx mate!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

DAY 8: SPRINT FINAL

The Sprint Final was the last competition of the 2007 World Orienteering Championships held in almost perfect running conditions (high 20's) around Kiev's botanical gardens.


In the mens race Australia had the young and talented Julian Dent qualified to the Sprint Final. Julian was begining to feel a little tired after the past week of racing but so was everyone else with very few fresh runners left. The Sprint Final was going to be the highest speed of all races as they competed around the open and technical gardens. "It was a good clean run with very few errors. I just feel like im not strong enough to make the podium yet" commented an ever improving Dent. The times we very very close with positions going down to the nearest tenth of a second. Julian ended up just +1:11 on eventual winner Thierry Gueorgiou in 22nd position. All of the team is impressed with Julian's class this week and we can expect to see him up towards the top in future World Champ's to come.


above photo: Julian Dent warms up before his start in the Sprint Final.

In the womens race Australia had the reigning World Champion with Hanny Allston pumped to defend her crown. There were alot of women who wanted to take it away from her and none more than Simone Niggli. Grace Elson continued her consistent form and placed yet again in the 30's to prove her overall ability over all distances. Whilst Kathryn Ewels lost valuable time on the tricky controls to end up in 46th position. Hanny Allston started towards the back of the field and had alot of work cut out in front of her. Hanny ran her own race to place 9th just +1:20 on Simone Niggli who took out yet another World Champs title. It looks like Hanny is becoming very used to being in the mix of the top10 women in the world.

video
movie: Hanny Allston's start in the Sprint Final

WOC'07 Middle Final
Mens: 1 Thierry Gurgiou (FRA) 14:44.0, 2 Matthias Merz (SUI) 14:44.9, 3 Martin Johansson (SWE) 15:03.6, 22 Julian Dent (AUS) 15:55.6
Womens: 1 Simone Niggli (SUI) 12:06.9, 2 Minna Kauppi (FIN) 12:26.9, 3 Lena Eliasson (SWE) 12:46.7, 9 Hanny Allston (AUS) 13:26.9, 30 Grace Elson (AUS) 14:42.4, 44 Kathryn Ewels (AUS) 17:07.7


above photo: the crowds were out in force to watch the exciting Sprint Final.


As soon as the race was over the hundreds of team athletes and officials began packing up and heading home. Whilst some of us others headed on a charterd cruise down the Dnipro river with many other partying athletes and officials. It is nice to relax a little after months of build up to such a big competition.

above photo: Hanny Allston and Jarrod Voss check out of the team hotel and depart the Ukraine just a few hours after finishing her race.

above photo: Me and Julian relax with a well deserved drink on the Dnipro river cruise.


above photo: Brett Weihart and Dave Shep look back over the past week.


The Australian team athletes and officials all head their own way now, with some going to other races, some going back to work or some even having babies.
Julian Dent: will take a short holiday up in Far North Queensland, Rob Walter: will await the arrival of his and girl friend's (Allison Jones, former team athlete) new born baby, Reuben Smith: will head to Melbourne to work after a few years living in Sweden, Dave Shepherd: will head back to Canberra, Troy de Haas: will spend time in China and then race in Thailand, Kathryn Ewels: will continue around the globe onto Canada and work near Vancouver, Jo Allison: will head back to Canberra with Shep, Anna Sheldon: will head to the UK for a few days recovering before heading home, Grace Elson: will visit Matt Crane's home for a few days also in the UK, Hanny Allston: will stop over in Kuala Lumpur for a few days before preparing for the Tokyo marathon, Brett Weihart (mens coach): will head back home to his family in Gothenburg Sweden, and Sue Neve (womens coach): will visit the UK before heading back down-under.

Thanks for reading and supporting the team everyone. All the guys n gals in the team have enjoyed sharing WOC'07 with you. Next year WOC'08 will be held in the Czech Republic between July 12th-20th. http://www.woc2008.cz/

All the best for now, Troy

Saturday, August 25, 2007

DAY 7: RELAY FINAL

After an easier day yesterday the Australian team was ready for action again today in the city forests of Kiev. The relay is an important race of the world championships as teams battle it out for their countries and not as individuals. It really shows the strength and depth of countries on the world orienteering scale. The terrain was going to be very similar to the Classic Final with lots of route choice and contour detail in the deep gullies (a bit like Aussie erosion but deeper).

above photo: the aussies guys n gals prepare before the race.
In the womens relay race Australia tried to repeat its outstanding 4th place (Denmark '06) from last year and used the same formula with: Jo Allison-Grace Elson-Hanny Allston order of combination. Jo Allison posted very positive early splits at the radio controls as she held onto the leaders. She kept her cool throughout the race and placed 10th at the change over. Grace Elson went out with the Czech, French and Lithuanian teams and had to work hard to hold Australia's position. "I had a few little errors but im satisfied with that run" commented Grace Elson handing over 8th position to move the team up two positions. Hanny Allston needed to work extra hard if she wanted the team to make the podium. Hanny lost time on the leaders but still managed to pick up a position to give Australia an overall very impressive 7th position at the finish line. All the girls were very happy. The double world champions Finland (Minna Kauppi, Heli Jukola and Pauala Happakoski) took out the win over 11mins ahead of our Aussie girls team.

above photo: Grace Elson hands over to Hanny Allston to finish off the relay.
above photo: Jo Allison tells Julian Dent about the relay course and what to expect out in the terrain.
above photo: Grace Elson is all smiles after that effort.
Almost as soon as the womens race was over the men began their race. A new record of 39countries lined up at the start line for the mens relay race, that's depth for ya. Dave Shepherd has almost fully recovered from his food poisoning now but together with the mens coach (Brett Weihart) we decided as a team to use Rob Walter safely instead. The running order could of worked a number of combinations but we decided on: Troy de Haas-Julian Dent-Rob Walter. I (Troy de Haas) had a solid race throughout and the early pace settled down a bit after 5km. The teams were closely bunched as I crossed the line in 11position, just +2mins with Sweden, France and Hungary. Heading into the forest with some hot company Julian Dent gave everything to hold onto Sweden and France. "I got a big rip in my tights and had take them off and quickly turn them around" commented Julian who lost some valuable time on the leaders and didn't feel he had the legs today to run the needed high pace. Julian handed over to Rob Walter in 11th position. This left Rob with the tough job of ending the race off with many teams around him. "I think I took a few bad route choices that would of cost me" commented Rob ending up just +9mins overall on the leaders. A solid result from the guys to be less than 10mins down but it was only good enough for 13th position in the tight mens race. It was Russia who took out the overall victory with Andres Khramov's 2nd leg run that gave them that little bit extra on the rest of the field.

above photo: Julian talks with the team after his experiences out on the course.
above photo: the cut in Julian't tights that he had to turn around mid-race ;)
WOC'07 Relay Final
Women (24 countries)
leg 1: 1 Annika Billstam (SWE) 38:09, 10 Jo Allison (AUS) +2:50
leg 2: 1 Heli Jukola (FIN) 1:16:26, 8 Grace Elson (AUS) +9:27
leg 3: 1 Minna Kauppi (FIN) 1:46:35, 7 Hanny Allston (AUS) +11:38
Men (record 39 countries)
leg 1: 1 Mats Haldin (FIN) 47:19, 11 Troy de Haas (AUS) +2:04
leg 2: 1 Andre Krhamov (RUS), 11 Julian Dent (AUS) +6:58
leg 3: 1 Valentin Novikov (RUS) 2:10:26, 13 Rob Walter (AUS) +9:16
above photo: Australia's mens relay team well in contention today less than 10mins behind the eventual winners Russia.
Tomorrow is the final day at the 2007 World Orienteering Championships with the Sprint Final in the cities botanical gardens. Australia have 4athletes competing with Julian Dent, Kathryn Ewels, Grace Elson and Hanny Allston. Hanny is the reginging world champion in this event so it should be very exciting to watch her and the other Aussie athletes. They are expecting thunderstorms overnight so hopefully it will cool things down for the runners.
Signing off from Kiev, Troy

Friday, August 24, 2007

UKRAINE: CULTURE SHOCK!

As a member of the Australian team for World Orienteering Championships you are ensured to travel and visit unique places on this globe that you would not otherwise go to. Not only do you visit new and interesting parts of the world but you get to see them from the inside, meet real local people, attend genuine traditional banquets and unlike the usual tourist who tend to just see their hotel room and a few local tourist attractions we get a real feel for the country. Whether your running through a trash filled suburban forest or just trying to work out what it is floating in your soup you can not avoid the culture shock of places like the Ukraine. As athlete's we just try the best when can to adapt to the situation and get on with the job.

The World Orienteering Championships have been held in a wide variety of locations over the past decade including: Scotland '99, Finland '01, Switzerland '03, Sweden '04, Japan '05 and Denmark '06 but you can't help smell something different about the Ukraine '07. Here are a few examples that we thought might be interesting for the guys n gals back home.



Food: Where do we begin with food? It was less of a shock after visiting the Ukraine earlier this year (May- Ice Breaker Camp) so most of us knew what to expect and what to bring with us from home. It is amazing what lengths athletes will go to feel at home. Julian Dent brought over his own Weet-Bix, Reuben Smith and Rob Walter brought their own home made muesli and Hanny Allston stashed her own Hot Chocolate and Soy Milk into her bag.


At these World Championship's there was no "official" common dinning hall for all the teams so we have been eating at various restaurants throughout Kiev the last 2weeks. It is important to eat well before you race so we have been eating alot of "safer" foods that we are more familar with eg.pizza, pasta, salads, breads and lots of juices. A lot of the Ukranian restaurants are self serve and include many oily dishes, potato, fish, cabbage, dumplings, soups and of course Chicken Kiev. The food is not a lot different than back home, although a number of athletes from different teams have gotten sick this week. Everyday we carry litres and litres of water back to our hotel, just to be on the safe side.


above photo: Annika Östman gets stuck into the local equivalent of KFC.


above photo: Mike Dowling (High Performance Director) joins the team for dinner.

above photo: Rob Walter gets a self serve hot potato and salad.


above photo: Most Ukranian food is made up of potato, soups, salads and not so recognizable meats. Kathryn enjoys... mmm.


above photo: It looks and tastes like pineapple juice.

Fashion: The fashion is a little more revealing here in the Ukraine compared to that in Australia. It is not uncommon to see old sweaty men playing basketball in their speedos or pumping iron at the open air gym. Whilst the women dress to impress 24/7, lots of mini skirts and make-up. I was most impressed to see a girl the other day directing traffic in a field at the race whilst wearing her high heels :) 10points for effort. The fashion styles of the western world have not caught on very well in the Ukraine so they look all very 70's and at best 80's.

above photo: At the opening ceremony the locals dress up in the traditional costume.

Forests:



above photo: Ruins and lots of old broken bunkers fill the forest.


above photo: Rob Walter ties his laces up in a nice little carpark in the forest he found.


above photo: Carefull where you put ya feet now.


Danger!: The Ukraine falls behind the rest of the world when it comes to health and saftey. There are many food stalls set up in streets that use questionable health standards, I guess many of the locals are immune to alot of these food poisons. However it is the safety standards that shock most of us on a daily basis, cars that look they were home made and trains/buses that date back to the soviet times. It is a little sad, but most of the locals do not care much about the environment either with many streets and built up areas FULL of rotting rubbish. Our morning runs are a smorgasbord of smells.

above photo: Rob Walter pumps some iron at the outdoor gym, set up using old industrial waste near the banks of the Dnipro river. Danger! Danger!


Want to get married?: Kiev is a hot-spot for marriage agencies it seems. Every billboard, tv-ad and tourist map are full of Ukranian women desperate to meet foreign guys through these agencies. There was even an Australian agency set up specificaly for Aussies, although we have not had time to pop in this visit.

above photo: I got given a few cards if anyone is interested back home? ;)

(To Nev: Reuben best describes the Ukranian wine as 'rustic' and looks forward to sampling a few more after the races are over.)

Meanwhile it has been another rest day here at the 2007 World Orienteering Championships. Everyone has either been resting or training at the Relay/Sprint model areas. It was a scorcher at +38degrees so we were all carefull to drink enough and keep out of the sun for most of the day.

Hanny Allston was sick after yesterday's demanding classic race and crashed early last night and fortunately woke up today feeling alot better. Dave Shepherd was also sick a few days ago from food poisoning(?) and has only just started to feel better. After consulting a couple of doctors it was decided that it was too much of a risk for Dave to run in tomorrow's Relay, it is official now Rob Walter will now run in his position.


Australia's team for the Relay Final
Mens: 1st Troy de Haas, 2nd Julian Dent, 3rd Rob Walter
Womens: 1st Jo Allison, 2nd Grace Elson, 3rd Hanny Allston

above photo: The Aussie team get together to talk tactics about tomorrow's Relay race and discuss the latest information from the team leaders meeting.


Enjoy watching the races in the comfort of your air-conditioned homes tomorrow via the internet.


That's all folks.
Troy

Thursday, August 23, 2007

DAY 6: LONG FINAL

The Long race is known as the 'classic' race for a reason, it's the traditional event of the World Championships and requires enormous endurance both physicaly and mentaly to suceed. Today was no exception with the men racing over 18km and the women 13km. Temperatures were soaring up above +35degrees and this terrain was very near to the city of Kiev, which is very unusual for such a long race.

In the mens race Australia had no athletes in the final as they missed out in the tough qualifying heats. A number of big names dropped out of the final, with Jani Lakanen (FIN) the current World Champion at this event deciding in the warm-up area just minutes before he was due to start that he would not contest the event. Marc Lauenstein (SUI) had become sick in the last few days and did not compete whilst Martin Johansson (SWE), Holger Hott-Johansen (NOR), Pasi Ikonen (FIN) and home country favorite Yuri Olmelthchenko (UKR) found the conditions too tough and pulled out. It was Switzerland's Matthias Merz that found a good pace that he could sustain over 100mins of racing to win his first ever World Championship title in convincing style.

In the womens race Australia had Hanny Allston and Anna Sheldon competiting. Hanny did not qualify as well as she would have liked and drew an early start, she led the radio and spectator controls early on and held the #1position for much of the morning. As expected groups were starting to form at the back of the womens field with many athletes running together. The overall favorite Simone Niggli (SUI) posted average splits from the begining and this left the door open for the other girls to take advantage of her usual dominance. Finland were set for a gold medal with Minna Kauppi but as time past it turned into 2gold medals with Heli Jukola posting the exact same time at the very end of the day. It was the first time ever someone has had to share their World Championship crown. Hanny Allston held onto 6th position and did Australia extremly proud as she was awarded her flowers on the winners podium. It was the 2nd time Hanny has placed 6th in this event (Japan WOC'05) which is impressive. Hanny was unavailable for comment this evening as she is feeling not too well (we will keep you posted). Anna Sheldon set a new personal best placing of 30th position. "It was not very technical course, it suited the runners. I ran an almost flawless race and im very happy to be able to do that" commented an estatic Anna.

WOC'07 Long Final
Mens: 1 Matthias Merz (SUI) 1:44:28, 2 Andre Khramov (RUS) 1:48:06, 3 Anders Nordberg (NOR) 1:48:36

Womens: 1 Heli Jukkola (FIN) 1:20:17, 1 Minna Kauppi (FIN) 1:20:17, 3 Simone Niggli (SUI) 1:21:48, 6 Hanny Allston (AUS) 1:24:17, 30 Anna Sheldon (AUS) 1:38:18


above photo: whilst the Long Final was being raced the guys were out putting final touches to their relay preparation.

Tomorrow is national Independence Day in the Ukraine with lots of festivities and celebrations accross the entire country. The athletes and team officials in the Aussie will not be racing tomorrow but they will not have time to relax just yet either, instead preparing for the Relay and Sprint Finals. It's going to be hot the next few days so the athletes are drinking lots of water and making sure they get their afternoon naps.

We will also try and bring you a bit of a 'Culture-Shock' special in tomorrow's edition of the blog with lots of food, fashion and other craziness from the Ukraine.

A good day for the Australian team, thanks for all the support from everyone. All the guys n gals appreciate it.

Troy

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

DAY 5: MIDDLE FINAL

Australia had 4 athletes qualified in today's Middle Distance Final with Hanny Allston and Julian Dent drawing ideal starts at the back of the fields. The day started like usual here in Kiev but as the day went on it started to warm up with temperatures around 33degrees. As expected the terrain was full of green vegetation and had much complex detail hidden away.

In the mens final Julian Dent was our only athlete and showed promising signs in qualifying two days earlier. As the early times were coming in from the radio and spectator control it looked like very little was going to seperate the men. Everyone had to push the limits to be sucessfull but on the other hand they didn't want to push too hard and come un-stuck. Even the more experienced runners like Emil Wingsted (SWE) fell victim to this, posting an early lead time but as quickly as he gained the lead he lost it. All the big names came out in force towards the end and Julian was smack bang between them all. Early on in Julian's race he lost time and tried to hold off a chasing Holger Hott-Johansen (NOR/W.Champ) and battled around to end up a respectable 24th position. "I am not happy at all with my run. I made a large mistake early on in the race" commented Julian. "I'm already focusing on the relay" Julian commented on the way back to the team hotel. Thierry Guergiou stood out from the other 44men to win a 4th World Championship crown.

above photo: Julian Dent put everything into his race today.


above photo: Rob Plowright (AUS/JPN coach) and Julian Dent share a few comments post race.

In the womens final Hanny Allston, Grace Elson and Jo Allison were ready to do Australia proud. After a poor qualifying position Minna Kauppi (FIN) took an early lead and held onto it for most of the morning. It was not untill the very end when the "Simone-Train" came through and collected Marianne Andersen (NOR) did she loose her lead. Hanny Allston started at the back of the field and lost some time early on to be caught by Heli Jukkola (FIN) who later went on to place 2nd. Hanny ended up +7mins on overall winner Simone Niggli (SUI) in a personal best 13th position which was Australia's best performance of the day. "Im happy as it was my best ever performance in the middle event" commented Hanny Allston this evening. Grace Elson got onto a good run but lost some time in confusion leaving the spectator control ending up in 32nd position. Jo Allison had hoped for more but did not have the best of days to end up in 44th position. Simone-Niggli continues her dominance of world orienteering with her 11th World Champs title today, when will she stop? nobody knows.

above photo: Brett Weihart (mens coach) talks strategy with Hanny Allston.

WOC'07 Middle Final
Mens: 1 Thierry Gurgiou (FRA) 32:21, 2 Tero Föhr (FIN) 34:22, 3 Valenton Novikov (RUS) 34:30, 24 Julian Dent (AUS) 38:11

Womens: 1 Simone Niggli (SUI) 32:13, 2 Heli Jukkola (FIN) 33:18, 3 Marianne Andersen (NOR) 34:14, 13 Hanny Allston (AUS) 39:19, 32 Grace Elson (AUS) 45:52, 44 Jo Allison (AUS) 57:56

Tomorrow Australia will send out Anna Sheldon (QLD) and Hanny Allston (TAS) in the blue-ribon event, the Long Distance Final. It looks like its going to be a tough day at the office for the girls with over 12km to cover in over 35degree temperatures. The other members of the team will either go out and support these two girls or start preparing for saturdays relay event.

Thats all folks! Troy and the crew

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Everyone has been enjoying a rest day here in Kiev today. As promised we have endeavoured to bring you an insight to the Australian team's daily life here at WOC'07.

Each of the team athletes and officials have been calling the Hotel Adria home for the last week. Lets have a sneek peek into their rooms.

Rob Walter and Reuben Smith live in room #621
Rob Walter:
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? I like the Borscht soup, tastes good.
  • Tell something about your room mate? He is a calm and methodical room mate.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Drinking coffee and reading the latest edition of Pro-Cycling mag.

photo above: Rob enjoys a bit of light reading with Pro-Cycling magazine.

Reuben Smith
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? The cold, cheap and good tasting beer.
  • Tell something about your room mate? His level of tidiness doesn't make me feel bad.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Watching Ukranian tv

photo above: Reuben folds a bit of washing whilst watching Ukranian MTV.


Jo Allison and Dave Shepherd live in room #503
Jo Allison
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? I like eating these unique little cheese cakes that you can only get in eastern europe.
  • Tell something about your room mate? Shep is very glad there is an American hospital nearby (Shep just got sick tonight).
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Reading my Harry Potter book.

above picture: Jo invites us into her room.

Dave Shepherd

  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? That im going home on monday (if he recovers from his food poisoning).
  • Tell something about your room mate? I've been living with her for seven years.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Eating pancakes with sweet cheese.

photo above: Dave Shepherd listeins to a bit of relaxtion music.


Hanny Allston and Jarrod Voss (team official) live in room #603

Hanny Allston
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? Early sunrises and warm mornings.
  • Tell something about your room mate? He takes his time especialy in the bathroom.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Reading Harry Potter and watching The OC.

above photo: Hanny Allston is glued to her Harry Potter book.

Jarrod Voss (team official)
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? Great exchange rate to the Aussie dollar.
  • Tell something about your room mate? I do all the washing.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Not much leisure time, enjoy a bit of reading and internet.

above photo: Jarrod Voss is very domesticated and takes care of washing.


Kathryn Ewels and Anna Sheldon live in room #509
Kathryn Ewels
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? I love taking the metro and receiving chocolates in my room everyday from the cleaners.
  • Tell something about your room mate? She is a very bubbly character.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? I'm just finding things to do.

above photo: Kathryn with her stash of chocolates

Anna Sheldon
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? This country never ceases to amaze me, today I saw 8 car accidents.
  • Tell something about your room mate? Kathryn is great because she never complains.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Drinking coffee at the Auto Pizza Club

above photo: Anna shows off her favorite "Anna" mug when we came knocking.



Julian Dent and Troy de Haas live in room # 614
Julian Dent
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? The way the girls dress, super short skirts.
  • Tell something about your room mate? Troy is a neat freak and has the best folded t-shirts.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Relaxing watching a movie and cruising the internet.

above photo: Julian watches the movie "Kenny" on his laptop.

Troy de Haas

  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? The way the girls dress, super short tops.
  • Tell something about your room mate? Julian likes to get up very early and watch cartoons.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Racing Julian at eating and working on this blog.

above photo: Troy puts everything away neat and tidy.



Grace Elson and Matt Crane (GB) live in room #2422


Grace Elson is sharing a room with her boyfriend Matt Crane who is also a member of the Great Britain team. Although she lives up on the 24th floor.
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? Im enjoying the warm weather and the fact McDonald's is just across the road.
  • Tell something about your room mate? Matt is a great room mate, even if he is from GB ;)
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? Im reading the latest Harry Potter and checking out the local markets.


above photo: Grace Elson and Matt Crane let us into their room up on the 24th floor.



Annika Östman (team massage therapist) lives in room #611
Annika Ostman
  • Favorite thing about Ukraine? Cheap bananas and driving fast.
  • Tell something about your room mate? They are a bit stiff ;) I share my room as team massage therapist with all the athletes.
  • Favourite leisure time at WOC'07? I miss playing my guitar but i've had time organise my computer.


above photo: Annika and her well used massage table.

A few words from the Australian Team coaches.



Sue Neve (womens coach) says a few words about qualifying and the finals ahead:
"It is an exciting time for the womens team in the finals. The Women have gone from strength to strength with those who have qualified making the top10 of their heats. Each girl is very capable and in this terrain in unusual conditions being in the Ukraine we must have break throughs. It will depend on the race but each girl is finding those controls this week."

Brett Weihart (mens coach) talks about coaching the mens team at WOC'07:
"Julian has got off to a cracker start here in Kiev with 2 very good races while unfortunately the rest of the crew has had a tough few days qualifying with two 16th places amongst others. Julian has set himself up in a great possie in the middle final and then we will move our focus to the relay on Saturday where the three guys will put everything on the line."

AUSSIE FINALISTS


After 3 tough days of qualifying Australia will have 10 individual places and 2 relay places in the 2007 World Orienteering Championship finals.

Middle Final (22nd August) :
Women- Hanny Allston, Grace Elson and Jo Allison
Men- Julian Dent

Long Final (23rd August):
Women- Hanny Allston and Anna Sheldon

Relay (25th August):
Women- Grace Elson, Jo Allison and Hanny Allston
Men- Julian Dent, Dave Shepherd and Troy de Haas

Sprint Final (26th August):
Women- Hanny Allston, Grace Elson and Kathryn Ewels
Men- Julian Dent

Monday, August 20, 2007

DAY 3: MIDDLE QUALIFYING

The Australian team battled it out in the last day of qualifying at the 2007 World Championships being held in Kiev, Ukraine. The Middle race is traditionaly the most technical of events with lots of short sharp orienteering over just a 25-35min course. Australia produced two outstanding performances by Julian Dent and Hanny Allston who are looking to shine further in the finals on wednesday.


Brett Weihart (mens coach) discusses the race with Rob Walter (ACT).

The Mens Qualifying heats were a fast and furious affair with very tight margins for qualifying, less than 5mins making it tough on the Aussie men. Many big names missed out on qualifying including: Oystein Kvaal Osterbro (NOR), Graham Gristwood (GB), Mikhail Mamleev (ITA), Sergey Detkov (RUS) and Petr Losman (CZE). The depth in the international mens fields at the moment is possibly at the highest level we have ever seen with countries like: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria and home country Ukraine all with highly competitive men at these championships. As first starter of the day I (Troy de Haas) had the unfortunate task of crashing through all the stinging nettles and high grasses ahead of the rest of the field. I ran a ordinary race which is often enough, but the green terrain just didnt suit my orienteering style and I finished up in 17th position. Rob Walter was looking to cruise into the finals but came unstuck losing a valuable 2mins near the end of his race, which would also often be enough to qualify but saw him relegated to 18th position. Julian Dent thrived in this "bulldozer" style terrain and qualified superbly in 3rd position. "I feel I have room to improve on today's result" commented Julian Dent.

Very slow km rates (over 6min/km)through very green terrain that suited many eastern europeans.


Hanny Alston ends three days of qualifying and will look forward to tomorrow's rest day.

The Womens Qualifying heats saw larger qualifying margins as big as 11mins. This was not an issue for the Aussie women who romped around to qualify all three women comfortably to the finals at the top end of the qualifying field. Jo Allison hit the forest for the first time this week. "I made a few little mistakes, just a little scrappy but I look forward now to the finals" commented Jo Allison in 9th position. Grace Elson also ended up in 9th position and heads into wednesday's Middle Final. However Hanny Allston in her third day in a row of qualifying races didn't let the tough terrain slow her down, ending up in a promising 2nd position. "I enjoyed the terrain" commented Hanny Allston not bothered by the terrain.

Middle Qualifying Results (top15 qualify)
Men A: 1 Valentin Novikov (RUS) 28:54, 17 Troy de Haas (AUS) +5:20 NOT QUALIFIED
Men B: 1 Thierry Guergiou (FRA) 26:02, 18 Rob Walter (AUS) +6:06 NOT QUALIFIED
Men C: 1 Daniel Hubbman (SUI) 26:44, 3 Julian Dent (AUS) +:48 QUALIFIED

Women A: 1 Tatyan Riabkina (RUS) 26:52, 9 Jo Allison (AUS) +5:22 QUALIFIED
Women B: 1 Heli Jukola (FIN) 26:43, 2 Hanny Allston (AUS) +2:10 QUALIFIED
Women C: 1 Helena Jansson (SWE) 26:28, 9 Grace Elson (AUS) +5:41 QUALIFIED

Tomorrow will see a much needed rest day for all the team athletes and officials before they begin the Finals starting on wednesday. It looks like temperatures could reach the high 30's by the end of the week but all the aussies are prepared

We will also bring you tomorrow comments from the team coaches, Brett Weihart (mens) and Sue Neve (womens) along with giving you a personal insight to the team at WOC'07.

Signing off once again, Troy

Sunday, August 19, 2007

DAY 2: LONG QUALIFYING

Temperatures droped in Kiev today from around the 30's to the low 20's which was a welcome relief for Australia's runners in the Long Qualifying event. Australia had 5 starters biding for a place in the Long Final but unfortunately only 2 suceeded. The terrain was very "tough and demanding" according to most of the runners which was a little unlike anything they had experienced previously on training maps. Results seemed to indicate the continental and Eastern European runners were more in their element with lots of heavy vegetation.

Today's Long Qualifying finish was amongst the much talked about high grasses and thick vegetation.


L-R: Anna Sheldon (QLD), Sue Neve (womens coach), Dave Shepherd (ACT) and Reuben Smith (SA) arrive back to the hotel after a tough days work.

The Mens Qualifying heats were around the 1hr mark with the course setter choosing a rather heavy course with lots of slow vegetation. Dave Shepherd looked like a promising finalist after weeks of strong training leading upto this years World Championships but he missed out on qualifying by only 4seconds, 16th position. "I kept making small mistakes and could not find the smooth feeling through the controls" commented Shepherd after returning to the team hotel. Reuben Smith was Australia's only other competitor in the mens Long Qualifying event. "I was happy with my run and made no mistakes" stated Smith but it was not enough in the highly competitive mens field placing in 24th position.

Dave Shepherd and Reuben Smith talk about their experiences out there today.

The Womens Qualifying heats were experiencing much of the same toughness as the Mens Qualifing heats with many comments about the vegetation of the courses. Anna Sheldon overcame her problems from yesterdays Sprint Qualifying event to thrive in the toughness of todays course to place an impressive 6th position, and very comfortably move into the finals. Hanny Allston although not as dominate today also comfortably qualified in 10th position. "I made alot of mistakes, lots of room for improvement" were Allston's comments as she heads towards the finals. Kathryn Ewels battled it out the best she could but just found the terrain too heavy for her faster orienteering style and ended up in 20th position.

Hanny Allston (TAS) relaxes in her room after todays qualifying, before hitting the books for a little light studying.

Long Qualifying Results (top15 qualify)
Men A: 1 Marc Launstein (SUI) 57:40, NO AUSTRALIAN STARTER
Men B: 1 Matthias Merz (SUI) 54:36, 16 Dave Shepherd (AUS) +8:44 NOT QUALIFIED
Men C: 1 Philippe Adamski (FRA) 57: 28, 24 Reuben Smith (AUS) +13:12 NOT QUALIFIED

Women A: 1 Simone Niggli (SUI) 43:25, 20 Kathryn Ewels (AUS) +20:00 NOT QUALIFIED
Women B: 1 Lea Mueller Jukola (FIN) 46:36, 10 Hanny Allston (AUS) +7:25 QUALIFIED
Women C: 1 Anne Margathe Hausken (NOR) 47:52, 10 Anna Sheldon (AUS) +8:08 QUALIFIED


Meanwhile Jo Allison (ACT) prepares for tomorrow's Middle Qualifying event at the official training.


L-R: Rob Walter (ACT), Julian Dent (NSW) and Jo Allison (ACT) feel comfortable with today's training "model" mapping standard and terrain style.

Tomorrow will be the last day of qualifying before the athlete's take a rest day before commencing the finals at 2007 World Championships.

Also on the rest day we will try and cover some other insights within the team, who are room mates, what is our favorite ukranian food and how we spend our spare time between races and training.

Signing off for another day, Troy