Young Swedes racing the Elite runners at O-Ringen, Simone Niggli returns as a winner.
Olav Lundanes again took the victory today in M21 Elite at the second stage of O-Ringen on the High Coast. No one in the field came very close to the Norwegian rocket.
Third place and first Swedish runner was the promising young Anton Johannson. The 24-year old from OK Orion, who just finished competing in the World University Championships in Finland, ran his sixth race on Monday in as many days.
The five-time Junior World Championships medallist has a few injured seasons behind him. On Stage 2 he was 1 minute and 19 seconds behind Olav Lundanes.
“He’s running at the World Championships next week and I am not.” said Anton Johansson. “It’s just fun to have a good race both technically and physically”.
In sixth place, 1 minute 45 seconds behind Lundanes, was first year senior Simon Hector from Snättringe IK. He managed to finish Monday’s middle distance race without a mistake.
“It’s one of my favourites. The North coast is great fun. It’s a mix of both very hard and very nice.” Hector said.
Immediately after the finish, he was hugged by his mother. It has been a few tough months for the young Swede and the reuslt was a relief. Between October and February, he could hardly take a step because of the pain in his bones.
“It was almost impossible to do any training. I did some intervals and some strength training”.
Overall, Olav Lundanes is leading, but he is now leaving O-Ringen to prepare for the World Championships. Leonid Novikov who runs for Hiidenkiertäjät is therefore in the lead in the M21E class, 26 seconds ahad of Albin Ridefelt from OK Linné.
Simone Niggle, one of the world’s best orienteers of all time, needs no further introduction. On the second stage of O-Ringen, no one could get close to the Swiss runner.
“I took it very carefully. I could not run faster because I would not have looked at the map.” said Simone.
“It was incredibly nice and if you find it right, it’s not so bad, but if you’re lost it’s really hard to get back into the map.”
The final winning margin was 1 minute and 30 seconds, with Emma Bjessmo in second place.
“I am very pleased with the race. I took the time to get into it. Unfortunately, I made a very big mistake” Bjessmo said.
The Lidingö runner dropped down the wrong place on a slope and found two other controls before she found her own. A time loss which may well have cost Bjessmo the victory.
OK Kåre’s Lisa Risby also made some mistakes and finished in third place, only two seconds behind Bjessmo.
“It was very difficult navigation. In the middle distance you want to be very offensive, but it doesn’t help to be offensive in this terrain.” said Risby.
“I think I went a bit too fast for many controls. It works for a while, but eventually you get a bit too over-confident and then make a mistake. It was very difficult, but very fun.” she said.