The WOC2023 Mascot, Capri, photo: copyright steineggerpix.com + woc 2023, by Thomi Studhalter
It was to Swiss mountain forests of the Flims-Laax valley for the World Orienteering Championships 2023. The courses were both as physical and technical as expected and the races threw few surprises in the medallists:.Tove Alexandersson and Matthias Kyburz both won two golds and a silver. They lost out in the long to the golden couple of Simona Aebersold and Kasper Fosser. The weather was heavy at times, but did not get as bad as two different days the next week, when the 5000 runner Swiss-O week cancelled races up the mountains because of dangerous storms.
At the end of WOC23, there were disappointed athletes in the nine runner British team, notably those who had invested considerable time into training in relevant local terrain and much other specific preparation, up to and through the test races, and between those races and the competition. But the overall team results were still respectable.
All the final races (i.e. all races except the middle qualification heats) used the same arena. It was within walking distance of the "athlete village" in a ski-resort complex, There were big crowds and a lot of media. There was a great World Champs feel to everything..And it was all convenient for public transport.
Our interviews with athletes at the Championships (YouTube playlist)
the Arena, on relay day
Eventor - Orienteering World Championships 2023
In the individual races Megan Carter-Davies was 7th in the long and 12th in the middle. These are good results, and the only top-20s British athletes achieved. Megan was very disappointed though with her result in the middle, where she was running well in the very technical first third of the course - leading the results at control 5 in fact - only to lose significiant time at number 6, and then again at a late control when the course became very steep (and she was not alone in doing that.) Of course she was not the only runner to hit trouble in the early technical terrain, for example the runner who won the other middle distance race in this year's World Cup so far, Sara Hagstrom of Sweden, lost four minutes to control 1. The next day Sarah was in the gold medal winning Swedish Women's Relay team.
Ralph Street was also disappointed with his performance in the middle distance final. He was 10th at control 8, having had a strong technical race, but he then navigated to control 13 rather than control 9. He finished 29th.
Ralph Street, photo: copyright steineggerpix.com + woc 2023, by Remy Steinegger
Grace Molloy was 28th in the middle final.
Grace Molloy in the relay
Alastair Thomas was 34th in the middle final.
Alastair Thomas - his WOC2023 official photograph
Jo Shepherd was 31st in the long race.
Jo Shepherd, during the long race
Peter Taylor-Bray was 37th in the long race.
Peter Taylor-Bray - his WOC2023 official photograph
Cecilie Andersen and Joshua Dudley were both 20th in their middle distance heats, missing out on qualification for the final. They both also ran the long distance: Cecilie was 30th, and Joshua was 39th.
Cecilie Andersen - her WOC2023 official photograph
Joshua Dudley, still from his interview on our YouTube channel
The women's relay team of Grace Molloy, Cecilie Andersen and Megan Carter-Davies was 8th. The target was top-6 and they were just a few minutes behind the close race between Czechia and Denmark that decided 5th/6th. The big four (Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Finland) took the first four places.
The men's relay team of Will Gardner, Joshua Dudley and Ralph Street was a disappointing 17th. The target was top-10. The GB men are in the second division of nations in forest orienteering (who get two places in the World Champs Long Race) - positions 9-16 in the full list. They were also 17th in 2019, and 15th in 2021, so a disappointing run continues.The 2014-2016 sequence of 7th, 4th, 4th is long past.
Will Gardner on the short last loop of the relay, photo: copyright steineggerpix.com + woc 2023, by Remy Steinegger