Megan Carter-Davies leads a quarter-final
Megan Carter-Davies won the silver medal in the World Cup Knockout Sprint in Borås, Sweden.
The Knockout Sprint races took place on Saturday 28th May. They comprised a qualification early in the morning, and then quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals in the afternoon.
Ralph Street got through to the men's final coming 7th (the final had an extra runner after a protest). Charlotte Ward, Cecilie Andersen and Jonny Crickmore qualified for the knockout stages and were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
The excellent photos here are the work of Rob Lines. You can find Rob's oeuvre of orienteering photographs on Flickr.
Thanks to Megan and Katherine Bett for chatting for our Twitter feed afterwards,
At qualification there are three women's heats and three men's, with the top 12 in each heat qualifying for the quarter-finals. Each knockout race has six runners. In the quarters (there are 6 for women and 6 for men) the first 3 go through. In the semis (of which there are 3 for women and 3 for men) only the top 2. Our thought is that every runner has a chance in a quarter-final, but the semis are very difficult.
After the heats, the afternoon quarter-finals would be contested by 13 Swedes, 12 Norwegians, 10 Finns, 9 Swiss, 6 Danes, 5 British, 5 Czechs and 12 athletes from other countries.
Throughout the afternoon the men's races were before the women's. It was six men's quarters, then six women's, then three men's semis, then three women's semis, and then the two finals with men first. It was a big organisational achievement to produce such a large, complex and smooth competition, and it was all synchronized with online services and the excellent TV broadcast.
Megan was second in her qualification heat, and was allocated to the slightly less favourable (because of less rest time between rounds) quarter-final number 6, with Cecilie, Simona Aebersold (Switzerland), Tereza Janosikova (Czechia), Marie Olaussen (Norway) and Yivi Kastner (Austria). Megan won this and she, Simona and Tereza went through to semi-final number 3, where they met the first 3 from quarter-final number 5.
Ralph was third in his qualifying heat and came second in his quarter-final, behind Jerker Lysell (Sweden), with Adrien Delenne (France) claiming the third semi-final place. He went to men's semi-final number 2.
The semi-finals required runners to choose from three options for a small part of the course after control 2. There was little variation in what was chosen, with most choosing Option A, the one the commentators thought looked the simplest to execute. In any case in practice different choices made little difference. Many of the semi-finals came down to running speed and route choices near the end. That is leaving control 10, the approach to number 11, and then the route from control 11 to control 12.
Kasper Fosser leads August Mollen and Miika Kirmula to the final control in semi-final number 3
In general the runners took the same route nearly all the time in the knockout races. The planners set plenty of route choice problems, but the first to reach a control often made the next route choice for everyone. In such situations it is usually the strongest runners who prevail. In the men's it often only became clear who this was at the last few controls, or even on the long run-in. In the third semi-final we saw last year's World Cup winner Kasper Fosser pushed out to third by runners who were behind him at the last control.
After that race there was a protest and a counter-protest, the outcome of which was all three runners were allocated to the final.
In his semi-final Ralph raced against four Swedes and the Frenchman Adrien Delenne.
He made a good route choice 11-12 and was strong at the end - he was pleased to come first.
In the women's races differences in running speed often showed earlier on the course, with the Swedes Tove Alexandersson and Hannah Lundberg notably establishing leads in the early knockout rounds that were "out of sight".
The semi-final with Megan, Simona and Tereza included Hannah Lundberg and also Ane Dyrkorn (Norway) and Jana Stehlikova (Czechia) from quarter-final number 5. Simona, perhaps thinking she was not fastest (she is probably not yet back to full fitness), took her own routes but the fast runners took good ones so she did not gain. Megan qualified for the final by coming second behind Hannah Lundberg. Both were on their own by the finish straight.
The finals were the same course for everyone, but with some non-obvious route choices.
In the men's final all runners went right to control 1, and all went right from 4 to 5. The field was still together at the arena run-through (Tim Robertson of New Zealand is leading and just out of the shot).
On the short final loop Matthias Kyburz went past Tim Robertson, with 22 year-old August Mollen, whose first international race was Euromeeting in Autumn last year, winning the bronze. Ralph was the last finisher.
In the women's final it was Megan's turn to race four Swedes. All runners again went right to control 1, and all but one went right from control 4 to control 5. Megan made her race by taking an "S" route that began to the left. She was first up the hill to control 5, and still held a lead at the arena run-through.
On the short final loop Tove Alexandersson's running speed prevailed, and Megan came second. Andrine Benjaminsen of Norway won Bronze.
The main index for the Orienteering World Cup Round 1 - choose a tab.
Online Results and GPS tracking are free.
Internet TV with English commentary, which is not free, is a very good way to enjoy the spectacle. It is 6 EURO per broadcast or 12 EURO for all three.
Our reporting during the races is on Twitter. If you don't have a Twitter login you might care to get one (free) and "follow" @OnTheRedLineO. The feed is coming from the races for this competition. We appreciate "likes". And as an orienteer you will prefer to make the setting "latest tweets" rather than the default "top tweets", so you follow your own route!
Note that qualification was tight, with several big names missing out being a few seconds the wrong side of the cut in their heat.
Alice Leake Alice Leake was 25 seconds off qualifying
Kris Jones did not start