8th place at Junior World Orienteering Champioships 2016

My last JWOC in beautiful Engadin, Switzerland with my best international result so far.

Posted by Mathias on July 24, 2016

Never in all my years competing at an international level (since my first European Youth Orienteering Champioships back in 2011), I have been training better or more goal-oriented than this winter.
That was mainly because of the fact, that I have not achieved a Top-10 result (beside last years 5th place in the relay) at Junior World Champs yet and I wanted to seize my last chance! My coach Axel really helped me a lot to get faster at running and more stable in my orienteering techniques.
Because of this improvements, which were noticeable at all the trainings before JWOC, and the time I spent training (and not meeting friends etc.), I wanted to give everything and show my best.
You can imagine, although I wanted to stay calm and concentrated during the whole week, I could feel some pressure weigh on me.

A good start into an awesome week. Sprint competition in Scuol.

Sprinten durch Scuol Navigating through the old town. (c) Remy Steinegger

After some really nice days relaxing in our teams' accomondation, a old farmers-house in Sent, and visiting all the model-events, JWOC started traditionally with the sprint-competition in the center of Scuol on 10. July. In the morning I felt relaxed and was glad that I slept well.
However, coming to the quarantine and waiting for my start-time (as I was starting quite late, I had to wait a looong time), was tough. I got excited fast and tried to kill time by visiting the toilet perceived in a 10 minutes interval. ;-)
In the end, navigating through Scuols old town was an amazing experience, partly because of the nice map/area, but also because of all the spectators and especially the austrian fans. Thx for your support, that was also a reason for my good 24th place and a fine start into the world-champs with a new PB at a JWOC-sprint.
Comments regarding my race and the map including my routechoices can be seen here.

Frustration at Passo dal Fuorn.

That was not what I hoped and prepared for. After a really fast and secure start, where I was among the six best runners after the first seven minutes, I made a big mistake and lost not only four minutes to a proper splittime, but also my "orienteering-flow" and the motivation to fight till the very end. Afterwards I felt really tired (both physically and mentally) the whole race and I was extremely frustrated and sad right after approaching the finish. It felt like a missed opportunity to show how well I could perform in this kind of forests.

Comments regarding my race, mistakes and the map including my routechoices can be seen here.

Back to the JWOC-Flow at the Middle-distance: 8th place!

As the first two races (out of five in total) had already taken place, it was time for a day of rest on tuesday. I really enjoyed that day and tried to get over my bad performance at passo dal fuorn. - Simply by not thinking about it.
Back in the forest at the middle model-event that day, I tried to remember myself, that orienteering actually is a lot of fun! As I already knew how to deal with this kind of forests, this was the real valueable awareness of this map-jog.

The next day, I felt ready to compete again! I was eager to perform well and run a good qualification. Since my last middle-final at JWOC 2015 in Norway (where I could not handle the pressure, made several mistakes and finished on 44th spot) I worked on a simple concept to improve my performances at middle distances: Stop when I'm unsure about anything, but fullspeed when I'm sure about everything.
Thats the way it works! - I had a really promising race, finishing in second spot, just 34'' behind this years JWOC-star Joey H. Detailed comments regarding the middle-qualification and the map including my routechoices can be seen here.

My grandma always says, that one has to expect any kind of weather-conditions at any time, when staying in the mountains. I was reminded about that when I woke up the next day:

Hübsches, verschneites Engadin Nice weather for July and the middle-distance final! Picture taken out of the window of our apartment in Sent.

As I like snow all year round, I was happy to have breakfast while watching the white peaks. Thankfully, the temperatures were higher at the time I was starting to warm up! :-) It was a great feeling to start among the worlds best juniors at the very end of a top-class startlist.
I managed to stick to my plan, repeated a stable and good techical race and felt strong physically. That took me up to the 8th place at World Champioships! What a great feeling!

Comments and analysis regarding my race and the map including my routechoices can be seen here.

Konzentration! Though forest, awesome challenges! (c) Remy Steinegger Gas geben! Every second counts! Japadapadu! I did it!

A young relay-team finishing in Top-10!

Sadly Rafael "Rafi" Dobnik, one of my teammates from last years top relay-result, the 5th place at JWOC in Norway, got injured at the longdistance and had to travel home. That was why our team consisted of Jannis, Flo and me. We had high expectations and aimed for a Top-10 result.

Ich kann das! Heading out to fight for Top-10!

Jannis had a great start (even though it was his first JWOC!) and Flo could hand over in a good position, close to some other teams fighting for Top-10. I had a solid race, could overtake three nations and tried to catch Great Britain in order to achieve the 9th place. Unfortunately Alexander C. was too strong that day (and I made a mistake as well), so we finished in 10th position, which actually is a very good result in this strong starting-field of 35 nations.
Comments regarding the relay and my map including routechoices can be seen here.

As you can see below, we had an awesome time together. Not only the atmosphere in the austrian team, but also the good mood between all the runners of different countries is an amazing experience! I'll miss this incredible great time as a junior and last but not least - our gorgeous coach Libor! Thx and see you soon!

Ein klassische Almfamily! Thats how we austrians would like to be remembered after JWOC - and all around the world! :-)
(c) Dominik J.

Text by Mathias Peter. Photographs by Carlotta S. (unless otherwise indicated).