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JWOC: Big favourite, happy ending

Olli Ojanaho didn’t get what he wanted at WOC in Estonia, but when he was competing with his own age group it ended just as expected.

Two years ago Olli Ojanaho won three golds when JWOC was held in Norway. Last year there wasn’t a medal at all. “I really wanted to revenge that,” the Finn says.

For years he has been a remarkably good junior. He has of course felt the pressure to succeed at JWOC in his home country this time. “I think a lot of people have expected that I would win.”

The warm up

Last week he was in Estonia. He fought among the very big boys on the Middle Distance. “The goal was to be among the ten best. I wasn’t that used to the green terrain and finished 28th.” The Middle race on the other side of the Baltic Sea was on Thursday.

On Monday he started with an incredible run in the qualification at JWOC, close to Tampere in Finland.

A great start

In the final he was in the lead from the start. He felt a little bit unsure at the first two controls, but didn’t make mistakes. Just in the last, little loop there were some mistakes. On the way to two of the controls he lost about half an minute, but there was no doubt about the winner. The gap to Audun Heimdal in second place was 81 seconds. “Olli was in his own class,” the Norwegian says.

A new level

The winner has raised his speed a lot since he won three golds at JWOC in Norway. “My orienteering technique is maybe a bit on the same level as two years ago. I have made some mistakes this year. I haven’t managed all the time to orienteer as fast as I have been running.”

For some weeks the Finn from the northern part of Finland has been living in Helsinki. In the autumn he will start in the army.

No mistake at all

In the women’s class, Simona Aebersold, Switzerland impressed a lot. Two years ago she won the Sprint in Norway. Last year she won Middle, Sprint and Relay in her home country. “This gold is maybe even bigger, since I took it in the land where orienteering has it’s roots,” she says.

The winning margin was 1.14 minutes. When she finished she was carrying a Swiss flag, just like Ojanaho had a Finnish one some minutes earlier. “There were no mistakes. When I was a bit unsure I stopped and read the map carefully,” Simona says.

Text and photo: Erik Borg



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