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Summary of the Season 2015

During 31 WOCs the Danes had taken four golds. At the 32nd championship the Nordic country took the same number of golds. A result of luck? Not at all. A surprise? Not at all!

During the last year before WOC in Scotland the best Danes spent almost two months in Scotland. Just before the championship their top runner spent three weeks in a row in the coming championship country.

– I really got the time to just concentrate on the championship, Maja Alm explains.

The 27 year old Dane became the queen of the championship with three golds. She won the sprint and both relays. Ida Bobach won long and forest relay.

With two individual and two relay golds the Danes became the best nation over all for the first time in a WOC.

VM orienteringsprint finaleSøndag 2. august 2015
Maja Alm took three golds in Scotland.

The daily work

The ground work for the Danes’ success is done in Aarhus. It is the second biggest city in the country, and almost all of the best orienteers live there. This is not at all just by accident. In fact, all the best Danes that want to be a part of the national team live here.

Almost every day it’s training for the national best. All of them live within a circle with a radius of 15 minutes bicycling, and national head coaches Lars Lindstrøm and Torbjørn Gasberg follow them up daily.

– As coaches we are closer to the athletes than in any other nation. This is a big part of the explanation of the results, Lindstrøm says.

The top athletes can also work closely together and co-operate towards the big goals.

– Does this gathering of the runners only have positive effects?

– Had Denmark had as strong clubs as in some other countries it wouldn’t have been positive for all clubs, he says.

Looking ahead

On the way to the European Championships in the Czech Republic and WOC in Sweden there is no change in the golden team.

– Everyone will be on board for 2016. There will be no changes within the team or coaching staff, but the athletes need to improve. Young athletes will have to work hard to qualify, Lindstrøm says.

Just like when they were preparing for Scotland, the best Danes will not stay in Aarhus all the time.

– The plan is to stay in Sweden for four or five weeks in total before WOC. Though Sweden is close to Denmark the terrain is still very different. Therefore we need to go there for preparations.

Furthermore, Emma Klingenberg hasn’t been living in Aarhus for more than a year. The double WOC relay winner has had permission to live in Stockholm in order to get better skills in Nordic terrain, but from the beginning of 2016 she will be back in Aarhus.

VM sprintstafett309
The Danes won two relays at WOC. The sprint relay winners were Emma Klingenberg (left), Søren Bobach, Maja Alm and Tue Lassen.

After WOC the Danes suffered a lot of bad luck, injuries and also an accident, but with some help from Finland they got the overall triumph in World Cup in the sprint relay.

– The overall victory was the main reason for the participation in the last races in the World Cup, Maja says.

– It was important for the team to take it, Lindstrøm says.

WC Mell Arosa633
Torbjørn Gasbjerg (left) and Lars Lindstrøm are in charge of the succelful Danes.

World class athletes

In the individual World Cup it ended just like one year before. Tove Alexandersson had a terrific start to the year, and got three of three victories when the World Cup started in Australia in January. At the end of the season the Swede stepped up to the highest point of the podium yet again. Due to the great start of World Cup she also won the year before.

WC langdistanse Arosa i Sveits Lørdag 3. oktober 2015 Sara Lüscher, Tove Alexandersson Nadiya Volynska
Tove Alexandersson from Sweden won World Cup overall in front of Sara Lüscher from Switzerland and Nadiya Volynska from Ukraine.

Tove’s teammate Jonas Leandersson had two wins on the sprint at the European Championship before this season. Last year it was relay triumph both at EOC and WOC and this year the 25 year old Swede got his first individual WOC gold.

VM I SKOTTLAND Søndag 2. august 2015
Jonas Leandersson (left) and Jerker Lysell ran in two medals for Sweden at the WOC relay.

Just as usual

In the men’s World Cup the best overall was the same as five times earlier. Daniel Hubmann got his sixth title. In Scotland it also ended tremendously well. For the first time since 2009 the 32 year old Swiss won gold. Both the middle distance and the relay ended in the best possible way. Between the championship in Scotland and the last races in World Cup in Arosa, in his home nation, he and wife Annette had their first child, Lina, born September 9th.

WC langdistanseArosaFredag 2. oktober 2015
Daniel Hubmann has never been on a higher level than in 2015, but the Swiss is wondering if he was on the same level in 2009.

Hubmann does not yet see any end to his career, and he is also missing one thing: A WOC gold in Nordic terrain. Next year he has the chance to fix that in Sweden.

The couple Annika Billstam and Thierry Gueorgiou got one gold each in Scotland. Annika won the middle, just like last year. Thierry won the long. The French phantom is going hard toward the championship in Strömstad. He hasn’t won middle – his number one distance – since 2011.

A historic win

At WOC in Scotland Catherine Taylor did well on both the middle and the long distances, ending with fifth and sixth place. In the last race in World Cup the Brit was best of all. The first place on the middle distance was the first huge triumph of a GB runner since Jamie Stevenson won WOC Sprint, and among the women such a win hasn’t happened since 1999 when Yvette Hague won WOC Middle, also in Scotland.

Catherine Taylor was the very best woman in the last race in World Cup.

Text and photo: Erik Borg


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