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Yannick Michiels: ready to create history

Yannick Michiels had an amazing sprint race in Lysekil. The Belgian is ready to achieve a lot of top positions for Belgium.

Last year he was the first from Belgium ever to be in the top third in a World Cup race. A short while ago this fast orienteer got a new personal best on 5,000 metre track and field with 13.47. In central Lysekil he wanted to test his level. He got a good answer and was very fast in finishing.

“Sad that the race was voided, but I at least was able to test my standard”, he says.

The 23-year-old athlete has big goals in Sprint and thinks his success is related to his fast running. That gives him self-confidence in the orienteering. “There are weeks when I’m training with no map at all, but it can also be four times a week with a map”.

Before the World Cup Sprint he spent some days in Gothenburg and ran four Sprint courses from past events. “In Sweden there are a lot of good Sprint maps”, he says.

–You had flags out in Gothenburg?

“I just ran on the map with no flags and got good practice”.

At WOC in Scotland he will go for Middle and Relay together with the Sprint. “The goal for sprint? I have one year ago said it is gold”. He is ready for being the first Belgian with a medal.

On the way to WOC he will run Jukola this coming weekend. Then he goes to Africa for four weeks. “I will have high attitude training. I will stay at 2,400 metres above sea level”.

– Will it be orienteering?

“Maybe I should make a map”, he smiles. “I will bring some equipment for punching and will train on that. Then I will look at old maps of areas for Sprint, and also look on the Internet to prepare for the WOC Sprint”.

He has never been in Africa before, but he has stayed at high level earlier. “It’s for economic reasons that I go to Kenya. There I can stay for four weeks for what I have paid for two weeks in St. Moritz earlier”.

The Sprint in Scotland is at the beginning of August. “It’s just three days after my birthday, July 29th”. There is no doubt about what Yannick wants most as a birthday present – a little bit after the day: a gold medal.

The men’s course today was 3.8 kilometres long with 17 controls and 95 metres of climb in Lysekil. Already on the way to the fourth control Yannick had caught the one-minute-earlier starter and last year’s WOC Sprint Champion, Søren Bobach. “I knew I had had a good start”. It continued perfectly for Michiels; he had a great race.

The last race in the second round of the World Cup is tomorrow. It’s a Middle Distance in Munkedal.



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