The Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) is the premier event for orienteers under the age of 21. Each nation can send a maximum of six athletes in both mens and womens to this annual competition. This year JWOC was held in Denmark around the city of Aalborg. There are four disciplines and each athlete takes part in every one.
This year started with a sprint competition around the University of Aalborg campus. The sprint was a mix of some small technical sections and larger areas of faster running. The sprint distance was the main aim of my week, however, I made some mistakes and did not deal very well with the pressure I had put on myself. I finished in joint 18th place, a decent result but not the performance I was looking for.
The next day was the long distance competition. This was held in a area of forested sand dunes, similar to areas on the Moray coast. I knew that the area was very technical and it was easy to make mistakes. I therefore decided to try and be really safe on all the controls. I was pleased with my performance, I only made two mistakes and the lost a bit more time by taking the safer routes. I had been hoping for a top 30 finish but in the end I was 13th so I was really pleased.
The last individual competition was the middle distance which also has a qualification race. This area was also forested sand dunes but with areas of faster runability. I took the qualification race steady, making only one mistake, and was safely through. The area was much faster than I originally thought and I realised I would have to be more aggressive in the final if I wanted a good result.
In the final I had a really good race. I was nearly perfect on all the controls, losing just a little bit of time on some small curvy routes into the control and a couple of hesitations to check exactly where I was. At the end I was in 7th position, 17 seconds behind 3rd and just 1 second off 6th and a podium finish. I was slightly disappointed to be so close to the podium but it was the best run I could have hoped for.
The final day of competition was the relay. I was running last leg for the first team along with Kris Jones and Alasdair McLeod. The area was very different to the previous forest competitions. In was very similar to Cannock Chase only with a lot bigger hills. Kris had a good race to bring us back in 4th place and in the second pack, behind Sweden and Norway who were a little in front. Unfortunately, Alasdair did not have a great run and lost some time and places, but there was still an outside chance of getting a podium result. I had a good race and caught some places but in the end we finished in 9th and 8th nation (beaten by 2 Norwegian teams).
Overall I was really pleased with how the week had gone and am now really looking forward to what happens next year when I move up into the seniors.