Park World Tour Final - the full story
Some of the World’s best orienteers took to the streets of Perth City Centre for the 2010 Park World Tour (PWT) final. Athletes from over 17 nations and domestic runners who qualified in Friday’s race in Scone Palace competed for a share of the €5000 prize fund.
Today’s Park World Tour final topped the world championships, so said women’s winner Helena Jansson, current world sprint silver medallist and former world champion. The Swedish number one showed her class in Perth, taking on startled shoppers and the traffic as well as the technical course. “It was a really tough course, with all the little streets and back alleys” Helena said. “This is just the way it should be. It’s a whole different level than the world championships.”
Great Britain’s Graham Gristwood provided an exciting finale for the men’s race and was leading at the first radio control, but ended up in second place, 28 seconds after Norway’s Øystein Kvaal Østerbø who last month finished 4th at the World Championships. Finland’s Tuomas Kari came in third place, with Jerker Lysell in fourth. Flying the flag for Scotland, Murray Strain finished an impressive 5th place, just 2 seconds behind Jerker Lysell.
After the event Gristwood said: “I was really happy with my race and with coming second today. The course was constantly challenging as I knew I had to run fast but still keep my eye on the map.” Murray Strain added: “Avoiding all the shoppers out on my course made my race a bit more challenging, but it was exciting at the same time to have such a buzz around the course from spectators and baffled members of the public.”
In the women’s race, it was a good day for Sweden, with Helena Jansson, current world championship silver medallist taking first place in a time of 15 min 20 secs, beating fellow Swede Linnea Gustafsson by 16 seconds with Annika Bilstram, also from Sweden in third. Britain’s Pippa Archer had a successful final race, coming in forth and therefore winning herself a cash prize. Top Scot was Edinburgh based Claire Ward who finished 7th place.
Runners from Edinburgh University also had a successful final, with Alasdair McLeod and Hazel Wright finishing in 12th and 13th place respectively in the men’s and women’s race, despite both being juniors.
Before his race today Graham Gristwood (2nd) said: “Sprint orienteering requires maximum speed and intense concentration. Errors are severely punished and complex decisions have to be made very quickly. I can’t wait to test myself on the course round Perth today.”
Today’s event sought to be a showcase for the sport, with athletes running through the city centre’s busy shopping areas in front of enthusiastic spectators and shoppers alike. Results were published online, live as runners raced round Perth’s busy city centre via both radio and TV controls. Radio and TV controls were also used for the commentary, provided for by respected international commentator Per Forsberg. A large TV screen, erected in front of Perth Concert Hall, showed footage from the TV controls as well as the start and finish.
Scott Fraser, professional officer with the Scottish Orienteering Association and organiser of the event said: “This weekend has been an excellent showcase for the sport as well as for Perth. We’ve been supported throughout by Perth and Kinross Council along with our sponsors local firm I&H Brown and also Event Scotland. The driving force behind this weekend is to act as a springboard towards our ultimate aim to host the 2015 World Orienteering Championships and to demonstrate that Scotland remains a world class orienteering venue.”
Posted: 12th Sep 10