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Australian Team Reports 2003/2004

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2004 World Junior Championships
Stryn, Norway, February 2-8
Official Championship Site
Back to 2003/2004 Team Reports

Updates: Feb 2 - Feb 3 - Feb 5 - Feb 7 - Feb 8

Aussie WJC Reports

February 2 - The Australian Team

The 2004 World Junior Championships take place in Stryn on the west coast of Norway. The Australian Team arrived on January 29, to be greeted soon after by very warm almost "Australian" conditions. Temperatures of +5 were predicted for the opening competition, and the tracks were wet and glazed. Ben Sim is the only member of the team starting in the classic mass start events tomorrow. The Official Championship Site or the FIS site will likely be the quickest to post results, and we will try to get summaries of the Australian performances up as soon as reports come from Norway.

Australian Team

Coaches: Nick Almoukov, Allison McArdle
Athletes: Ben Sim, Sally Cunningham, Aimee Watson, Ewan Watson

Competition Schedule:



Australian Competitors

February 3

Women 15km Classic


Men 30km Classic

Ben Sim

February 5

Women 5km Freestyle

Sally Cunningham
Aimee Watson

Men 10km Freestyle

Ben Sim
Ewan Watson

February 7

Women 1km Sprint

Sally Cunningham

Men 1km Sprint

Ben Sim

February 8

Women 4 by 5km Relay

No Australian Team

Men 4 by 10km Relay

No Australian Team

February 3 - Competition Day One - Women 15km and Men 30km Mass Start Classic

A solid start for the Australian team at the 2004 World Junior Championships with Ben Sim taking 41st place in the 30km mass start classic. Ben started conservatively, and despite a fall on the 3rd lap and a broken pole on the third lap (he received a quick replacement) was satisfied with his performance. The temperature during the race was about +3 and conditions were wet after rain overnight and light rain during the women's 15km. The field spread out very early after the first three skiers broke away away from the pack soon after 3km. After about 20km Neuchesov from Russia and Perl from Switzerland made it clear from Goering from Germany, with Neuchesov breaking away on the last hill to win by just 12 seconds. Ben finished stongly towards the end, gaining time on all skiers around him. More details now available from Allison McArdle.

Men 30km Classic Mass Start
1  1:24:32 Anatoly Neuchesov, RUS
2  1:24:44 Curdin Perl, SUI
3  1:25.54 Franz Goering, GER
35 1:32:51 Dave Nighbor, CAN
41 1:33:35 Ben Sim, AUS - 10.69% - 141.91 FIS points
42 1:33:56 Brent McMurty, CAN
58 1:37:16 Michael Sinnot, USA
59 1:38:10 Casey Simons, USA
61 1:38:40 Bret Bedard, USA
62 1:39:34 Jesse Heckrodt, CAN
63 1:40:08 Casey Dyck, CAN
68 1:43:58 Tim Damrow, USA
76 skiers in start 
71 skiers in finish
Women 15km Classic Mass Start
1  46:12 Irina Artemova, RUS
2  46:23 Antje Dittrich, GER
3  46:28 Marion Ruf, GER
19 48:56 Lindsey Weier, USA
29 49:44 Lindsey Williams, USA
34 50:12 Maria Birkigt, CAN
37 50:19 Morgan Smyth, USA
38 59:21 Alison Crocker, USA
44 50:54 Amanda Ammar, CAN
55 54:06 Perianne Jones, CAN
64 skiers in start 
61 skiers in finish

February 5 - Competition Day Two - Women 5km and Men 10km Freestyle

Day two of competition in Styrn saw more rain and wet conditions again for the freestyle 5km and 10km events, which were held for the first time with a 15 second start interval instead of the usual 30. The women's 5km was up first, with Aimee Watson and Sally Cunningham taking 73rd and 76th place. Aimee started well in her World Junior Championship debut, and was in 69th place after 2.5km. Sally on the other hand made an uncharacteristicly slow start [Note - apparently Sally fell early on], 28 seconds behind Aimee after 2.5km before romping home to be only 8.5 seconds outside 72nd place at the finish. Aimee's FIS points of 163.62 were a personal best. Sally will likely be disappointed with her result after skiing so well in Sweden in mid-January. At the front of the field Russia made a trifecta with Artemova making it two in a row.

In the men's 10km the field was incredibly tight early on in the fast wet conditions. Ben Sim was in 27th place after 5km, with a stack of skiers within only a few seconds. He dropped to 34th place at 7.5km, and then hung onto this place at the finish by just 0.4 of a second ahead of Dave Nighbor from Canada. Ben's 7.47% behind the winner in a distance race at the World Junior Championships is only bettered by his own performance in the 30km freestyle last year. Ewan Watson made a great WJC debut finishing in 82nd place from 88 starters and with personal best FIS points of 154.28. At the front Goering from Germany and Koschevoy from Kazakstan had a battle for the top spot, with Koschevoy looking to have it won at 7.5km only for Goering to come back and take victory by 3 seconds. Look again in the next day or so for another detailed report from the team. [Wait now until later next week!] [OK, don't hold your breath, it's lost in the mail]

Women 5km Freestyle
1  13:03.7 Irina Artemova, RUS
2  13:17.2 Anna Slepova, RUS 
3  13:20.5 Valentina Novikova, RUS
14 13:42.6 Lindsey Williams, USA 
22 13:56.4 Perianne Jones, CAN
40 14:11.9 Amanda Ammar, CAN
45 14:17.0 Lindsey Weier, USA
46 14:17.6 Alison Crocker, USA
60 14:39.2 Sonne Nordgren, USA
62 14:53.6 Claire Rennie, CAN
72 15:51.7 Maria Birkigt, CAN
73 15:51.7 Aimee Watson AUS - 163.62 FIS points
76 16:00.2 Sally Cunningham AUS - 170.13 FIS points
76 skiers in start
Men 10km Freestyle
1  24:19.2 Franz Goering, GER
2  24:22.2 Yevgenie Koschevoy, KAZ
3  24:45.8 Nikolay Morilov, RUS
34 26:08.7 Ben Sim, AUS - 7.47% - 79.82 FIS points
35 26:09.1 Dave Nighbor, CAN
53 26:44.3 Bret Bedard, USA
59 27:07.9 Casey Simons, USA
61 27:09.0 Jesse Heckrodt, CAN
62 27:16.2 Michael Sinnot, USA
68 27:24.8 Brent McMurty, CAN
70 27:26.8 Christopher Werrel, CAN
71 27:31.5 Beau Baldock, USA
82 29:09.3 Ewan Watson, AUS - 19.88% - 154.28 FIS points
88 skiers in start

February 7 - Competition Day Three - Women and Men 1km Sprint Freestyle

Apologies for this late and very short report of the third day of individual competitions. A more detailed report will come in the next week or so. Conditions were incredibly fast for the sprint competitions, even the fastest women posted times under 2 minutes. Sally Cunningham put her average result from the 5km behind her and skied possibly her best sprint race ever to take 53rd place from a starting field of 71, only 13 seconds behind the fastest qualifier. Sally also scored personal best FIS points of 148.12. In the men's race Ben Sim finished in 46th place out of 83, what would have been a sensational Australian result only 2 years ago but is now only an average race by Ben's high standards. The course was probably a bit too fast for Ben's liking - those who watched him race in the Australian Championship sprint would have seen that Ben needs a little longer time to kick into high speed.

Women 1km Sprint Freestyle - Qualifying Time Trial
1  1:56.24 Astrid Oevstedal, NOR
11 2:00.28 Perianne Jones, CAN
13 2:00.86 Lindsey Williams, USA 
15 2:01.60 Katie Ronse, USA
42 2:05.57 Alison Crocker, USA
45 2:06.24 Amanda Ammar, CAN
52 2:08.73 Claire Rennie, CAN
53 2:09.39 Sally Cunningham AUS - 11.31% - 148.12 FIS points
55 2:10.37 Cristin Jaques, CAN
61 2:11.84 Sonne Nordgren, USA
71 skiers in start
Women A-Final
1  Astrid Oevstedal, NOR
2  Ida Ingemarsdotter, SWE
3  Valentina Novikova, RUS
4  Ingrid Vikman, RUS
Men 1km Sprint Freestyle - Qualifying Time Trial
1  1:39.52 Robin Bryntesson, SWE
6  1:43.38 Casey Dyck, CAN
9  1:43.92 Christopher Werrel, CAN
23 1:45.60 Dave Nighbor, CAN
27 1:46.24 Beau Baldock, USA
36 1:47.80 Tyson Flaharty, USA
37 1:47.88 Brent McMurty, CAN
43 1:48.61 Casey Simons, USA
46 1:48.93 Ben Sim, AUS - 9.45% - 129.55 FIS points
65 1:52.79 Michael Sinnot, USA
83 skiers in start
Men A-Final
1  Robin Bryntesson, SWE
2  Ville Verkama, FIN
3  Martin Stockinger, AUT
4  Mikael Devatiarov Jnr, RUS

February 8 - Competition Day Four - Women and Men Relay

No Australian teams, Kazakstan won the men's relay in a sprint with Germany, maybe Norway(?) won the women's relay.

So that's it, another World Junior Championship down. Some great performances by the Australian athletes, in particular from Ben Sim in all 3 events and from Sally Cunningham in the sprint, and some solid debuts from the younger Watson twins. The 2005 World Junior Championships are scheduled for Rovaniemi in Finland, and all of the team from this year are still eligible. There is a good chance the WJC next year will also be combined with the first official U23 World Championships, so there should be a large Australian team heading north to the home (allegedly) of Santa Claus. Don't forget, more details from the competitions this year coming soon, apparently the disc is in the mail. Cherio!


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