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Rovaniemi, Finland, March 19-26
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Aussie WJC Reports
The Australian Team
Sorry no previews. Too busy travelling and waxing. See the team and race schedule below.
Coaches: Nick Almoukov, Finn Marsland
Athletes: Ben Sim, Sally Cunningham
Women 5/5km Duathlon
Men 10/10km Duathlon
Women 1km Sprint Classic
Men 1km Sprint Classic
Women 5km Freestyle
Men 10km Freestyle
Women 4 by 5km Relay
No Australian Team
Men 4 by 10km Relay
No Australian Team
March 21 - Competition Day 1 - Women 5/5km Duathlon and Men 10/10km Duathlon
The 2005 World Junior Championships have begun, in Rovaniemi in Finland today. With good recent form in races in Russia hopes were high for something exceptional from 19-year-old Ben Sim in his last World Junior Championships (with wins in both senior and junior classes in Murmansk the weekend before Ben won 500 Roubles and a TV!). Things were looking good on the classic leg of the men's duathlon, with Ben right up there in the leading pack for the first lap and a half. He lost contact just before the end of the second 5km classic loop, however still came into the changeover in 20th place, just 43 seconds behind the first place. The change however was not the best - Ben lost 15 seconds to the fastest skiers, with the 72nd fastest time, and unfortunately the situation was not to improve in the skating leg. With 5km to go he was toast and dropped down to 36th place at the finish. Yes this is still a very good result; but not quite the top 10 result he was aiming for. Nevertheless there are two races yet to go at these championships - the next is the classic sprint in which 30 skiers are taken to final. So making the finals is the next goal and then who knows what can happen.
In the women's duathlon expectations were not as high for Sally Cunningham, but she skied well. Fort most of the 5km classic leg she was in contact with other skiers, and came into the change 3:15 behind the fastest skier. The change was clean (faster than Ben), and then she skied the freestyle leg solo to finish in 66th place out of 68 starters, closer to skiers from the USA than she was in the USA junior championships a few weeks ago. While the sprint on Wednesday isn't in Sally's preferred technique for sprints, she will give it her best shot. Making the finals is probably a very long shot, but hopefully she can knock off a few more skiers than in the duathlon today.
[Late addition - forgot to mention some tidbits. Sal and some other skiers warming-up almost skied into a reindeer running across the tracks. Another (or possibly the same) reindeer made an appearance on the tracks just ahead of the pack in the men's duathlon, but luckily was out of the way when they came through. Some confusion for a Norwegian skier in the changeover - his skating skis were gone and classic skis left in their place - the Italian skier who took them was disqualified. Simbo made a bit of a blunder in the change also, taking one classic pole and one skate pole onto the freestyle leg. He started to cramp in one arm towards the end, but didn't notice that he had one short pole until after the race.]Men 10/10km Duathlon 1 52:04.7 Petter Northug, NOR 2 52:06.3 Toni Naervaeninen, FIN 3 52:10.5 Mickail Deviaterov Jun., RUS 33 55:22.3 Chris Butler, CAN 36 55:28.8 Ben Sim, AUS - 9.03% - 126.44 FIS points 39 55:33.1 Benjamin True, USA 46 56:03.9 Brent McMurty, CAN 47 56:04.3 Alex Harvey, CAN 51 56:23.9 Mike Hinckley, USA 68 58:47.8 Glenn Randall, USA 71 59:32.9 Bret Bedard, USA 80 skiers in start 79 skiers in finish 1 disqualified Women 5/5km Duathlon 1 29:24.9 Marte Elden, NOR 2 29:29.4 Olga Tiagai, RUS 3 29:43.9 Betty-Ann B Nilsen, NOR 25 31:26.6 Morgan Arritola, USA 27 31:28.3 Perianne Jones, CAN 43 32:15.8 Elisabeth Stephen, USA 44 32:22.1 Morgan Smyth, USA 52 33:05.7 Amanda Ammar, CAN 65 35:54.8 Kaitlyn McElroy, USA 66 36:46.2 Cunningham, Sally, AUS - 27.50% - 385.05 FIS points 68 skiers in start 67 skiers in finish
Sally Cunningham in the pack in Duathlon
Ben Sim coming into change in Duathlon (with Norwegian and Austrian skiers)
Ben Sim heads onto freestyle leg behind Swedish skier
March 23 - Competition Day Two - Women and Men 1km Sprint Classic
Both Australian skiers improved their placing slightly today in the sprint compared to the duathlon, however for Ben Sim it was a disappointing result. The goal was to make the finals and he missed out by 0.02 of a second, finishing in 32nd place 6.82 seconds behind the fastest qualifier. 30 skiers went to the finals and Ben should have been one of them; unfortunately this was not his day. His grip should have been good enough but he scrambled and slipped over the crucial second hill, losing valuable time. Despite what Ben described as an "average" race he still almost made the cut, and it wasn't until two late starters snuck into the top 30 that he was knocked out.
Sally's race was "okay" she scrambled on the same hill and didn't feel that fast double poling but on the whole it wasn't bad for her second ever classic sprint. She was 25 seconds behind the fastest qualifier. Who won the finals? Probably Norwegians, it was a classic sprint afterall. Actually yes it was Norwegians.
So now one more day of racing left for the Australians - 5km and 10km freestyle individual starts on Friday, their last ever competitions at the World Junior Championships. Here's hoping for something exceptional on the last day.Men Sprint Qualification 1 1:48.28 Kalle Lassila, FIN 2 1:49.00 Mickail Deviaterov Jun., RUS 3 1:49.18 Even Sletten, NOR 24 1:54.11 Chris Werrell, CAN 25 1:54.34 Michael Sinnot, USA 27 1:54.77 Brent McMurty, CAN 28 1:54.83 Dakota Blackhorse Von Jess, USA 30 1:55:08 Tyson Flaharty, USA (Top 30 qualify for finals) 32 1:55.10 Ben Sim, AUS - 9.21% - 110.58 FIS points 41 1:56.92 Alex Harvey, CAN 46 1:57.80 Casey Simons, USA 67 2:03.01 Chris Butler, CAN 80 skiers in start 80 skiers in finish Men Sprint Final 1 Even Sletten, NOR 2 Petter Northug, NOR 3 Emil Jonsson, SWE 4 Robin Bryntesson, SWE Women Sprint Qualification 1 2:05.81 Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, NOR 2 2:07.29 Astrid Jacobsen, NOR 3 2:08.90 Julia Ivanova, RUS 14 2:11.97 Perianne Jones, CAN 34 2:17.57 Morgan Smyth, USA 37 2:18.38 Amanda Ammar, CAN 41 2:20.69 Tazlina Mannix, USA 59 2:26.92 Elisabeth Stephen, USA 61 2:28.50 Kaitlyn McElroy, USA 63 2:31.62 Cunningham, Sally, AUS - 23.43% - 281.18 FIS points 68 skiers in start 68 skiers in finish Women Sprint Final 1 Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, NOR 2 Astrid Jacobsen, NOR 3 Ida Ingemarsdotter, SWE 4 Natalia Matveeva, RUS
Sally Cunnigham sucking in air in the finish straight
Ben Sim throwing everything into the start
March 25 - Competition Day Three - Women 5km Freestyle and Men 10km Freestyle
The Australian campaign at the 2005 World Junior Championships has come to an end with the freestyle individual races today. Ben Sim finished in 53rd place out of 92 skiers, and Sally Cunningham was 71st, in last place but only 3.9 seconds behind 69th. Both skiers felt that they were lacking something today, just not able to push really hard. For Ben it has been a long season in Europe, nearly 5 months on the road. Finally it is time to go home. Surprise surprise the Russian/Norwegian domination of the women's events continued, with eight of them making the top nine (only broken up by Fargeas of France in 5th place). While three Norwegians made the top four in the men's race, at least they were broken up by a Japanese skier taking the silver medal. At last, a medal for someone who wasn't Russian or Scandinavian!
So now there are just the relays left, maybe there will be a report here tomorrow, maybe not. There's packing up and travelling to do. Next year the World Junior Championships are combined with the first ever official World U23 Championships in Kranj in Slovenia, scheduled back in the normal end of January time slot. So hopefully there are more Australian juniors stepping up for the junior events and some of the "old" brigade ready to kick some butt in the U23s.Men 10km Freestyle 1 23:06.1 Petter Northug, NOR 2 23:36.1 Keishin Yoshida, JPN 3 23:41.7 Emil Hegle Svendsen, NOR 43 25:24.1 Alex Harvey, CAN 47 25:37.6 Brent McMurty, CAN 53 25:46.0 Ben Sim, AUS - 15.91% - 127.29 FIS points 62 26:19.5 Bret Bedard, USA 70 26:50.6 Mike Hinckley, USA 71 26:51.5 Chris Butler, CAN 82 27:41.3 Justin Kangarloo, CAN 84 27:58.3 Michael Sinnot, USA 92 skiers in start 91 skiers in finish Women 10km Freestyle 1 14:24.8 Natalja Iliana, RUS 2 14:39.2 Joulia Kolesnitchenko, RUS 3 14:39.8 Betty-Ann B Nilsen, NOR 14 15:26.1 Perianne Jones, CAN 36 15:59.7 Morgan Arritola, USA 44 16:10.5 Amanda Ammar, CAN 47 16:14.5 Tazlina Mannix, USA 53 16:24.8 Morgan Smyth, USA 66 16:58.4 Laura Spector, USA 71 17:26.3 Cunningham, Sally, AUS - 25.36% - 202.90 FIS points 71 skiers in start
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