vendredi 22 août 2014

How to end the studies on a good note? World university champion!

As I finished my studies last year from INSA of Lyon, I’ve got the opportunity to run the World University Orienteering Championships and there hasn’t been any hesitation to accept when the coach propose me to join the team even if the season was already quite busy. Indeed, beside an excellent preparation for the next years, this competition is always a great fun experience. And it’s how we went to Olomouc in East Czech-Republic with a quite young national team having his own French style… 

Concerning my performances, I didn’t really have big expectation as I didn’t prepare so well for it, and a little injury in my eye (classical for me) on the model event could have compromise significantly the performances. But the motivation to do well was still very high, of course! I had a busy enough program like at WOC but this time it went pretty well for the individual races contrary to the relays that were not so satisfying:

Mix-Sprint-Relay: 4th
Isia and Lucas Basset, and Léa Vercellotti running the 3 first legs of a promising team (almost the WOC French-team) have done a perfect job throwing me on the last leg in a close to ideal situation: I started in 5th position few seconds behind Norway and Czech-Republic fighting for the bronze medal. I usually really like this situation, but this time, I unfortunately killed all our chances to get a medal right in the beginning of the race while losing time going to wrong forking and doing as a ball in a “pinball-machine” although there was no real difficulty… Even if I tried to push all my energy till the end, it was not enough to close the gap to the Czech fast competitor, and we should accept to finish 4th just few seconds down from the podium.
The team performance was eventually solid but I was quite disappointed for my mistakes costing certainly the medal for the team. However, it somehow gives me a lot of extra motivations for the coming races.

Long: 1st
On the menu, some big hills sliced with deep valley, a clean fast forest stained with various green areas: Perfect for a tough long-distance with decisive route-choices. In this situation, I should know how to orienteer as the terrain reminds some part of the Pilat-mountain in France. It went pretty well for me: with a usual fast start, I still take time to choose the good decisive route-choice to the 2nd control. Then, I was very surprise to catch M. Kyburz on the way to the 5th control; and after that, even if our route choices were not always the best (ex:10 and 12), the speed was fast enough to finish in the lead with a good margin.
Finally, with my 1st individual title in international competition, I’m very happy, and even if it’s only the “University” champs, it’s a great step for me!

Sprint: 3rd
The next day, we had the chance to combine sprint-orienteering and Zoo-visit. I might admit that I haven’t seen many animals though, but the speed and orienteering went good on this physically demanding course. At the end, with a satisfying performance I took the 3rd place exactly 3 seconds from the 2 fast Swiss guys.

Middle: As a rest day for me, it was anyway a very successful day for the French team still in a good mound with 2 medals: Silver for Lucas Basset and Bronze for Léa Vercellotti!

With good individual results the previous days, we could expect great things, but our competitors also had good teams and even if a good job from my team-mate, my performance was not good enough to get a better result than the 7th place. Started around 2 minutes from a medal position, I didn’t handle at all the green of the forest and lost already more than 2 minutes on my way to the 2nd control…

Finally, it was a quite successful championship for me and for the team, a good omen for the next season!
Now, the season is not finished yet with the World military championships next week in Austria followed by the Huippuliiga final on the weekend in Finland where I have the task to defend my overall victory of last year…
Article from LeProgres news-paper
Articles (In French):
From the French Orienteering Federation / From the French university federation

Pictures:Thanks@ French University team /
WUOC organisers: Klára Fajkusová, Michael Vambera 

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