The World Orienteering Championships 2012 in Lausanne ended with the victory of the Swiss relay in the women’s race, while by the men the Czech team came as a surprise. Simone Niggli took advantage of this last day to win a third gold medal at the WOC 2012 and the 20th world title of her career. The Czech runner Jan Procházka took the best in the final meters of the men’s race over Lundanes (NOR) and Holmberg (SWE), to offer Czech Republic its first gold medal in relay.
The first loop of the women’s relay was hotly contested, with five nations in less than 15 seconds. The second loop took a much more dramatic turn, when Rantanen (FIN) made a mistake which took away any chance of medal for Finland. During the same loop, Helena Jansson (SWE) gradually took the lead to finally pass the relay to Tove Alexandersson with over 40 seconds ahead of Switzerland and close to 3 minutes on Norway and Russia. The question was whether the young and talented Swedish runner Tove Alexandersson was able to hold off the last Swiss runner, Simone Niggli-Luder. The Bernese’s runner, in a great shape, took easily the lead and win with more than 2 minutes ahead of the Swedish team. Simone Niggli, joined by Judith Wyder and Ines Brodmann in the finish line, offered to Switzerland its 8th medal at the WOC 2012 and win, by the same occasion, her 20th world title. In the battle for the bronze medal, the Norwegians took the best on the Russian team.
By the men, it is also during the second loop that the race gets settled. Switzerland, Czech Republic, Norway and Sweden manage to drive away from the other teams. Soon, it appeared that the medals would be decided between these four nations. Unfortunately for Switzerland, a mistake by Matthias Merz took away all the chance of medals for the Swiss relay. In a thrilling finish, Lundanes (NOR), Holmberg (SWE) and Procházka (CZE) arrived together at the last control. The Czech runner founds the energy to take the lead and to offer Czech Republic its first gold medal at a World Championships’ relay. Norway finally took the second place ahead of Sweden. The Swiss team, made of Matthias Müller, Matthias Merz and Fabian Hertner, finished in fourth position.