With her 18th World title for Simone Niggli-Luder and the three Swiss on the podium by the men, this first day of the World Orienteering Championships was perfect for the Swiss Team. Yesterday, during their press conference, the Swiss Team announced an ambitious seven medals campaign during this WOC 2012. After the Sprint finals, it looks like they can even expect more.
In the women competition, Simone Niggli-Luder dominated the race. Maja Alm (DEN) finished at the second place with 36.5 seconds delay on Niggli. Annika Billstam (SWE) walked on the third step of the podium. Helena Jansson (SWE) can be disappointed, finishing just 2 seconds behind her fellow-countrywoman. Fifth of the Sprint, Rahel Friederich (SUI) also made a good race. With this 6th world gold medal in Sprint and an 18th world title, Simone Niggli-Luder already left her mark on this competition. If she keeps this level for the upcoming week, she can even expect to leave Lausanne with some more world medals.
The public was already enthusiastic after the women race, but what to say after the success of the three Matthias. Through a very fast and technical course, Matthias Müller was the first to take the lead. But a few minutes later at the finish line, the orienteering prodigy Matthias Kyburz was ahead for almost 30 seconds on Müller. Matthias Merz completed this historical Swiss hat trick in Lausanne by taking the second place. Scott Fraser (GBR), great 4th of the race, was close to avoid the Swiss hegemony. Andrey Khramov (RUS – 5th) was the last athlete to stay under the minute of delay. With no runners in the Top 10, Sweden was a disappointment.
The athletes will meet again tomorrow for the longue distance qualifications in Ballens. But their next major rendezvous will be Tuesday with the middle distance finals in St-Cergue/La Givrine. Today under the blue sky of Lausanne, it seems that this World Orienteering Championships will be without clouds for the Swiss Team.