5 Aug

Things Relay Heating Up At Orienteering Champs

Alasdair McLeodThe IOF World Orienteering Championships 2015, which kicked off in Moray on Friday, continues today (5 August) with the relay event on the Darnaway Estate near Forres. Teams of three will compete in separate men’s and women’s races, with the first third leg runner across the line being crowned world champion.

The Swedish men will be looking to defend the relay title they won last year in Italy, with Switzerland, France and Norway also among the favourites for medals. The British men last won the title in 2008, and Graham Gristwood (part of that 2008 gold medal-winning team), Scott Fraser, and Ralph Street will be hoping to challenge for the podium again.
 
In the women’s race, the Swiss, Danish and Swedish teams will be the favourites, although with two of the star names – Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson and Switzerland’s Judith Wyder – struggling with injuries, it is difficult to predict who will win.
 
The British women’s team of Cat Taylor (who finished in an impressive fifth place in yesterday's middle race), Jessica Tullie (who replaces Hollie Orr due to injury), and Claire Ward will be looking to improve on the sixth place they achieved in the 2014 Relay. Edinburgh-based Ward, at 38 one of the most experienced athletes in the British squad, has struggled with numerous injuries over the years, including a fractured hip in a hit-and-run accident when she was 21.
 
She said: “After my problems with injuries I am grateful for every time that I can run pain free. The motivation and determination my experiences have given me is my competitive edge.”
 
The Relay will be shown live on BBC Alba from 4:00pm today. For more information, visit the WOC2015 website.

Image courtesy of ActiveNorth