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18 July 2018 | in FISU World University Championships, Orienteering

Switzerland surprises during Day 1 of WUC Orienteering

Excitement and expectation collide in the Finnish woods during 21st edition of event



KUORTANE, FINLAND – The first day of the competition at the 2018 FISU World University Orienteering Championship kicked off with the sprint relay race. After a very close and thrilling competition team Switzerland was the first to cross the finish line. Team Poland took the second place and team France was third.


The whole team Switzerland felt great after the race. Despite of the pressure and expectation they felt, they performed well and were motivated to do so. The team prepared for the race with old maps and on Monday they visited the terrain.

 The podium from Day 1 of the WUC Orienteering sprint relay, with Switzerland taking gold (centre), Poland silver (left) and France bronze (right) in Kuortane, Finland

“On this course it is important to run fast and we have four very competitive runners”, Switzerland’s leg three runner Joye Hadorn said when talking about her teams key to success. “The team knows each other very well.”


Added lead-off runner Paula Gross: “We are very good friends and we believe in each other. Everyone feels comfortable in our team.”


The team said that they really liked to traverse the Finnish terrain full of forests. “It is very technically demanding, so I’m looking forward to the other races”, Switzerland’s leg two runner Jonas Egger said.


Switzerland was anchored by Martina Ruch, who crossed the finishline for her team in a combined time of 56min 55sec.


Poland won silver medal, with a team of Agata Stankiewicz, Piotr Parfianowicz, Krzysztof Wolowczyk and Aleksandra Hornik finishing in a time of 57:42. The French quartet of  Delphine Poirot, Adrien Delenne, Arnaud Perrin and Florence Hanauer completed the podium, finishing 11 seconds behind Poland. 


While the warmer than usual weather surprised for this northern European locale, plenty of teams could be seen happily cooling down after in the many surrounding Finnish lakes. Despite Switzerland’s win in the sprint relay, the competition isn’t over yet. There are still a lot more races to go. “I think that Switzerland isn’t satisfied just yet,” the country’s leg four runner, Martina Ruch said.


After a very sweaty afternoon in the terrain of Törnävä, Seinäjoki, the competitors retired to their accommodation areas. The team officials gathered to the Törnävä mansion with other invited guests.


Jorma Rasinmäki, the Mayor of Seinäjoki remarked on the incredible ambience at the event, remarking that “The atmosphere is great and the competition went well. Everything worked and it was great to see how easy it was to follow the race. I’m looking forward to the race on Thursday, when the race takes place in the core of Seinäjoki. This kind of competition is a big and amazing thing to organize.”


Also present at the World University Championship event was Timo Ritakallio, President of the Finnish Olympic Committee.


“The competition is well-organized, the conditions are excellent and the weather is great,” Mr. Ritakallio said. “The race was exciting and variable, which tells a great deal about the terrain and the organizers. I believe we can expect surprising races. Organizing any kind of international sporting events is important. FISU is a big organization and when we get their competitions to Finland, it is a huge thing.”