Orienteers get SA going | SASCOC - SASCOC

Orienteers get SA going

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa are up and running at the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

The Gauteng duo of Nicholas Mulder and Tania Wimberley came up against the world’s best orienteers in the sprint event, the first of two events they’ll be part of.

The sprint event involved 2.9 kilometers of running, including 30 metres of climbing and 23 control points for the women and in the men it was 3.1km and 24 respectively.

Wimberley, 38, finished 32nd of 36 competitors and Mulder 34th out of 36.

The contest was held at the city’s Musuem of Fine Arts, an apt venue because the sport, which involves negotiating the course at speed with a map and compass is indeed a fine art.

Wimberley was third women out of the starting blocks and went around the course, which wound through forest, hedges, lawn, paths and stairways, in a time of 20min 20sec. Winner, Minna Kauppi of Finland, covered the course in 14:17.

“It was definitely a tricky course with lots of little nooks and crannies,” said Wimberley afterwards. “I was probably expecting to be last so it’s nice to have been able to beat a few people. I lost about two minutes on the course but I definitely think I’ll do better on the longer distances.”

Mulder, 25, went off eighth and ended in 34th spot out of the 36 finishers.

“I made quite a few mistakes,” he said. “One one leg alone, the first of the long legs (I think it was between the fourth and fifth controls) I must have lost about 40 seconds.

“The controls were placed in tricky positions, one of them in the middle of a hedge.

“This is pretty much what I was expecting. The Scandinavians and Europeans are really in a class of their own.”

The winner was Russia’s Andrey Khramov in 13:11, just edging out Switzerland’s Daniel Hubman by a second in a thrilling finish.

The two South Africans now move over to Chencing Lake for the longer middle distance event on Saturday.

Also in action Saturday is Cape Town’s little bodybuilder Johannes Hendrik who is in the all-important┬á pre-judging stage. It’s here where the judges all but make up their mind who is going to win the next day’s final.