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JWOC Jaffe Files - Middle Qualifier

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Dear all

A few of you have asked me to continue with my JWOC blogging of former years so here we go with some thoughts from Finland.  The weather has been great since we arrived and with hardly any daylight its nearly 10.30pm.. and I can still see clear blue skies. 

We were fortunate to be asked to help transport some of the team to the model map yesterday and the opening ceremony which, it has to be said was a curious affair.  The team had really enjoyed their camp by all accounts and seem a happy group.  The teams looked great outside Tampere’s major theme park and then paraded through the theme park to a stage area.  Meanwhile the theme park continued in full swing oblivious to the affairs in their midst.  Perhaps the organisers were trying to distract from the deputy mayor’s speech so watching people on the corkscrew ride and listening to them scream was a pleasant distraction.  We learned a little about Finish culture from the hip hop dance troupe and for some reason Mike Dowling was not asked to speak this year.  Perhaps Mike should work on his hip hop? Now Mike not speaking may have been a good thing given that the IOF has clamped down this year and banned the traditional scantily clad facebook team photos and “Top tens” after some form of complaint. Our team were a little disappointed that their photo containing various stuffed animals may never see the light of day but possibly that is a good thing.

Unlike previous years, day 1 of JWOC was the middle qualification.  Three heats for boys and girls, with top 20 in each heat to the A final next 20 to B final etc.  Roughly 55-60 in each heat but the heats may vary slightly. Usually most countries hold some of their best runners back for later starts so often it appears people are going to make it and then they lose out.  The expected winning time was 23m for boys and 25 mins for the girls. So that meant qualifiers for the A final would need to be well under 30 minutes.  This year a number of teams sent stars out early.  Finish favourite Oli Olijandro , back from WOC last week, flew round in 21.30 and jogged the run in.  He looked amazing.  Perhaps more a sure thing than a good thing.

Our first finishers were JWOC newbies Toby and Caroline and both had times in the 30’s.  Joe Dickinson from Tassie was also at his first JWOC and had a very clean run  to come back in 27 46 which seemed like a good run and on the fringes of A final qualification. Tara Melhuish next in but also in the 30’s. We managed to watch the sat tracking on Patrick and he seemed to run pretty clean after a cautious start. He seemed happy with his run but was 45s down on Joe’s time on the same course but 28 30 seemed Ok. My initial reaction was that he was about a minute off an A qualifying time but he was much happier than last year and only 5 minutes down on the leader of his course. Zoe Dowling had a very clean run and as she finished looked the most likely to qualify.  Her time of 31 01 was looking OK.  Simeon also broke 30 minutes.

Next Vic was Aston and as we tracked him he was closing on Ed Cory Wright and seemed on for a mid 20’s run.  He’s been training and racing in Europe for three weeks and the reports from training camp were promising. As he finished his time looked like a clear qualifier but then it emerged he had mis-punched. He’d been to the wrong control and others mentioned they had also seen this control as it was the most visible. Unfortunately that continues the not so great tradition of Aussie JWOC mispunches…not a good thing.

Asha was off quite late and came in looking really strong but she told us she’d had problems with one control and lost quite a lot of time but was clean everywhere else. Her time of 37 08 put her in the B final. Winnie also came back with a time in the 30’s as did Jarrah. Fairly late on it still looked like Zoe and Joe had slim hopes of an A final birth but Joe turned out to be 22nd and Zoe 25th about 90 seconds from qualifying.  Just to compare,  Patrick was 28th and it was very tight on the boys.  For example Patrick was a bit over a minute from 20th .  Not a bad thing.

The kiwi’s got 3 A finalists this year and we’ll have to cheer them instead. Tommy, Devon and Danielle. The Brits also have a few stars.  The Fins even have printed cut outs of each of their team who also adorn posters etc. They are stars. It will be interesting to see the final tomorrow.

As for me well my brain exploded as soon as I picked up my map and for about the next ten minutes I had less of a plan than the Turnbull government.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully a good thing!

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