World Champs Debut by Will

 Will Gardner tells us about the prospect of making his world champs debut in the middle distance race tomorrow. The race will be quite a contrast from the long with lots of intricate contour details and almost no marshes. Follow all the action here from 10.32 (8.32 BST). Good luck to all the athletes competing!

Athletes and Start Times (Local Time (BST))

Will Gardner 11.32 (9.32)
Peter Hodkinson 11.58 (9.58)
Ralph Street 12.06 (10.06)
Jess Tullie 15.10 (13.10)
Hollie Orr 15.46 (13.46)
Jo Shepherd 15.52 (13.52)

"Getting selected for a World Championships is the dream for any orienteer. Seeing your name on a list that will go forward to represent your country at the biggest event in your chosen sport is a feeling like no other; you’ve made it, you can say that you are a World Championships runner.
Being selected as a reserve is gutting. Although it is a fantastic sign that a team is too strong for you to be selected for, and you wish your friends the best, you cannot help but wish you were there instead. You run through your mind about mistakes you made in the build-up to or in the selection races themselves. You know that you’re good enough to make it, but at the same time you just weren’t.

Getting the call to come into the team on late notice is quite a strange situation to deal with. There isn’t time to think about results or training for the race, but you want to justify being called into the team. I was genuinely shocked when I got the phone call from Liz in the Manchester Airport baggage reclaim on the way home from Jukola; I was exhausted after a very long weekend, and it didn’t really sink in until the following day, when I had to start getting organised for heading out to Estonia.
I am incredibly excited and nervous at the same time for my World Championships debut. However, there isn’t much I can do to prepare for the middle distance other than what I have already tried to do in my role as a reserve; staying fit and healthy, and carrying on my training regardless. I know I am not in the ideal position I would like to be in heading into Thursday’s middle distance race but you’ve just got to accept it, move on and focus on the race.

I have found that everyone has been incredibly supportive of me, not only those in the team but my friends and family, all of whom have helped me to make it to my first World Champs. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this far in my orienteering development, especially those members of Octavian Droobers who have taken the responsibility of organising a local race off my Dad so that he could fly out to watch me race. Hopefully this is the first of many WOCs to come."


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