After the selection, everything was geared towards my big goal for the season. This meant, for example, collecting as many flat kilometres as possible, training in the heat and with clothes that were too warm, and after a very intensive training phase, a final tapering phase of almost two weeks followed. The preparation was physically almost perfect. I never had to change the training program because of injuries and could collect comparatively many running kilometers. Nevertheless, the feeling did not correspond to the extent of the running kilometres. I hoped for faster progress and had to get used to the heat training. Technically I was able to do some qualitative map trainings in Finland and as the last preparation in Dijon, where we got the finishing tuning as a men's team in quite relevant terrain. On paper I was ready, the junior world championship could come.
On Thursday we arrived in Kecskemét via Budapest and used the remaining three days to do some short map trainings.
On Monday we started with the supreme discipline: A 15km long distance awaited us. My start was rather restrained. On the one hand, I wasn't physically as fast as the others, on top of that I made a mistake to the third control, which already cost me 40s. After a long controI was slightly overwhelmed with the shorter, medium controls and hesitated again and again, but was able to avoid a mistake. From then on, however, I turned up physically. After another mistake of just over 30s, I managed a very good run to the finish. In the second part of the long distance I only lost a little time. In the last 25' of the race I was as fast as silver medallist Mathieu Perrin. The race feeling was not very good. The mistakes annoyed me and I also noticed on the way that I had to stop a few times too much. But I was very satisfied with the 23rd place and I was happy about this good start. All in all, it was certainly a satisfactory run and a good start.
The next day we continued with the sprint. I wasn't sure how well my legs would recover. The long distance did not pass me without a trace and during the whole evening I had alternating stomach or headaches. But the speed should be the only good thing the next day.
The sprint day was one to forget. Because I was best in this discipline in 2017, I hoped for a lot. I probably put myself under a lot of pressure, too. But in the end it became one of my worst sprint performances of the last few years. From the beginning I was overwhelmed, found no flow and hesitated. I missed the entrance to control 5, I expected control 9 above the wall and therefore lost 30s, I expected control 10 at another bush and shortly overflowed control 15. At the spectator control I was shouted that I was only 12s behind the lead, at the finish it was 6s and intermediate rank 2. I was amazed, apparently the other early starters also made mistakes and the track simply demands the mistakes. I was briefly celebrated for this intermediate rank, then came the explanation. My time was so good because I skipped a control and made a loop upside down. At first, I couldn't even believe what happened. Only in the evening and the next morning came the huge disappointment. How did this happen at one of the most important races? A race for which I have prepared so well and in one of my better disciplines. I still do not have an answer to this question..... My bad sprint performance, the double disqualification and the missed possibilities in this sprint (with a good performance a lot would have been possible in terms of results) was a bit too much for me and I was glad that the next day there was a day off to digest all this and to hide the "why"-question.
Because the focus was immediately on the middle distance. I use the relevant training on the rest day as a mental change and I managed surprisingly well to concentrate on the middle distance qualification. The starting field was divided into three heats and a place in the top 20 was required for the final qualification. My run was not error-free, but I could keep the mistakes small and over long distances the run was very good. When the men's coach Jönu shouted to me at the last control that I didn't have to stress, I was second in the Heat and certainly in the A final, it was a huge relief. In the end I was third and started as seventh last in the final.
The final was good, but unfortunately not any more. Already to the second control I expected it differently in the terrain and hesitated for a very long time. I was inaccurate about that in the guard room. From then on it went very well technically and I could successfully orientate myself in the difficult green-yellow area. Shortly before the spectator control, however, I missed the control and lost again 30s. Nevertheless, I expected a good intermediate time, many mistakes were expected and I knew that I hardly lost more than a minute. But I noticed from the reactions at the spectator control that my time was not that good, which demotivated me quite a bit. In the final round I did orienteering, like you shouldn't do orienteering. Without a concept, risky and imprudent. The conclusion: More than one minute of mistakes. In the analysis it turned out that I didn't just physically lose the gap before the spectator control, but mainly on route choices. I lost a lot of time to several controls due to different routes. Why these routes are so much faster I can't explain 100%. Maybe I didn't train enough in this terrain to find the feeling for the fast passages. Because without the GPS analysis I would probably have taken at least similar routes again. The frustration at the finish was great. This would have been such a great opportunity. In the middle part (20' of 30') I run the 12th best time (+1:50) despite the route choices, where I lose at least one minute. The speed was not so much slower than the best, it would not have taken an optimal run to run into the top 10. I probably didn't have the competitive luck today. But I also have to be self-critical: Running the final lap like that was really weak and no matter how I am in the race, I have to keep running concentrated.
At the end of the Junior World Championships there was a 3-man relay. For the second Swiss team I ran the last leg. After the starting runner Nicola Müller we were a little behind, but Fabian Aebersold turned up a lot and ran forward to sixth intermediate place. In the middle of the best runners of the best nations I started on the 8km in brutal heat. At the beginning I was in a group and found the first two controls very good. But for the third control I had a big mishap. Although I would have had enough time, I was aiming at the wrong hill and ran to another control. It took me an enormous amount of time during the stress to catch up and I lost two minutes. This was definitely not so planned and the good starting position seemed to be lost. After a few controls I found myself in a fast group of four and took a deliberately defensive position. I just always checked that we were running right. But the others were also moving pretty fast, which I benefited from. Shortly before the spectator control I noticed that they were running in the wrong direction, corrected and ran to my correct fork control. Because I had the wrong object in my head, I lost another few seconds in the control area. The hole was torn open and I had to let two of the group go. At the overflow I was yelled that it was extremely narrow. The final lap was technically good, at the finish I was eighth. This run symbolizes my mixed feelings during the junior world championship. Actually, my performance wasn't totally bad. But if I had gone a little better, so much would have been possible again. We only lost 1:45 on the medal after 107' of orienteering. On the diploma it was 50s.
What remains after the JWOC are mixed feelings. For one thing, all the forest competitions were good. They were not outstanding, which is why the hoped-for exploit failed to happen, but they were solid. I could show again and again very good sections and the ranks 23 (long distance), 3 (in heat; middle distance qualification), 19 (middle distance) and 8 (relay) show a great consistency. Nevertheless, at the beginning I was almost always disappointed, because a lot would have been possible in the races. I missed out on some chances that I had already seized at other competitions with top performances at the right moment. The Sprint is to forget. I still have to evaluate this and draw conclusions.
But what definitely remains are quite nice memories of a great atmosphere, a great team, many emotions, top organized competitions and a preparation that was a lot of fun. I would like to thank everyone who accompanied me on my way to the Junior World Championships! Many thanks to the coaches in particular Anders Holmberg and Jonas Geissbühler, to family and friends, to the training colleagues, to the sponsors Rennbahnklinik and Swisslos Baselland, to the Foundation Basel ist Sport and to the supporters, to the clubs OLV Baselland and Järla Orientering and to the doctors and physios. You made it possible for me to experience this!
From the junior world championship I take a lot of motivation with me to work on my orienteering skills. There is still a lot to do, but I am looking forward to it!