There was a shock shortly before the start of the women’s race when it was announced that two of the favourites for the title – the reigning champion Judith Wyder of Switzerland and last year’s silver medallist Tove Alexandersson of Sweden – would not be running due to injury.
Wyder withdrew suffering from a back injury that had hampered her in the Sprint Relay yesterday. Alexandersson had picked up a foot injury at the O-Ringen last month, and despite having run strongly in her Qualification heat on Friday she decided that she did not feel able to run again today.
There no clear indication yet of whether either athlete will be able to race again this week. Tomorrow is a rest day, which will hopefully give them additional time to recover, and while Alexandersson was originally intending to run in Tuesday's Middle, Wyder is not due to race again until the Relay on Wednesday.
Their withdrawal left Alm as the clear favourite after her outstanding run on the last lap of yesterday's Sprint Relay, and she put in another dominant performance, with the fastest split time to 16 of the 22 controls, to win her second World Championship gold medal the day after her first. Her large victory margin of 40 seconds was won through sheer orienteering speed, and while there were no big decisive route choices, she got many of the small decisions right.
A interesting example of this was between controls 9 and 10: of the seven fastest runners overall, Alm was the only one to take the southern route. Although this was slightly longer, it meant she didn't need to concentrate on locating the entrance to the correct alleyway, and she had marginally the fastest time for the leg.
Alm was clearly delighted after her race:
A second gold medal in two days is crazy and unreal! I was feeling good physically and the map and course were what I was expecting. Hopefully we can continue Danish success for the rest of the week.
Volynska's second place was also fairly comfortable, and she had the second fastest cumulative time from control 3 onwards, becoming the first woman to win a World Championship medal representing Ukraine.
The race for bronze, however, was much more open, with Sara Lüscher, Hanny Allston, Minna Kauppi and Rahel Friederich all in the mix as well as Vinogradova, and only 2.6 seconds separating third from sixth at the finish.
Three controls from the end, Vinogradova had only the seventh fastest cumulative time, but she was able to produce a burst of speed through the last few hundred metres – similar to the one she brought out at the end of the Sprint Relay – to secure her second bronze medal in two days.
photos Janos Schmidt