Last year's Orient'Show in Villeneuve d'Ascq was well enjoyed by top runners like Thierry Gueorgiou (Thierry should probably close his comments after some time though). We also wrote about our experiences there. There were not that many participants back then. A second Orient'Show in Saint Genest Malifaux, also in France, went by largely unnoticed and also suffered from a lack of participants. This year's edition will be different. There are already 117 entries. Among them a lot of good runners who will make it hard for everyone to make it to the final rounds.
Pasquasy and Gueorgiou seconds before the start.
There's a pretty good explanation of how the event is organized available, but we'll give a short overview: on saturday, there are four qualification races, without starting times. One of them has 40 controls on 800m. Our calculator says that this equals one control every 20m! The best 16 runners of each series pass through to the 1/4 finals on sunday. The others are into the B-series. The top three of each 1/4 final are allowed in the semifinal, along with the winners of the B-quarterfinal. This is to account for runners that only participate on sunday, but it might be worth a guess to let yourself end up in the B-series and take that way into the 1/2 finals, since the competitions in the A-series will be though. The best two runners of each semifinal are quailified for the final. There are prizes for the first four runners: 1: €80, 2: €60, 3: €40, 4: €20. Orient'Show will be ended with a relay event. We are looking forward to see what that will bring us.
Thierry Gueorgiou wins everything, so it's no surprise that he won the two previous editions. This time, things are different however: newcomers Jonn-Are Myhren, Duncan Archer and Michal Smola will try to show what they're worth. Maybe Damien Renard is out for revenge? Or is François Gonon better than his teammate? Also don't forget Eritrean Tadese Franssen, who showed great shape the previous races and trainings. His only focus the last few months was Orient'Show...
Tadese Franssen ready for a race at Orient'Show last year
And what about the Belgians? Although Fabien Pasquasy is injured, he's still on the startlist. Maybe he's able to run fast enough already. The Goubau, De Neyer and Sillien brothers are also fast. (We previously said that Nicolas Sillien was known for his big mistakes , well, our opinion has changed since then! He was unbeatable the last part of the season.) On the Flemish side, we are of course looking forward to know how Paul Bolsens is going to run, but let's not forget the Slok runners, who did a special mini-Orient'Show for training a few weeks ago. The results got lost in the aftermath of the Jenever relay, but what still stands is that Bruno De Lat won all three races back then. We tried to lose/dump him in the forest on a long distance training last week, but our efforts failed, so he might be a serious contestant. Also Thomas van der Kleij only missed the finals last year because his SI was too slow (this is no excuse this year as fast SI-chips will be provided by the organizers) and yours truly ended up in 5th position. The places in the Slok relay teams are not yet decided, as other former junior stars with names like Briers, Boeckx, Tadese's brother Winston and last but not least Jeroen van der Kleij are also participating
In the womens category we will see a change. Last year's winner Amélie Chataing is not going to participate, but she's replaced by three other member-of-the-national-team-French girls, which is not too bad either. (The French have a holy adoration for members of the national team in all possible sports, in Belgium, especially the football team gets a different treatment, not without reason of course) Among them the winner of the second Orient'Show, Anaïs Goffre, but she'll have to face Tiomila winner Capucine Vercellotti and Orient'Show newcomer Charlotte Bouchet on her way through the races. Fast foreigners are Pippa Whitehouse (GBR) and Aline Mazy-Hermans (BEL). Our very own and very talented Elien Melis and Miek Fabré both had weak excuses, ranging from (in no particular order) too much work for school, too expensive, club training camps, win the hamok-cup for Omega, orienteering instructor exams over "too lazy" to "I thought you left on friday".
De Laatste Post will try to keep you updated on saturday if there's free Wifi to be found in the area. Otherwise, complete reports will follow later on.