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vrijdag, april 03, 2009

Preview Orient'Show

The third Orient'Show in Villeneuve d'Ascq (FR) will take place this weekend. The last two editions over there were both won by Thierry Gueorgiou. The king of orienteering in general and Orient'Show in particular will not participate this time, thereby leaving the other participants a chance to win.

Orient'Show is a two-day event. On saturday, 4 individual qualification races with up to 50 controls in a mere 800m will take place and also the relay qualifications. The 8 best teams are qualified for the relay finals on sunday. In the individual competitions the best 64 runners qualify for the A finals.

In the men's class the best French runners are all absent, except for Pierre-Marie Lesaffre, but our knowledge of the French runners is limited, so someone might be able to surprise us. Belgium, on the other hand, is well represented, with 3 top-10 runners and 3 more top-20 runners on the start list.

The top-10 runners are Belgian champion long distance Thomas van der Kleij, his clubmate at OK "bosherten" Desmond Franssen and his clubmate at hamok, your reporter. Together, they won the Orient'Show relay last year. The other runners are Ken Peeters, Dries van der Kleij and Bruno De Lat, although vdK is unsure for the event because of an injury. Peeters is in good shape overall the last few months and De Lat was running strong at the Slok Orient'Show training last tuesday. All of them are candidates for the podium, and the decision who will run in the best relay team will have to be made after the qualifications on saturday. It is clear that Slok is aiming for the relay title again this year.

In the women's class, we have a clear favourite: Miek Fabré, but she is also injured at the moment and not sure if she will be able to complete all races. From Belgium, we also have Els Talloen and An Frederickx, both also performing well at the Slok Orient'Show test races (with courses set by Fabré) on tuesday.

Overall, we think the timing of this event is quite unfortunate, with most of the good runners on training camps all over the world, but the good weather will hopefully still create a good atmosphere during the races.


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