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zaterdag, februari 20, 2010

Hendrickx and Oeyen win Flemish night-o championship

Greet Oeyen and Pieter Hendrickx won the first medals of the year in Waterschei, yesterday evening. Oeyen's victory didn't come as a surprise, since she's dominating the night-o competition this season. Hendrickx' first place was rather unexpected, since he only restarted running just one week ago, after a serious leg injury.

Joost Talloen was the first elite runner to enter the forest. The first controls were on the slopes of the old coal mining hill in Waterschei, perhaps the only map with stony underground in Flanders. The remainder of the race was run in rather detailed terrain. Visibility and runnability were low in most parts of the area. This lead to many serious mistakes by almost all runners. Even winner Hendrickx lost 7 minutes to the sum of the best leg times. Talloen was also the first one to exit the forest. Not satisfied with his effort, it was still good enough for a fourth place. The second runner to come out of the forest was also second in the final results. Night-o specialist Jan Oeyen missed only one control quite hard, and that lead to the silver medal, just 1 minute behind Hendrickx. In third position, we find Oeyen's big rival for the night-o ranking, Ken Peeters. Peeters started really fast on the slopes, but made two big mistakes and even though his running speed matched Hendrickx', he finished 2,5 minutes behind.

Greet Oeyen was one of the few runners to avoid the really big mistakes. She had a gap of almost 5 minutes to Miek Fabré and more than 30 minutes to the number 3, Kim Steegen. This podium is not all that surprising, since it's the same runners in the same order as in the night-o ranking.

In the junior classes, there were victories for Yannick Michiels (map) and Sien Verdeyen.

The masters B class had all the drama and sheer stupidity that's expected in a big championship. The favourite there is Frans "Wiet" Laenen. If anyone manages to beat him, that's the winner, it's that simple. But, no-one is perfect and Wiet made a mistake today. Dominique Peeters started 3 minutes behind and subsequently caught up with him. Peeters thought: "all I have to do now is to follow him, and I will be the winner". And that's what he did. It's perhaps not the most fair thing to do, but some people would do anything for a medal. But, according to Peeters, Laenen was running really fast and at a certain point, the pair crossed Jan Oeyen. Peeters was way too tired to notice, but he started following Oeyen instead and followed him to the finish, only there realising his mistake and the inevitable "not classified" in the results.

Map (H jun)