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woensdag, augustus 27, 2014

Rostrup and Heiskanen: golden memories about JWOC 1997

Jörgen Rostrup and Hanna Heiskanen (Hanna Lonka nowadays) have one thing in common. Both of them won JWOC gold in 1997 (Belgium) during the short distance race at 'De Weyervlakte'. In 2014 another important race will take place on the same map/terrain. JEC 2014 long distance is the perfect excuse to have an interview with both former top athletes in orienteering.

Delaatstepost: It's been a long time ago since your victories at JWOC 1997 at 'De Weyervlakte'. What do you still remember about the qualification and final (both organised on this map)? Did you experience any difficulties or was it a perfect race?

Jörgen Rostrup: I remember JWOC in 1997 very well! After a disappointing result in JWOC 1996 (Romania) and difficulties with the national team me, Hans Gunnar Omdal and Jostein Moe decided to do our own preparations for JWOC in Belgium. Among other things this meant participating in Sylvester 5-daagse, which was my first experience with the flat and sandy Belgian landscape. After this I did a lot of special trainigs in flat areas, focusing on using the compass in a much better way than before. We travelled to Belgium a week before the junior world championships in July. I performed really bad in all the trainings, except during the model event (this model event took place on the map Sahara, which will be used for the relay competition during JEC 2014). Here I finally felt that I could cope with the terrain! The qualification race was early in the morning (I started at 9:00). I got through the whole course without any big problems, but still with some nervous running. I finished 4th in my heat.

Jörgen Rostrup representing Norway on the podium

The next thing I remember from the day, was the lunch - it was terrible! It looked like a huge and raw meatball. It was just what I needed.... To the start of the final I brought a cartoon book and a mini-disc(!) with Simon and Garfunkel. While the other runners got more and more nervous as the start got closer, I got calmer and calmer. When I started the race, my head was completely empty and I knew that I was ready to go. I've never been a very fast runner, so I focused on the orienteering instead of the speed. The start was ok, but not among the fastest, and I only had one small mistake before passing the spectators control. At the spectators control I even punched a wrong control at first instance..... I can't remember if I was leading at that time or not, but since I was not among the latest starters that didn't matter. While passing the spectators control I began to feel tired. This feeling combined with the changes between running in the pine forest and the sand dunes, made me do two small mistakes before crossing the finish line. Still I was quite happy with the race, though waiting time untill all the opponents had finished took quite long.

Hanna Lonka: I don´t have those competition maps within reach at the moment (they could have helped me to remember more) so I have to answer purely relying on my memories. The qualification race went very badly for me, I hardly got into the final. I remember that I was among the very first to start during the final. There was no pressure, just the joy about being in the final. At that moment I was able to concentrate on orienteering itself and did what it was all about. The final itself went very well. I remember that I didn´t make any mistakes and running was as good as it used to be in those days.

Pargas IF (and Hanna Lonka) winning tiomila 1999

DLP: Did you like the map and terrain? Did it suit you?

Jörgen Rostrup: De Weyervlakte was by far the best terrain I've experienced in Belgium! The participants in JEC 2014 can really look forward to the competitions!

Hanna Lonka: Orienteeringskill has always been more like my thing. I mean that my succes during my junior period was based more on technical skills than on physical condition (allthough I also had to be fit ofcourse). So, I remember that I didn´t expect great results in Belgium, because I thought the terrain would require strenght to run more than anything. But as the wellknown truth is, it was concentration on orienteering which mattered. "Fast terrain" and good visibility made it especially important to orienteer without any mistakes. During those JWOC races in Belgium I did really enjoy orienteering. I then also understood something very important about championships and about the state of mind which makes you to be able to hit succes.

DLP: maybe you've some advice for the junior runners who will participate there in 2014?

Hanna Lonka: I think the key to perform well is the state of your mind and your thoughts. Ofcourse you have to work hard on forehand and make the physical condition as good as possible, but in the end the real strength is in your mind. It's all about to can handle the pressure and to concentrate yourself only on those things which really matter during your course.

JEC 2014 the last goal of the season for many junior athletes

DLP: after JWOC in 1997, you were both successful at JWOC 1998. Hanna Lonka won 2 gold medals in Reims (France): long and relay. Jörgen Rostrup took a 2nd gold in a row in the short distance at JWOC in France. One year later he even won the short distance gold at WOC in Scotland. In 2001 (Finland) he won the gold medal in long distance and later he gained 2 more world champion titles as last leg runner in relay (2004 and 2005). What happened afterwards and what about orienteering nowadays? 

Jörgen Rostrup: I stopped running on a international level after WOC in 2005 (Japan). In 2006 I ran some competitions in Norway and then I just quit. Then I worked as a coach in Kristiansand Orienteringsklubb a couple of years and for the Norwegian Orienteering Federation in 2008-2009. In 2010 I started as Leader of the Medical Department in IK Start (football club in Norway's highest division: Tippeligaen) and that is what I do today.

Hanna Lonka: After junior-years I haven´t run for the national team anymore. I still orienteer, I have never stopped, but not at that level (Hanna Lonka won Tiomila in 1999 and is still competing every year at jukola with Pargas IF).

If you also want to experience orienteering on 'De Weyervlakte' and cheer for the best junior athletes, you're welcome in the north of Belgium during the first weekend of October. The spectatorraces will include 3 stages: sprint, long and middle. The cheapest entries are still opened untill the 31st of August: orienteeringonline.

Results JWOC 1997
JEC 2014 Website (twitter / facebook)

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