Story didn’t finish after the sprint distance. Two days later there came the next event: Middle distance. It wasn’t certainly my goal. I’ve never been good in it. I’m happy with almost all the race. Personally, I think the result wasn’t something extraordinary, but that was definitely strange and unexpected to see my name so high in the result list with such a time. After the finish I thought I could have just hoped for top 20, but definitely not for the 8th position .
Before the knee injury I wanted to focus on both sprint and long, because from this winter I’ve started to enjoy long orienteering courses, which was something really new for me. So, I was a bit disappointed I hadn’t got an opportunity to prepare for this event properly. The last elite long distance I ran was in the beginning of April, that’s why I was unsure whether I would be able to fight till the end. Moreover, after two such races that was extremely hard to motivate myself for the long distance. Right after the middle distance Sergey left to Göteborg because of his work commitments with words: “It doesn’t matter how it’ll go on the long distance, you did a really great championships anyway!”. On the day of the event, before I had left to the quarantine, I called him again and, on my words that I didn’t feel motivated and ready enough, I heard: “Win a medal”. I don’t know if that was a crucial point, but I tried to program myself to fight, not to hang around in the forest. I’ve paid my own money not to just complete the course. I am at the World Championships, and I’m here to compete.
To be honest, I can’t say I was fully focused all the course. I did really bad on the first long leg (what I was thinking about running into the marsh!!?? and ignoring the road around), than a mistake on the 3rd control, some more bad route choices, walking up the hills, not being aggressive climbing the cliffs. What I remember clearly, is that on my way to the 9th control I realized I’m too fresh for the WOC long distance after 60 minutes of running and I should push harder. What was my astonishment, when at the arena passage I’ve heard I was the current leader. That meant that Heidi and Saila are still somewhere behind me (but I thought they had passed me while I was struggling in that awful marsh). I’ve looked at my watch. There were 85 minutes of running. I had the last technical loop ahead. So, “I must be really careful now” I thought. At all the long distances I ran it was difficult for me to keep being focused after 60 minutes, so it was kind of surprise for me I was still able to think pretty clearly. After a small mistake at the pre-last control I was trying to push hard till the finish line, being happy I’ve manage to do that.
What I’m proud of the most is that I did it alone, all the way to the finish. Even a bigger surprise came a bit later, when I was doing the interview for IOF with the nice guy Henrik and suddenly heard the speaker calling me for the flower ceremony. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t prepared at all. I even decided not to put Belarusian jacket in my backpack, saving some more space for food 🙂 But how could I have known I need it? I can’t say the result was a surprise, such was a final position, the same as at the middle distance. Again.
The day after I was supposed to be at the Registration day in the University of Gothenburg and drive back in the day of the relay. So, I should have had to ruin my plans and to get somehow to the awarding ceremony, but that was a pleasant change. Definitely. Another story is how I was struggling to get there, sitting in a bus and waiting for our departure, which was delayed for 40 minutes. That meant I would be late for half an hour for the awarding ceremony. I was almost crying and trying to persuade the driver to go, because it was really important for me to present at that ceremony. But he just had to do his job and wait. I want to thank all the people that helped to put the women’s ceremony to the end and thereby allowed me to feel the moment. The moment of staying at the stage and be proud of myself, realizing that all I did during and after my injury was right, that we are on the right way.
Emotions…..that was awesome to experience all these. I mean not only the medal, medal at my first WOC, first ever medal for Belarus (what makes it even more special), surprising 6th and 8th positions on long and middle distances, but also awareness of being a part of the family, big and friendly orienteering family. I am really happy I’ve been there and have talked to so many interesting and nice people, who shared my happiness, with whom I shared their happiness, maybe if not with results, but with the opportunity to be a part of this great event, this great feast of our beloved orienteering.