The China World Cup Final was only my second World Cup racing for GB as a senior (my first being the month before in Switzerland) so I was really excited to visit a new country and more importantly get some more international racing experience, being only a second year senior.
After some disappointing races in Switzerland I had really focussed my training in the lead up to China, particularly in preparation for the sprint races.
The first race was the middle on the Saturday in which I was the only GB girl competing. I messed up right from the beginning and had quite a poor race. I think I had overthought how to orienteer in the jungle-like forest that was so different to anything we are used to in Europe and ended up forgetting to orienteer in the way that usually works for me.
Fortunately, my nerves for the sprint relay helped me quickly forget about the middle and refocus. There not being many girls from GB meant I had been selected to run last leg in a team with Charlotte, Peter and Ralph all of whom are much better than me so I really didn’t want to let them down and drop too many places on last leg. I started quite near a few other girls so there was lots going on throughout the race with different gaffles and people overtaking each other but I managed to focus on the navigation and execute a race I was really happy with and only dropped 2 places in the process.
On the Monday we had a rest day before the individual sprint on the Tuesday which gave us some more time to get our heads around the unique style of terrain with complex networks of narrow alleys. My plan was to be really strict about ensuring I didn’t lose contact with the map and I forced myself to stand still a few times during the race to read the map which is something I would never usually do. However, I think this was key to being able to run a good race which I was really happy with. It wasn’t perfect, but I had expected it not to be due to the complexity and I ended up finishing 31st gaining my first ever World Cup points.
I’d like to give a huge thanks to the Orienteering Foundation for making this trip possible for me. I’m still a student and having to fund such a trip independently would not be possible. My two sprint performances, particularly the individual result, have really inspired me as I start my winter training ready to go into my 3rd year as a senior. The experience has taught me the mindset I need to perform at such a high-pressured race and I hope I can improve on this result at World Cups in the 2020 season.