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5:36 PM, 20 June 2008

- As good as gold at the EOC

Anne Margrete Hausken was as pleased as though she had taken yet another EOC gold when victory at Friday’s World Cup competition was secure. -Middle distance has been my achilles heel, she said after the finish.

Now, three weeks before the World Orienteering Championships, it seems more likely that a top-shape Hausken will get to run all distances at the WOC in the Czech Republic 13th - 20th July. After convincing golds in both the sprint and long distance in the EOC at the end of May, she now also seems to have cracked the code when it comes to middle distance.

- At the WOC I have a really terrible fear of the middle distance, says Hausken who on several occasions has failed to qualify for the middle distance final. Her best and only middle distance result is a 33rd place from 2007.

But on Friday the Halden-runner got the hang of it.

Terrified

- I caught up with Heli Jukkola along the way. Since I know that she is usually extremely reliable, I thought this is going well and that I just had to push on to the finish. On the last round I was terrified the whole way because I was so scared that I was going to lose it, says Hausken.

Now the discussion is running with the National Team leaders over how many distances she’ll run at the WOC. The team boss wants to be sure of gold. In which case it might be sensible to have a “rest”. Hausken doesn’t see it quite like that:

-For me the best thing is if I can take part in everything. I get just as tired standing at the sidelines watching a race. And this year I feel stronger than in previous years.

The battle for WOC places

So she is just waiting for her team-mates to reach peak form. Marianne Andersen convinced with an excellent leg during the relay Venla last weekend, but didn’t manage higher than an 8th place at Siggerud on Friday. The “poor” result can, however, be explained by the fact that she has a cold, which hopefully will soon be gone. Of the other Norwegians still battling for a WOC place, Ingunn Hultgren Weltzien and Line Hagman were the nearest at 13th and 15th place respectively.

Swedish chase

In Saturday’s chasing start Hausken will have pretty well the entire Swedish national team on her heels. Sofie Johansson, Helena Jansson, Annika Billstam and Emma Engstrand came in at 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place within an interval of two and a half minutes.

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