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Newcastle junior Joshua Blatchford has been selected to represent Australia at the 2010 Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC), to be held in Aalborg, Denmark, from July 4 to 10.

Coming off a limited preparation following surgery early January to correct compartment syndrome in both legs, Josh was hoping for consistent performances across all four Easter Twenty10 selection races in the ACT, rather than anything brilliant.

A second in the day 1 sprint, 5th place in the day 2 middle distance and a 6th in the day 3 long distance had him well on track as far as this goal was concerned. However, the impressive nature of his long distance result took a toll physically, and despite a technically sound run on day 4 over the relay distance, a result on this day outside of the top 10 caused anxiety regarding selection prospects.

However, connections were a little more confident. Only one of the 6 boys ultimately chosen for the JWOC team had placed in the top 6 in all four selection races, and Josh was one of three to place in the top 6 in 3 of the 4 selection races.

The selection panel of five confirmed the optimism of connections. Josh is excited at the prospect of competing in his second JWOC following sound performances in Italy last year.

Preparations are already underway for JWOC 2010. Josh has been required to submit his training program for the next 12 weeks to JWOC Coach Roch Prendergast. He will attend a team training camp in the sand dunes of Pittwater, near Hobart, from April 23 to 26.

Josh is looking forward to a solid 12 weeks of physical preparation prior to JWOC, and is hoping to include some technical work in the local sand dunes at Bob’s Farm, as well as seeking support from the club to run local events on contours / vegetation only map copies in a bid to tailor his preparation specifically to the JWOC terrain.

Josh plans to fly to Copenhagen around June 24 to participate in a pre-JWOC training camp with fellow team members. Following JWOC he is hoping to remain in Scandinavia, and plans to run in the Swedish 5-days, support the Australian team at WOC, Norway, and compete in the WOC public races. Josh is hopeful of the opportunity to train in a club environment in Norway before returning to Australia in time for the Australian Championships Carnival in South Australia late September /early October.

All at the club wish Josh the best for his adventure, and know the commitment and hard work he has put into achieving this goal.




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