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Swiss maps her way to seventh world title

Simone Niggli-Luder and Daniel Hubmann were all smiles after taking gold and silver in Aichi

(Keystone)

Orienteering specialist Simone Niggli-Luder has charted her path to another world championship, winning the sprint race in Aichi, Japan.

On a successful day for the Swiss team, Daniel Hubmann also took silver in the men’s shortcourse event.

Niggli-Luder, the odds-on favourite before Wednesday’s race, left her opponents trailing well behind on her way to a seventh world title, the third straight victory in the sprint event after successes in 2003 and 2004.

The 27-year-old athlete finished the 3.8-kilometre course more than 30 seconds ahead of Norway’s Anne Margrethe Hausken and nearly a minute faster than Britain’s Heather Munro.

Another member of the Swiss team, two-time world champion Vroni König-Salmi, finished fifth, just eight seconds behind Munro.

Niggli-Luder is currently the world’s number one orienteering specialist, leading the World Cup with one win and two second places. In 2003, at the world championships in Switzerland, she won all four events she took part in.

In the men’s sprint, Hubmann managed to finish second despite struggling to qualify for the race. He only came 12th in his qualifying heat, with 15 runners moving on to the final.

The 22-year-old had been expected to perform well after winning a World Cup event in Guilford, Britain, in May.

The Swiss team’s goal for these championships had been two medals and two results between the fourth and sixth places. The middle- and long-distance as well as the relay races are still to come.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Simone Niggli-Luder:
Seven world championship titles
Two World Cups
Three European titles
World number one orienteering specialist
Swiss sportswoman of the year in 2003

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In brief

Orienteering involves using a detailed map and a compass to navigate one's way round a course with designated control points.

On the route, orange and white control markers are set in the places that correspond to the points on the map.

The winner is the participant who takes the least time to visit the points in the right order.

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