Around 30 national team runners from Sweden are currently on a ten day training camp in Østfold.
-A perfect start to the build up to WOC 2019, Swedish national team head coach Håkan Carlsson tells us as we drop by to pay the Swedes a visit.
Under this summer's WOC Sweden won four gold medals and three bronze medals, more than twice as many medals as any other nation.
In WOC 2019 there will for the first time be no urban sprints, only forest distances. This makes Carlsson even more aware of the runners from the host nation.
(Photo: National team head coach Håkan Carlsson (left) and medal contender Gustav Bergman have settled well in Østfold.)
-Norway will be difficult to beat, and the same goes for Switzerland. Russia will be difficult opponents amongst the women, and we saw in Strömstad that more and more nations have runners that can fight for the top spots. Anyway, our focus area is on our own development, the national team coach says.
The Swedes have installed themselves at Utne Camping by E6, west of Sarpsborg, where they also brought their regular chef that prepares four meals every day. The eight time world champion, French Thierry Gueorgiou, is newly appointed as Sweden's technical coach. After a salmon dinner, he and the main star Tove Alexandersson goes to analyse today's second training session.
(Photo: French Thierry Gueorgiou was appointed coach with responsibility for the technical trainings and technical development on the 1st of August.)
Alexandersson celebrates her 25th birthday on the 7th of September. She won all three forest distances during WOC 2017, and seems hungry for more gold.
SVT (Swedish national broadcaster) is coming to cover the training camp as well, and the Swedish national team seems satisfied with both WOC's training sessions as well as the ones they have prepared on their own. With short distances to drive, and two sessions every day, the Swedes have the opportunity to have good sessions where they gather useful information on how to orienteer like a pro in the terrains of Østfold.
-We will return with more edged troops to train even more in Østfold in both 2018 and 2019, and we might also choose to have our selection races here, says Håkan Carlsson. He is just as satisfied with the maps and terrains of Østfold as his runners.
-We did a fair amount of sessions in Østfold when we prepared for Strömstad 2016. There is a wide range of high quality maps of relevant terrains, so we are allready starting to feel well prepared. The terrain suits me well, but there is still a lot of work to be done, says one of the top runners Gustav Bergman. The 26 year old won gold medals for Sweden both in WOC and EOC 2014.
-What do you aim for in WOC 2019?
-The same as I always aim for in WOC's, to make my best run of the season. If I succeed in that task, I really hope it will be good enough to fight for the medals. It's for the medals I aim, Bergman says.