James at JWOC

by Steven Scott — 9th July 2024.

James Hammond at JWOC 2024 James Hammond at JWOC 2024

Forth Valley Orienteers' star James Hammond was in fine form at the Junior World Championships in Plzen, Czechia, as he was the leading British man across the five race series.

His, and GB's best medal chance came in the opening day's Mixed Sprint Relay, as James was able to gain eight places in his run to bring the team back from the 2nd leg five seconds off the front in provisional silver medal position. However as the race unfolded, with GB still in medal contention, it became clear that the timing chip of their opening leg runner had malfunctioned on a control, and the team was disqualified from the race.

The individual sprint saw him finish five places higher than last year on a fast course, with a time of 14.28 for 29th position in a race dominated by Switzerland, while the two forest stages had him well in contention, for 53rd and 42nd places in the 174 man field, despite an error in each run which cost valuable seconds.

The final event of the programme was the men's relay, and a battling middle leg from James helped GB into 13th place. Ben Squire (NOC) did his utmost to keep in touch with the front pack, and was 24th at the handover (38.01).

James went out like a man on a mission, and reeled in team after team in the middle section of the race. Although he was only able to gain a minute relative to the front of the race, he improved the team's position by 13 places, handing over a 11th place to Euan Tryner (SYO) with a leg time of 34.55, which was 2nd quickest on the leg.

Race leaders Czechia mispunched on the 2nd leg, and Euan was able to get the team up into 9th place at the 2nd radio control, before being gunned down in the penultimate loop to finish in 111.32, after a leg of 38.32.

The Scotland junior team was in Sweden for a training camp, and Scarlett Kelly was well placed in her racing programme, taking podium places in her four races across the week, including an overall silver medal in the prestigious Eskilstuna Galloppen.

Alexander Hunt, Esme Kelly, Katie Hensman, Matthew Inman, Peter Owen and Rebecca Hammond were also involved in the camp, gaining valuable experience, while the coaching team was dominated with FVO personnel, with Jason Inman, Jamie Goddard, Paul Hammond, Roger Goddard and Will Hensman all involved.

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