The 2012 European Championships started this morning with middle qualification races at Hökberg, near Mora in Sweden. Ireland were represented by Rosalind Hussey, Niamh O'Boyle, Nick Simonin and Hugh Cashell, all running in their first European Champs.
The top 17 qualified for Thursday's A final. All of the favourites in the men and women are safely through, with the Scandanavians dominating. Heat winners were Minna Kauppi, Anne Margarete Hausken, Helena Jansson, Valetin Novikov, Olav Lundanes and Johan Runesson. In the women's A heat, Niamh finished 25th but was pleased with a technically solid run. Roz was running in the C heat and was happy enough with her performance. Both Niamh and Roz had GPS tracking today and it is available on the EOC homepage. In men's heat A, Nick had some costly errors that took him out of the qualification positions, and Hugh (heat B) was happy but felt he was too slow.
Tomorrow Hugh Cashell will be Ireland's sole representative in the long distance qualification (GPS tracking online - first start in the men is at 10:30 Irish time). Niamh, Roz and Nick will be joined by David Healy for the sprint qualification on Wednesday morning.
Our thoughts are with Gerard Butler, selected for the Irish team for these championships, his father Michael and family at this time.
All maps and results are posted at the European Championships homepage: www.eoc2012.se
Photos: Niamh and Ros on their way to the finish at Hökberg