Teviothead orienteer Douglas Tullie has just returned from an exhausting but very successful trip to Australia. The nineteen year old Edinburgh University Architecture student was one of six men and four women competing for the British team at the Junior World Orienteering Championships. The event, which took place in and around the picturesque tourist town of Dubbo (situated 400km west of Sydney), attracted the 130 best male and 90 best female orienteers from over 30 countries.
Following a traditional opening ceremony and march past of teams the intensive programme of 5 races in six days got under way with the fast and furious sprint discipline. This took place in the extensive grounds of the renowned Western Plains Zoo and proved to be a unique challenge for the competitors. Straying into one of many out of bounds areas could have proved fatal! Douglas covered the 3.3km course in 16 minutes to finish in 59th place. Best British result was the 22nd place achieved by Banchorys Duncan Coombs.
The following day the action moved to the hills around Dubbo for the Long distance race. The granite strewn, bush terrain was a new experience for many of the teams and proved to be very technically and physically challenging. Douglas finished in 47th place after completing the 11.1 km course in 87 minutes. However an uncharacteristic 3.5 minute mistake at a spectator control robbed him of a potential top 30 place. This disappointment only helped to spur Douglas on to do better in the Middle distance race. This discipline involved a qualifying system of three heats with only the top 20 from each heat going through to the final. Despite a couple of small mistakes Douglas qualified comfortably in 11th place from his heat. The following days final saw him produce his best run of the week, flying round the 4.5km course in 26 minutes to finish in an excellent 16th place. This proved to be the best British result of the week and one of the best British junior results for several years.
The week concluded with the relay competition where Douglas produced a storming run on second leg for the British A team to pull them up 7 places. Despite briefly challenging for a top 6 podium position on last leg they eventually dropped back to finish in 13th.
Although pleased with his 16th place in the middle final Douglas still felt there was room for improvement. This has made him more determined than ever to do better next time, in his last year as a junior, when the World Championships return to Europe and the challenging Swedish terrain around Gothenburg.