Linlithgow’s Grace Molloy returned from the Junior European Cup in Austria with a little ‘excess baggage’ - a pair of bronze medals.
The Forth Valley Orienteers athlete took on the cream of Europe’s top young orienteers in what is traditionally the final international experience of the season.
In the long race in the Commendewald Forest a fast course had been laid by the planners and despite a two minute error at the first control, Grace ran hard round the intermediate section of the course, picking up valuable seconds and emerging from the forest side by side with Denmark’s Ida Obro to finish in 47.16.
Grace said: “I thought the terrain would be fast, with minimal route choice.
“I made a mistake early on, but after the first control, I was pretty much clean the rest of the way around. When Obro came past me at the first control, I knew I needed to hold my navigation together and get focused.
“I couldn’t believe it when we ran into the arena together and the commentator said we were in the lead.”
Obro’s time of 45.03 won the gold medal and Switzerland’s Anja Probst, out as the final starter, just managed to dip under Grace’s finish time by 11 seconds, to push the Scottish athlete into the bronze medal position.
There was further success for Grace in the closing day sprint round the streets of Furstenfelt.
Having not done much sprinting at international level, Grace was placed in the middle of the starting block, but rocketed round the tight urban course in 13.37 to hold second place behind Hungary’s Csilla Gardonyi, before Norway’s Victoria Bjornstaed blew the field away with the quickest run of the day to take the gold.
Grace said: “I always felt I could mount a challenge at the international level, and maybe get a medal if I had my best day, so to get two in two days is really amazing.”