July 2013 – Summer break for TIO

World Orienteering Championships, Vuokatti, Finland

You were probably following the World Championships team in Finland on the IOA web site, on facebook or on the Senior Squad blog, so there’s no immediate need to rehash their adventures here. Well done to all the team, particularly Nick Simonin on qualifying for the Long final, and to the Men’s Relay team of Nick, Neil Dobbs and Darren Burke, but also to Rosalind, Susan, first timers Olivia, Kevin, Conor and Josh, and to Darren and Niamh.You can see some photos of the team in action here.
This is the last of the current format of World Championships, and next year we’ll be facing a new reality as a Grade 3 country, entitled to one runner in the men’s and women’s long finals, but without the possibility of running three men and three women in the qualifiers, so forest orienteering is taking a back seat to the more TV-friendly Sprint format. As a result there are many good Irish orienteers who will be denied the chance of ever running a forest WOC race.
However, we may still get more runs than we did in the past: at the 1976 WOC, the first in which Ireland took part, there were just two races, an individual (long) and a relay. We sent a team of six runners to Scotland ( Monica Nowlan, Eileen Loughman, Pat Healy, Paget McCormack, Wilbert Hollinger and Wally Young). In those days the WOC was run every second year, and in 1979 it changed to even years, but still every second year.
In 1991 a short race was added, which changed to “middle distance” later, and in 2001 the “Sprint” race was included. From 2004 the event was run every year, and in 2014 the format will change again.
The change from even to odd years in 1979 was to avoid a clash with the summer Olympics, as in those distant days the IOA still hoped that orienteering would become a full Olympic sport.
You can read the plans for WOC2014 and beyond on the IOF web site here, and also read the submissions from the member federations in favour of and against the proposal here.
From Ireland’s perspective, and that of the other smaller, under-resourced countries, the change is not a welcome one. Maybe the format will change back in future to allow more countries to try to qualify in the forest?
See the squad facebook page here.

Junior World Orienteering Championships, Hradec Kralové, Czech Republic

Just before the World Championships, the Junior WOC was on for under-21’s in the Czech republic. Again, you could follow the fortunes of the team on-line on the IOA web site or various other places. Well done to Aine, Niamh, Jack, Eoin, Jonny and Niall. You were running against the best in the world in your age class, so don’t be disappointed with your performance – it’s a great experience and one you can build on.
Just after exams isn’t a great time to have to run at JWOC, but  don’t be disheartened. You will have seen the support, funding, facilities, maps and terrain that other countries have. Orienteering is a very small sport in Ireland, numbering active orienteers in the hundreds, not in the thousands or tens of thousands, but we can still compete with much bigger countries and hold our heads high.
Next year’s JWOC is in Bulgaria …

and coming soon …
After the Scottish 6-Day, Moray 2013, events start off at home with the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast and the Mournes, then 3ROC’s three Tuesdays (13/20/27 August) in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, followed by Fingal’s Sunday Scatter Series in September. The Autumn League series starts in Cotk too.
Also in September we have the Connacht Championships at Ballymahon, Co. Longford on the 15th, the Junior Home International in South Wales on the 14th/15th, the Mournes Mountain Marathon (and the London City Race and UK Southern Championships) on the 21st/22nd, the Senior Home International in Carlingford on the 28th/29th. See the IOA fixtures list for details of most of these.

How about this?
If you want to add an additional challenge to your orienteering, here’s a little titbit from the internet which you might find interesting: the Swedish Orienteering and Firing a Rat from a Cannon Championships: see here. (Warning: If you are of a sensitive nature you might not find this amusing, or you might even be offended, so don’t go there …)

See you in September!

John McC.

Orienteering in Ireland
  • Orienteering Ireland
    Irish Sport HQ
    D15 DY62
  • fixtures@orienteering.ie
  • info@orienteering.ie