With WUOC only a few days away now, the excitement is building! Nearly all of the athletes are now over in Europe, or on their way this weekend. The HPC (High Performance Committee) Communications Team are gearing up for 3 solid weeks of reporting, to bring you more than you ever thought you could know about the World Championship events this year!
This blog post introduces the final championship on the schedule ~ the World Orienteering Championships, or WOC (pronounced 'walk'). WOC is being hosted by Lausanne, Switerland this year, and will run from July 14-21. This competition is open to athletes of any age, but countries can only send 6 men and 6 women, so you have to be able to qualify! This year, 44 countries from all inhabited continents are attending WOC.
WOC includes a sprint, middle, and long event, as well as a relay. The sprint, middle, and long events all have a qualifier and a final. Each country can enter up to 3 runners in each qualifier. The only exception is that the current world champion is guaranteed a qualification spot in their discipline, so that country has 4 entries. There is an 'A', 'B', and 'C' qualification race, with a runner from each country in each qualifier. The top 15 runners from each qualifier go on to the final! There is only one relay, and all team mates must be of the same nationality!
Along with our Team Canada athletes, here is a quick rundown of the runners to watch! Only 1 non-European has ever medalled at WOC (Hanny Allston of Australia), so not surprisingly it's all Europeans on the list! On the women's side, Simone Niggli has dominated the season so far and will likely add to her 17 WOC gold medals (and a handful of silver and bronze ones too) this year. The runners who have a chance to get in her way are Tatyana Riabkina of Russia, Minna Kauppi of Finland, and Helena Jansson of Sweden. As well as cheering for Louise Oram, also look out for Samantha Saeger and Alison Crocker of Team USA, who have both done well in the past.
For the men, things are up in the air as favourites Danial Hubmann of Switzerland and Thierry Gueorgiou of France are both injured. Olav Lundanes of Norway has had a great season so far, so may have a chance, and the Swiss team have also been looking very strong this year. Jerker Lysell of Sweden, known as fast, fast sprinter, will likely be back to prove himself, after he skipped a control at last years WOC! Kiril Nikolov of Bulgaria achieved a silver medal in the long distance at the European Championships this year, so may throw a spanner in the works too! It's going to be fun to watch!
The first WUOC race is on Tuesday, so tune in Monday for information on who's running for Canada, terrain information, who to watch, where to watch, and more!