It has been a fantastic month seeing kiwi orienteers competing on the world stage, and congrats to all of the athletes that competed at WOC, JWOC, and WMTBOC. In the ultra competitive environment of world champs racing, our athletes will have been tested in ways just not possible in our national competitions which has been their staple the last 2 years. So it is incredibly encouraging seeing a lot of promising talent coming through these competitions, and bodes well for the future. Seeing Tim Robertson’s performances in the knockout sprint was probably one of the most impressive sights I have seen in our sport. How Tim managed to keep his composure in the final with the other athletes breathing down his neck I have no idea. It was a lesson in focus and mental toughness that absolutely is world class. So big congrats to Tim for placing 4th in that event, and then winning his first major gold medal at the World Games sprint in Birmingham USA a couple of weeks later – just fantastic.
One of the major disappointments on the international scene was the cancellation of JWOC events because of fire risk. This was a massive blow, especially after missing the previous 2 years of JWOC due to Covid, and we really feel for all of the athletes and other people affected by this. Unfortunately this does seem to be an emerging risk driven by the increasing impact of extreme weather caused by climate change. It is something which the IOF will need to adapt to in terms of timing and location of major events, and which we will be staying close to.
Closer to home there has been no shortage of events, and it has been great to see a full calendar with a huge range of orienteering types for people to choose from in different parts of the country. Special mention to OBOP for a successful Great Forest Rogaine (the biggest orienteering event in the country), and CMOC for hosting the NZ Secondary Schools Champs. One of the things I have been reminded of this past month is the importance of collaboration in the sport, and it has been heartening to see people from different clubs putting themselves forward to assist with major events where additional resource and support was required. The sport is better because of this goodwill and collaboration, and when the focus is on providing a great experience for competitors. Certainly it is one of the features of the sport I really value – good, smart people willing to help and do what is necessary to make an event good. So this month I want to give a shout out to all of you who help make this sport great, and who bring the spirit of collaboration to what we do.
That’s it for me this month, Happy running!
Peter Swanson | ONZ Board Chair