My apologies that this High Performance news is a few days late. Only returning from Sweden on the 30th August and getting back into work, it has taken me a little time to get my thoughts in order. Having already reported on most of the action at WOC what follows is possibly more a series of reflections. There is also a personal view of the IOF General Assembly held in Stromstad at which I spent a pleasant 8.5 hours as the NZL representative – recommended to all!
I think it’s fair to say that WOC in Sweden was always going to be a tough one. Even for the likes of Kate and Ross Morrison who have lived in Scandinavia for several years to be really competitive on the home terrain of, let’s face it – so close to the border, both Swedes and Norwegians was a big ask. In the end team NZL had a mixed bag of results but overall can be satisfied to have maintained their positions and places in Group 2 for both men and women, and, at least by my calculations, earned places at next year’s World Games. So what were the highs and lows?
The Highs – quite a few
(1) People – this was probably the largest team that NZL has ever sent to WOC, 10 athletes and a manager with some athletes only sprinting, some only doing forest events, and some both. Potentially a really hard combination to manage, but in fact a real great team spirit with everyone pitching in, supporting and helping. Special mentions to Magnus and Lisa Bengtsson for their crucial support in the training week before WOC, and to Rassmus Andersson for helping during WOC in a myriad of ways, in particular always being in the run-throughs and at the finish.
(2) Accommodation – for once we got it right! The Bengtsson family summer houses in Bovvalstrand for the first week were an ideal place to relax and tune up before WOC started, while the, albeit pirate-themed, Dafto Resort provided excellent official accommodation. Never a dull moment with NZl surrounded by the Americans (seriously good fun), the Japanese (who insisted on using our parking spaces) and the Danes (who when the Japanese weren’t parked in them, seemed to like sunbathing in out parking spaces)! Self-catering was a real bonus with Toby Scott organising a cooking roster that worked well throughout.
(3) The Sprint – 3 qualifiers for the final, OK one less than last year but more than offset by Tim Robertson’s wonderful 13th place, the highest ever by a NZL man at WOC. Tim felt that with a slightly more technical course he might have had an even better result. It certainly seems that at WOC the need for spectator appeal and, possibly simply the nature of the venues, means that sprint orienteering has an increased emphasis on raw speed and slightly less and rapid and accurate navigational decision making. Tim, as has Lizzie Ingham previously, felt this to be the case both in Scotland last year and in Stromstad in 2016. Both Laura Robertson and Imogene Scott, in their second WOC sprint final, improved on 2015.
For the record.
Men: 1.Jerker Lysell (SWE) 14:28.6, 2. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 14:31.4, 3. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 14:37.2, 4. Kristian Jones (GBR) 14:47.6, 5. Jonas Leandersson (SWE) 14:50.7, 6. Vojtech Kral (CZE) 14:52.6, 13. Tim Robertson (NZL) 15:15.4
Women: 1.Maja Alm (DEN) 14:27.9, 2. Judith Wyder (SUI) 14:53.6, 3. Anastasia Denisova (BLR) 15:10.6, 4. Galina Vinogradova (RUS) 15:41.2, 5. Rahel Friederich (SUI) 15:53.0, 6. Elena Roos (SUI) 15:54.1, 29. Laura Robertson (NZL) 17:30.3, 38. Imogene Scott (NZL) 18:40.2.
(4) The women in the Middle – a highly technical middle distance saw both Lizzie Ingham and Kate Morrison produce good results. Lizzie might have initially felt a little disappointed to be out of the top 20, but in fact she was closer to the winning time than in either of 2014 or 2015 where she did make the top 20. Kate’s solid run was a good back-up in her first appearance since 2013 in Finland.
Again, for the record.
Men: 1. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 37:09, 2. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 37:23, 3. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 37:32, 4. Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA) 37:44, 5. Lucas Basset (FRA) 37:51, 6. Magne Daehli (NOR) 38:21, 48. Tim Robertson (NZL) 46:26, 52. Toby Scott (NZL) 47:12.
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 33:57, 2. Heidi Bagstevold (NOR) 34:32, 3. Natalia Gemperle (RUS) 34:35, 4. Emily Kemp (CAN) 34:50, 5. Maja Alm (DEN) 35;24, 6. Mariki teini (FIN) 35:46, 24. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 38:36, 43. Kate Morrison (NZL) 44:13.
(5) Chris and Lizzie in the Long – if you haven’t seen the maps look at http://live.woc2016.se/blog/2016/08/25/maps-3/ , the long distance was a real test of strength, stamina and navigation, a short 100 m leg to number 1, then a mammoth 3.6 k leg to number 2. 31st (Lizzie) and 40th (Chris) may not sound like earth-shattering places but just surviving this one was a win, especially in the less than ideal conditions of continual rain.
Men: 1. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 1:33;27, 2. Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA) 1:35:13, 3. Martin Hubmann (SUI) 1:35:32, 4. Lucas Bassat (FRA) 1:39:16, 5. Carl Godager Kaas (NOR) 1:39:19, 6. Magne Naehli (NOR) 1:39:33, 40. Chris Forne (NZL) 2:01:24, 52. Gene Beveridge (NZL) 2:13:02
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 1:26:24, 2. Natalia Gemperle (RUS) 1:26:50, 3. Anne Margarthe Hausken Nordberg 1:28:25, 4. Judith Wyder (SUI) 1:28: 43, 5. Saila Kinni (FIN) 1:34:14, 6. Anastasia Denisova (BLR) 1:34:22, 31. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 1:48:45, 50. Imogene Scott (NZL) 2:06:43
(6) The men in the Relay – just as in Scotland in 2015 the men, this time Tim, Gene and Chris, pulled off a great result in the relay (18th). Tim hung in well to finish leg 1 in 15th place just over 4 minutes down, the second leg saw Gene slip to 18th, but the third leg, Chris running neck-and-neck with Australia all the way held all our attention, with Chris beating the Leon Russell Keely in a sprint finish, sadly missed completely by the commentator!
Men: 1. Norway 1:47:44, 2. Switzerland 1:49:38, 3. Sweden 1:52:23, 4. Great Britain 1:53:29, 5. Finland 1:53:44, 6. France 1:56:24, 18. New Zealand 2:06:46.
Women: 1. Russia 1:48:21, 2. Denmark 1:48:53, 3. Finland 1:49:41, 4. Switzerland 1:50:56, 5. Sweden 1:51:13, 6. Norway 1:53:42, 21. New Zealand 2:20:13.
The lows – not so many
(1) The sprint relay and the women’s relay – it is easy to speculate that reasonably late changes in the running order in both the sprint relay and the women’s relay, made with the best of intentions, backfired. In the high-pressure atmosphere around the arena and the mass start Jula McMillan had a nightmare of a first leg in the sprint relay, in the forest relay Laura, having been careful to protect her ITB in the lead up, was perhaps a little underdone for the first leg. To be fair we will never know and no blame on either, rather put it down to bad managerial decisions – I need to learn to trust my instincts a bit more.
Sprint Relay results.
Denmark 52:35, 2. Switzerland 52:51, 3. Sweden 53:36, 4. Great Britain 54:15, 5. Norway 54:36, 6. Czech republic 54:42, 23. New Zealand 1:03:17.
(2) Map printing – even WOC can get it wrong. After the middle distance it was apparent that ink was coming off the maps, so the decision was made to have two voluntary map changes in the long distance – “map getting a bit iffy? Treat yourself to a new one!” In the rain of the long distance several runners (including Thierry Gueorgiou) found themselves with blank patches on their maps which, notwithstanding the map-change opportunities, caused problems. As a result all the relay maps were reprinted at a different printer on the rest day between long and relay – you would have thought this potential problem would have been discovered months in advance!
(3) Officials and cell phones/radios – no cell phones etc. in quarantine? Tell that to the officials who were avidly following proceedings on their phones, and talking about what was going on, as they ushered runners through the start! Worse still at least one bus driver taking athletes from quarantine to pre-start was listening to results on the radio – even though I was several kilometres from the arena I knew who had won the men’s middle distance long before Lizzie started in the women’s race!
So, overall a satisfactory WOC2016, if not perhaps as good as we might have hoped. At the end of it, my calculations are that we start in Group 2 in reasonably comfortable positions, and of course with the added possibility, should anyone win titles at Oceania at Easter 2017, of additional runners for Estonia 2017.
The final words go to Gene (from his blog) complete with advertising:
“Living sustainably in New Zealand again after a challenging 6 weeks of training and racing in Europe. I experienced some wonderful terrain and made many new friends. A brief summary in this blog post.
Thanks to the Hökstigen 11 crew, Lizzie Ingham and my Halden house mates, and the whole NZ WOC team especially Malcolm Ingham and Rassmus Andersson for helping us prepare for race day without any stress. Also thanks to Icebug New Zealand for providing the perfect shoe for every offroad session and Grassy Knoll Outdoor for the funding! It means the world to me!”
and from Lizzie:
“This WOC didn’t see my best performances or placings, but for me, they were some of my most meaningful and enjoyable.
It’s been a bumpy ride this year, and 3 months ago I couldn’t have said if I’d be up to racing WOC. I have a heck of a lot of awesome people to thank for getting me back up and having fun in the forest; for listening, sharing, supporting, putting up with me, and dishing out some tough love when I’ve most needed it. Far out I’m lucky to know you all! So a massive and heart felt thank you to all for the amazing support! I want you to know just how grateful and amazed I am by it, and how much I value it.
WOC Stromstad may be over, but I’m happy to say that Halden will remain home for the next while. Excited (and a little nervous) for what the next chapters hold!”
The IOF General Assembly
The IOF General Assembly is where decisions on all aspects of orienteering (foot, ski, MTB and trail) are discussed and voted on. Held every two years, as such it is one of the few opportunities where the smaller nations can speak their mind and seek to influence IOF decisions. Held this year on the rest day between the WOC long distance and relay I attended as the NZL representative.
The day starts with the usual reading of the minutes from the previous GA, discussion of the finances and budget etc. This last is not without interest as one of the issues which is voted on as part of the budget are the various national affiliation fees. These are in various bands based on a complex formula which includes orienteering status, activity, and I believe national GDP. The reason the top European nations hold such sway in IOF is more understandable when you realise that whereas NZL pays about 1500 Euros in affiliation, the likes of Sweden, Switzerland and Norway pay more than 10 times this amount!
After admitting and expelling (not paying fees, no orienteering development etc.) various nations to/from IOF the business moves to the various proposals to be voted on. This requires three tellers to count votes, of which I was asked to be one. Voting is based on a show of green (yes), red (no) or white (abstain) cards, and for some motions requires only a majority of votes, but for those which relate to the IOF statutes requires a three-quarters majority.
The main proposals of interest to NZL related to the restructuring of the orienteering programme and the Swedish proposal to increase the winning time for the women’s long distance event at WOC and in World Cup races. The first of these was highly controversial – IOF are proposing that there are 4 main competition periods – World Cup Round 1 in May/June, World Cup Round 2 in June/July, WOC in July/August and World Cup Round 3 in September/October. This in itself does not sound bad, except that IOF have also been negotiating a consortium between themselves, O-Ringen and the organizers of the Swiss autumn events which will see, from 2018, the the second round of the World Cup take place at O-Ringen each year, and the third round always be organized by the Swiss 9although not necessarily in Switzerland). Only the first round, organized by IOF itself will effectively move around the world. The rationale for this is to provide much more uniform standards for the main events including live TV for the World Cup rounds as well as for WOC. (As well as a sponsorship deal with Nokian Tyres, 2016 was the first year IOF have actually sold the TV rights to WOC rather than paying for coverage.) The clear aim, as was stated many times, is to get orienteering in a position to try and be admitted to the Olympics by as early as 2024. However, the likely close proximity of O-Ringen to WOC was not popular with coaches and it was agreed (I think) that there needs to be some flexibility in this proposal. NZL (and Australia) voiced the concern that it might make it difficult for a future World Cup round to come our way. Nonetheless, this restructuring was carried.
With no firm opinion expressed by ONZ, the night before the GA the NZL team held a long discussion on which way we should vote on the women’s winning time. Arguments were presented both against lengthening it (would this put some women off running long distance) and for lengthening (there may be some women who would be more attracted by a longer race). The team decision was to vote in favour but to advocate both a lead-in time of a few years and a simultaneous lengthening of the JWOC women’s long distance time. Much to my surprise, all this discussion was pointless, although the motion was put by Sweden, most other countries, including Norway and Denmark, voted conclusively against, so no change!
So, after a few more minor motions, we moved to the election of officials. This requires a secret ballot and the three tellers to sit in a line and count the votes! There are also rules that say that at least two IOF Council members must be from outside Europe, and there must be at least 2 of each sex. This makes for rather a long-drawn out process.
An interesting day which certainly gave an insight into the workings of IOF (and a free lunch) – highly recommended from the president of ONZ…
Pinestars for Australia
Congratulations to the following who will make up the NZ Pinestars to compete against the Australian Bushrangers at the Australian Championship Carnival in Queensland from 24 September to 2 October 2016.
Senior Men: (Middle and Long races)
Tane Cambridge – Peninsula & Plains, Canterbury (M, L)
Nick Hann – Peninsula & Plains, Canterbury (M, L)
Carsten Jorgensen – Peninsula & Plains, Canterbury (M, L)
Matt Ogden – North West, Auckland (M, L)
Senior Women: (Middle and Long races)
Amelia Horne – Red Kiwis, Manawatu (M, L)
Sarah O’Sullivan – Wellington, Wellington (M, L)
Imogene Scott – Auckland, Auckland (M, L)
Junior Men (Sprint, Middle and Long races)
Devon Beckman – Hawkes Bay, Hawkes Bay (M, L)
Ed Cory-Wright – Peninsula & Plains, Canterbury (S, M, L)
Matt Goodall – Counties Manukau, Auckland (M, L)
Max Griffiths – North West, Auckland (S, L)
Tommy Hayes – Auckland, Auckland (M, L)
Callum Hill – North West, Northland (S, L)
Andre Popovici – Auckland, Auckland (S, M)
David Rawnsley – Hawkes Bay, Hawkes Bay (S)
Calum Sutherland – Taranaki, Taranaki (S, M)
Junior Women (Sprint, Middle and Long races)
Ellenna Cauldwell – Counties Manukau, Auckland (S, M, L)
Katie Cory-Wright – Peninsula & Plains, Canterbury (S, M, L)
Meghan Drew – Auckland, Auckland (M, L)
Amelia Horne – Red Kiwis, Manawatu (S)
Tegan Knightbridge – North West, Auckland (S, M, L)
Carolyne Nel – Hawkes Bay, Hawkes Bay (S, M, L)
Heidi Stolberger – North West, Auckland (S, M, L)
Middle Earth School’s Test Match
It is now more or less confirmed that there will be a NZL-AUS School’s Test Match run in association with the Middle Earth events in Rotorua after Easter 2017. These will consist of an individual race and a sprint relay. It is hoped that regional schools teams will also participate in the sprint relay. Selection announcements should be forthcoming in due course.