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With the ONZ Championships done and dusted for another year, April has been another relatively quiet month at home, the main feature being the South Island Championships hosted by Dunedin. This has been followed by both North island and South Island Secondary Schools Championships where some of the JWOC team, and those still contending for the remaining places have been competing. Overseas things have been winding up towards the European Championships and first round of the World Cup at the beginning of May, with several Kiwis in action at Tio Mila in Sweden, including Tim Robertson featuring in the Kovee team from Finland which finished third.
Following the ONZ Championships the following have been selected for the World University orienteering Championships which will be held in Kuortane, Finland from 17-21 July. WUOC is probably the highest standard World event after WOc and the World Cup and consists of sprint, middle and long distances as well as forest and sprint relays.
Women: Marina Comeskey, Tegan Knightbridge, Heidi Stolberger
Men: Jonty Oram, Tim Robertson, Kieran Woods
South Island Championships
The 2018 South Island Championships were hosted by Dunedin OC over the weekend preceding Anzac Day, based entirely within the city limits. One large map at 1:4000 scale was divided into two for an “long” sprint race, centred on the Botanical Gardens on Saturday, followed by a largely downhill “long” middle distance for the start of which competitors were ferried to the top of Signal Hill.
Although the fields were relatively small there was some close competition, particularly at the top of M21E.
M21E: 1. Alistair Richardson (DN) 25:18, 2. Chris Forne (PP) 25:41, 3. Tim Farrant (PP) 27:23.
W21E: 1. Marisol Hunter (PP) 34:23, 2. Cara-Lisa Schloots (CM) 35:20, 3. Sara Prince (PP) 35:21.
M20: 1. Isaac Egan (PP) 30:54, 2. Patrick Hayes (AK) 33:37, 3. Tim Sutton (SD) 46:20.
W20: 1. Jessica Sewell (NW) 31:36, 2. Katie Cory-Wright (PP) 32:08, 3. Bella Fraser (DN) 38:32.
M21E: 1. Chris Forne 46:10, 2. Tommy Hayes (AK) 47:19, 3. Tom Spencer (DN) 49:35.
W21E: 1. Marisol Hunter 39:52, 2. Sara Prince 43:41, 3. Tegan Knightbridge (NW) 44:16.
M20: 1. Isaac Egan 35:15, 2. Cameron Metherell 39:13, 3. Patrick Hayes 43:57.
W20: 1. Katie Cory-Wright 32:23, 2. Jessica Sewell 38:58, 3. Bella Fraser 47:19.
North Island and South island Secondary Schools Championships
The South Island SS Championships were held in the week after the SI Champs in the impressive settings of Wanaka and Queenstown. In the Senior grades there were double wins in the long and sprint distances by Isaac Egan (St Andrews College) and Bella Fraser (Mount Aspiring College).
The North Island equivalent drew a total of over 400 students to the Horowhenua for a sprint at Kapiti College, long distance at Hydrabad-Prickly Sands and relay at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Senior Boys: 1. Alex de Beer (Orewa) 13:00, 2. Liam Thompson (Mt. Albert) 13:20, 3. Felix Silver (Tawa) 13:28.
Senior Girls: 1. Jenna Tidswell (Havelock North) 12:25, 2. Jessica Sewell (Diocesan) 12:39, 3. India James (Diocesan) 12:58.
Senior Boys: 1. Liam Thompson 44:25, 2. Alex de Beer 45:10, 3. Bayley Stephens-Ellison (Napier) 47:27.
Senior Girls: 1. Jenna Tidswell 50:34, 2. Jessica Sewell 51:07, 3. Aleisha Neary (Pukekohe) 53:14.
WOC New Sprint Format
In the February HP News I included a short article on the new sprint format that will come into being at WOC2020 in Denmark and will also be used in the final round of the 2018 World Cup. Coincidentally, the following article appeared on the IOF website in mid-April.
“It’s less than 6 months left before the first official race of the new 3rd Sprint format. The race is scheduled for 4th October 2018 at the IOF Orienteering World Cup Final in Prague, Czech Republic.
The 3rd Sprint format consists of a qualification race followed by 3 elimination rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals and final). This sprint race format will be added to the existing individual sprint and mixed sprint relay races in the World Orienteering Championships programme starting 2020. This February, one of the test races took place in Berga, Spain during MOC Camp, organised by Park World Tour Italy.
We asked Elena Roos and Jonas Leandersson to share their experience after test race. In the end of this article you will find insights from Daniel Leibundgut, IOF World Orienteering Championships Project Manager/Senior Event Adviser.
The knock-out sprint is the one and only head-to-head individual race in the foot orienteering. What are your general impressions about this sprint format after the test race? What did you like or dislike about this format?
Elena Roos: I really like it! We tested it at MOC Camp and last year in Switzerland. I like this type of head-to-head competitions, for example, like a first leg at relays… And not everyone likes it! I think that in this type of competition, some runners can achieve better results than they would achieve in an individual race, because they could benefit (technically and physically) from having better runners in the same heat. And sometimes, better individual runners could lose because they have to do the whole work during the race but get beaten in the end. That’s maybe a negative part of this format. On the other hand, it is good way to open up the competition and give more athletes a chance to win.
Jonas Leandersson: It is an interesting format, and I think it is a good choice for the new discipline in Sprint WOC as it already has been tested before (knock-out in NORT). Head-to-head race is a special format, especially in sprint, and it brings some new challenges. You need to think more about your position and to be able to finish top 2 (or 3). I like it, but it is really important to make it as fair as possible.
Knock-out sprint format consists of the qualification round, quarterfinals, semifinals and final. It means 4 different races on the same day. Is it too much for a single racing day? What challenges might be ahead for the athletes?
ER: At the MOC Camp it went well for me. The rounds were quite short, only 6-8 minutes. So I think we are trained enough to perform well in a normal qualification sprint of ca 13min and then 3 times 8 minutes. But for sure, a new challenge will be to optimize the recovery between the rounds.
JL: With shorter winning times of 6-8 minutes I think it is still OK. But the challenge is the time between all races. You really need to plan your energy-intake (food), rest/travelling, warm up and so on.
Does this race format require the same preparation level as the “normal” sprint race? Or do athletes need to take a different approach?
ER: Yes, I think so! Just as the sprint relay requires the same preparation as the individual sprint, also this knockout sprint requires good preparation. In the end, you want to know the race terrain as well as possible. But in this competition, due to the contact with the opponents, tactical preparation is also important and decisive!
JL: I think it is a real challenge to mentally reload for the next race. It is a long day and you need to keep your focus through all races. During normal sprint days, with qualification and final the same day, it is also a key to reload for the final, but the knock-out format brings this to an even higher level.
Three types of forking are up for consideration: no forking, “course choice model” and butterfly/phi-loop type. What cons and pros of each method do you see?
ER: At MOC camp we used all three methods: phi-loop at the quarterfinal, “self-choice” at the semifinal and “no forking” in the final.
Phi-loop is the most common forking type. Pro – everyone runs the same course. Cons – depending on who you run with in the phi-loop can decide the qualification to the next round. This is a bit unfair.
“Self-choice” disadvantage – not everyone runs the same course. If you are alone and the other 5 runners are together on the same course, it is also unfair. Pro – everyone chooses the own course, so it depends only on you if you take the shortest forking. For me it was fun and I liked it!
In the “no forking” race, everyone runs the same course with the same rivals. It’s fair. Cons – too much running behind the fastest and the winners are decided on the finish sprint. Seems like not orienteering, just a running competition!
Actually, at MOC Camp all three methods were really cool. Even “no forking”, although I was skeptical about it. But a really good terrain with good route choices is needed to split the group in a “no forking” race. I think that the “phi-loops” is the easiest to understand and the most fair method both for athletes and spectators!
Personally, I would like to change the forking system from quarters, to semis and final, like it was done at MOC Camp. For example, “phi-loops” at quarters, “self-choice” at semis and “no forking” at the final.
JL: I think “no forking” is the fairest one and the best choice for this discipline. My experience from a good “no-forking” course is that the runners try to do even more things than during a forked one, because they think they need “to do something” just because there is no forking. With two or three options in route choices for each leg, interesting things could happen for sure during the race. It also feels most fair for all runners when everybody has to run the exact same course.
The “self-choice” model has nothing to bring in to the sport of orienteering in my opinion. It is difficult for the audience to follow and I think (after testing it at MOC) it is more about luck than a qualified decision if you took the right one. Of course, the runners need to practice this more to learn how to optimize our decision skills, but I don’t like the feeling of “oh, I was lucky with my decision this time”. I think I got that feeling because the three different options during MOC were like three different courses instead of three different route choices. It takes longer time to make a comparison between the three options and therefore it felt afterwards like it was more down to luck than a qualified decision.
I think the “phi-loops” method can work sometimes, but it is not as fair as a “no-forking” course. This method also has a “luck” factor, i.e. which runners have the same loop. If one group has faster runners, someone can just follow and advance to the semifinal just by following behind. There can also be a difference between the runners with the first route choice going in to the phi-loop. Depending on which loop you have first you can be influenced differently for the route choice. This can be a bit unfair if one loop has the same beginning of a route choice as another loop. Then some runners need to make the decision when all runners are together and some not depending on if you have it as the first or second loop. Just some thoughts after running with phi-loop in the quarterfinal at MOC camp.
The first official race will be held in the beginning of the October at the World Cup final in Prague, Czech Republic. In your opinion, what things need to be improved or changed before that race?
ER: We definitively need to choose which type of forking to use and then make good courses where this type of forking suits the terrain, because not every type of forking system is good with every type of terrain.
JL: The elimination rules should be improved. In my opinion, 2 “lucky loser” spots would be more fair. 5 heats in quarterfinals, 2 fastest from each heat, plus 2 “lucky losers”, all in all 12 runners promoted to 2 semifinals. Semifinals with 2 heats instead of 3, with the 2 best promoted to the final from each heat, plus 2 “lucky losers”.
I prefer “no-forking” as a standard in quarterfinals, semifinals and final. Organisers should focus on good courses with 2-3 route choices instead of making forking. I think this would be most fair for all runners and would bring more action to the races when runners choose different routes just because they think they need to do something to be in the top 2.”
As you will appreciate from the comments above one of the main decisions still to be made regards the kind, if any, of forking that will be used in the new format. Most will be familiar with butterfly or phi-loops, the self-choice option involves, for example, all competitors having common controls except for say numbers 3 and 4. Before the start each competitor is shown a partial map with the three options and has 20 seconds to choose which one they will run. If you want to see the courses used at the MOC Camp are on the IOF website at http://orienteering.org/3rd-sprint-format-testing/ along with further comments from the IOF Project manager for WOC.
As was intimated in February it is planned that trials for Sprint WOC2020 will be held around the Waitangi Day holiday and Orienteering Taranaki have expressed interest in hosting this. As well as including the new sprint format, if the present trend that we have seen at WOC continues, trial races are likely to have a greater emphasis on speed than on technical sprint orienteering.
It would be nice, however, if we can start the build-up to Sprint WOC, and familiarisation of what it will entail, in 2019. Thus a call for expressions of interest in a January/February 2019 sprint series will go out shortly.
Bringing back Lizzie
In good news in general for New Zealand Orienteering, just over 6 months after undergoing open-heart surgery, Lizzie Ingham returned to competition on the weekend after the ONZ Champs running in sprint and middle distance races at the Norwegian team trials for the European championships. Lizzie has also posted about her operation, recovery and thoughts about it all on both her Facebook page and her blog at http://lizzieingham.blogspot.co.nz/
The first of the major European relays of the year was held over this last weekend – TioMila being held just 40 km from Stockholm on technical, rocky terrain. Four Kiwis who will no doubt feature at WOC in August were in action. The most significant result was Tim Robertson running in the Kovee team that finished 3rd in the overnight 10 person mens race. Tim ran leg 7 in the team that was brought home into 3rd place by Daniel Hubmann on the anchor leg. This will be the highest placing team ever to contain a Kiwi!
In the Saturday afternoon 5-person womens relay Kate Morrison, Laura Roberston and Lizzie Ingham were in the field. Kate ran the opening leg for the OK Linne 2 team, Laura leg 3 for Finnish team Rajamaen Rykmentti, while Lizzie continued her recovery on the anchor leg for Halden OK 2.
In the immediate future we have the second JWOC Trials next weekend in Canterbury in association with the Ultra-Long being planned by Nick Hann. On Sunday evening Tim and Laura Robertson, along with Tommy Hayes, will be lining up in the first race of the European Championships (World Cup Round 1) in Switzerland.
Of course we also look forward to the Queen’s Birthday JAFFA event which will include the schools trials for the Southern Cross Challenge, the final round of the 2018 SuperSeries, the Auckland Championships for 2018, and the home leg of the New Zealand Pinestars – Australian Bushrangers Test Match. The team for this should be announced shortly and should consist of 4 men and 6 women in the elite grades, with 6 men and 4 women in M20 and W20 respectively. Entries close at midnight on 11 May.