Well, if I thought April was difficult to find anything to write about, it was nothing on May! However, as (touch wood) the drop to Level 1 appears just over the horizon there is now at least the opportunity for some forward planning for what remains of the 2020 orienteering season. Read on.
The updates from the IOF continue. As many will have seen the decision to cancel Sprint WOC 2020 in Denmark was taken well in advance of the previously announced deadline of 1 July. Both continuing (and likely to continue) travel restrictions and the economic impact on sponsorship appear to have been the main reasons for this. There was a reported effort to see if a sprint WOC could be organized in association with forest WOC 2021 in Czech Republic but this also came to naught. As a result it will now be 2022 before the first sprint WOC takes place. This will be in Denmark with the scheduled 2022 sprint WOC in Edinburgh now pushed back to 2024.
Despite the early demise of WOC for 2020, there is, as yet, no decision on JWOC 2020. IOF have recently announced “tentative” dates of 10-16 October in Turkey, again with a final decision to be made by 1 July. For any still contemplating JWOC should it go ahead here is a link to how Turkey has reacted to the pandemic: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52831017 .
Another impact of the pandemic on the activity of IOF is that the 2020 General Assembly will be held virtually. This gives NZL a chance to actually attend – something that rarely occurs when the GA is held in Europe as a face to face all day meeting. Pete Swanson, Christo Peters and Malcolm Ingham have been given the honour of sitting up all night on 10 July.
As we hopefully move towards a COVID-free New Zealand it has been possible to start thinking about rescheduling events. Principal of these is the 2020 ONZ Championships. At this stage it looks likely that these will take place at Labour Weekend, replacing the originally scheduled South Island Championships. How the events of sprint, middle, long and relay will be organized around a 3-day weekend is yet to be determined but there are some encouraging signs. Not these of these is that logging that was threatening the middle distance map has now ceased and the loggers have moved elsewhere, leaving a lovely intact forest for competitors on which most of the tapes carefully put out in early March are still present.
Also part of the re-scheduling is a tentative rebuilding of the national O-League. Confirmation and final details (including how many events to count) will await until a move to level 1 is confirmed but, at present, the prospective series is as follows.
Jan (over): Knock-out Sprint Taranaki
Sept. 5-6: Ultralong (Hogsback) & Castle Hill Village PAPO
Oct. 24-26: ONZ Champs (Sprint, Middle, Long, Relay) Wellington
Nov. 7-8: Auckland Champs (Sprint, Middle, Long) Counties
Nov. 28-29: Wellington Champs (Middle, Long) Wellington/RK
Hopefully, an opening of the border with Australia will allow Oceania to go ahead in January and this will provide a suitable lead-in. Oceania itself, of course, will give the opportunity for the elite winners to not only gain direct personal places at WOC in Czech Republic in middle and long, but also for the sprint winners to get these for Denmark in 2022.
As NZL has moved from Level 4 to 3 to 2 some orienteering activities have started to resurface. Auckland have had at least 14 MapRun training events available on the web, while OHV had a Queens Birthday Free-day which used similar events to make up a three-day event. Wellington have had several courses on local maps with tapes marking control sites. The Wellington O-gang have even ventured as far as Waitarere for a training day. Matt Ogden also seems to have run his own training camp over Queen’s Birthday weekend taking in a variety of Canterbury maps.
On the other side of the world, judging by Facebook postings, Tim Robertson, in Sweden, has clearly been keeping up the training in forest, despite the lack of actual events. However, elsewhere in Sweden it has been reported that women’s world champion Tove Alexandersson believes she has had COVID-19. In a press release Tove reported that, although she was never tested, she was unable to train for 2 months with a persistent fever being the main symptom.