Jenni Adams in the Piopio forest, Waitango 2007. Credit: Jamie Stewart
Race Start NZ Champs 2015 Middle – The Rockery Onewhero. Credit: Karen Woods
Auckland Orienteering Series 2015 – Woodhill. Credit: Karen Woods
  
Selfs Farm Summer Orienteering
WOC – Promotion and relegation – where we start in 2016
By Malcolm Ingham - Sun 16 Aug 2015 5:26pm
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Although we naturally tend to look at individual results in the WOC races, just as important are the overall standing of the men’s and women’s teams as these dictate how many runners we will be allowed in the Middle and Long distance races at the next WOC. Nations are divided into 3 groups. The 8 nations in Group 1 (positions 1-8) are entitled to 3 runners in each race, the 14 in Group 2 (positions 9-22) get 2 runners in each, while the remainder, in group 3, have only 1 entrant in each of the Middle and Long. Clearly, where we sit in this ranking has important implications for the opportunity for our athletes to even compete at WOC. At the start of WOC2015 NZL men were in Group 3 and the women were in Group 2. Fortunately, Matt Ogden and Lizze Ingham’s Oceania Middle distance titles won in January allowed them as extra starters in the middle distance at WOC2015.

Points are gained according to finishing position in not only the middle and long distance races, but also in the relay. At the start of WOC 2015 nations in Group 1 had the points total acquired by their top 2 runners and relay team in 2014, nations in Group 2 and 3 had the points from their top finisher in the middle and long in 2014 as well as their relay points. To these are then added the points gained in the 2015 relay and those gained by the best 3 runners for Group 1 nations, 2 runners for Group 2 nations, and the single runner for Group 3 nations, in each of the 2015 middle and long distance races. At the end of WOC the bottom team in Group 1 is relegated and replaced by the top team in Group 2, while there is a 2 down-2 up relegation/promotion between Groups 2 and 3.

Now that the dust has settled and there has been time to do the calculations, here are the team standing at the end of WOC2015. First the Men.

Men 2014 Middle Long Relay Total
1 SUI 500 206 225 240 1171
2 FRA 386 194 243 130 953
3 NOR 422 168 180 160 930
4 SWE 450 164 112 96 822
5 CZE 283 146 68 106 603
6 FIN 261 126 126 72 585
7 UKR 221 84 114 80 499
8 RUS 253 78 37 56 424 Relegated
9 GBR 186 92 87 114 479 Promoted
10 EST 178 82 77 100 437
11 AUT 190 74 74 84 422
12 DEN 159 55 73 64 351
13 LTU 126 67 56 92 341
14 LAT 114 73 62 76 325
15 BUL 127 40 40 88 295
16 POL 135 34 71 48 288
17 HUN 88 44 35 68 235
18 GER 128 22 21 44 215
19 ITA 126 28 25 32 211
20 BLR 114 13 27 36 190
21 AUS 110 31 20 24 185 Relegated
22 IRL 37 2 47 28 114 Relegated
23 ESP 98 23 3 52 176 Promoted
24 NZL 44 35 15 60 154 Promoted
25 BEL 61 20 17 40 138
26 SVK 75 20 95
27 POR 41 14 6 16 77
28 CRO 29 16 13 58
29 ROU 49 6 55
30 JPN 15 8 8 31
31 USA 12 2 12 26
32 CAN 6 12 4 22
33 SLO 13 13
34 TUR 5 5
35 ISR 2 1 3
36 MDA 1 1
37 BRA 0 0
38 CHN 0 0
39 KAZ 0 0

 

As can be seen NZL has succeeded in being promoted from Group 3 to Group 2 (while the Australians went down!). This will give us 2 starters in both the middle and long distance races at WOC2016 in Sweden. While Matt’s performances in the middle and long were obviously crucial, the real game-breaker was the 16th place in the relay. This gave us 20 more points than Belgium who were, otherwise, the most likely candidates for promotion. The relay result was even more creditable when you consider that Gene Beveridge was drafted in only at the last minute after Tim Robertson’s injury in the middle distance, and both Gene and Shamus Morrison were running in their first WOC relay.

Now the women:

Women 2014 Middle Long Relay Total
1 SWE 490 255 147 130 1022
2 DEN 400 149 146 240 935
3 SUI 498 128 143 106 875
4 NOR 365 130 204 160 859
5 FIN 310 186 91 114 701
6 RUS 315 129 194 638
7 CZE 246 117 110 100 573
8 LAT 191 94 83 96 464 Relegated
9 GBR 191 109 92 88 480 Promoted
10 FRA 154 60 72 92 378
11 UKR 159 87 68 60 374
12 LTU 152 70 54 76 352
13 AUS 154 47 65 52 318
14 NZL 117 63 52 68 300
15 CAN 134 44 69 48 295
16 EST 107 48 46 80 281
17 AUT 140 30 53 56 279
18 POL 149 46 38 36 269
19 GER 102 35 41 64 242
20 USA 111 2 36 44 193
21 ITA 83 15 12 28 138 Relegated
22 JPN 25 16 41 Relegated
23 HUN 99 16 30 84 229 Promoted
24 ESP 85 22 17 72 196 Promoted
25 POR 39 12 24 75
26 BUL 28 5 32 65
27 IRL 13 40 53
28 CHN 24 3 2 12 41
29 SLO 18 1 20 39
30 SVK 7 14 10 31
31 BLR 27 27
32 ROU 13 8 21
33 MDA 6 11 1 18
34 HKG 8 8
35= BEL 4 4
35= RSA 1 3 4
37 SRB 1 1
38 TUR         0
39 BRA         0
40 KAZ         0

 

Having only been promoted for this year the NZl women finished comfortably in the middle of Group 2 thanks again to strong performances from Lizzie, good support from Laura Robertson in the middle and long, and also a great relay result. Once more Laura and Renee Beveridge were running in the first WOC relay so the 14th place was highly creditable.

Equally important, however, are the points and palces both the men and women will start with in Group 2 next year. These will have a crucial bearing on the chances of staying in group 2, and possibly edging towards Group 1.

As can be seen, the position is quite positive. Althouhg only just having been promoted the NZL men will start WOC2016 about a tghird of the way up Group 2. Performances similar to this year would almost certainly retain Group 2 status and likely improve it slightly. The women are a bit better off and will start 2016 on an equal footing with our trans-Tasman neighbours. The 60 point gap to Latvia at the top of group 2 ius probably a little too big to overcome, but continued improvement could put Group 1on the horizon.

Men Total Women Total
9 EST 197 9 LAT 201
10 AUT 174 10 UKR 173
11 LTU 160 11 FRA 172
12 LAT 156 12 LTU 156
13 BUL 156 13 EST 148
14 DEN 142 14= NZL 143
15 RUS 132 14= AUS 143
16 HUN 118 16 HUN 130
17= POL 110 17 GER 119
17= NZL 110 18 CAN 114
19 GER 80 19 ESP 111
20 ESP 78 20 POL 107
21 BLR 71 21 AUT 105
22 ITA 70 22 USA 66

 

So where does this leave us? Clearly there has been a big improvement over the last two years. However, as retaining and improving status is base don 2 years results it does mean that we cannot afford a year with a weaker WOC team. This may mean that there needs to be a rethink both of selection policy, to maximise results, and the approach to WOC by the athletes themselves – no longer are they running solely for an individual result.

The landscape is also changing. The Extraordinary General meeting of IOF at WOC2015 voted that from 2019 WOC will alternate between a forest WOC in odd years and an urban (sprint) WOC in even years. It is likely, but not yet assured, that for the forest WOC some form of qualification will be brought back for at least the middle distance. This change too, however, is going to challenge our thinking and our approach to WOC selection..

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