Thursday, August 06, 2015

Splitting the WOC? Yes!

With 24 votes in favour, nine against and three abstentions, the IOF’s Extraordinary General Assembly, held this morning in Scotland, decided for a radical change in the program of the World Orienteering Championships, splitting it into “urban” and “forest”. But from the meeting came another important decision: Portugal will organize the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2019.

It's official: Portugal will organize the World Trail Orienteering Championships in 2019! Launched with determination and great sense of responsibility, the application submitted by the Portuguese Orienteering Federation, which has just been elected by the International body, point the Viseu region as the event’s venue. Of undeniable value in terms of terrains’ quality and complexity, this wide area in the Centre of Portugal offers unique conditions for the practice of this discipline, so we can expect a high level event. Waiting for everyone, are four years of tremendous work, sure that that the Portuguese Orienteering will be, once again, highly dignified.

But the central issue of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the International Orienteering Federation, had to do with the proposal to reorganize the World Orienteering Championships’ program, dividing it into “urban” and “forest”. Briefly: the discussion, in general, focused on the possibility that, from 2019 (inclusive), the World Championships to be held with different programs in alternate years. In odd years, the forest World Championships (referred to as “WOC”), would give the world titles in the said forest distances, ie, Middle Distance, Long Distance and classic Relay. In even years, would take place the urban World Championships (referred as “WOC Sprint”), with the titles of Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay in dispute.

Discussion continues “in the specialty”

Recognizing the general lack of ability to organize an event with the dimension of a World Championship within the parameters of quality and visibility that Orienteering requires and deserves - “only ten nations can organize, and all are in Europe”, assured Brian Porteous, the IOF’s President, during his speech - was certainly the basis of a decision taken in the short space of one hour by the large majority of the delegates present at the meeting. The words of the Danish delegate, in the period dedicated to the discussion of the proposal, are clear: “There is no interest in postpone the decision, we need to act now.” The 24 votes in favour, 9 against and three abstentions seem to indicate unequivocally a course change, although many questions can stay in the air.

From the set of interventions at the meeting this morning, highlight especially the conviction of Brian Porteous, behind the proposal, that the new model will greatly increase the number of potential organizers, the reduction in the number of days of competition will reduce the associated costs of organization and participation and that will be necessary to establish, within the IOF, a technical body and team responsible for the Arena, to ensure a high level of organizational quality standards. Brian Porteous also listed a number of cities that, in the new format, will be able to receive a Sprint WOC, almost all of them outside Europe (Edmonton, Melbourne, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur). The proposal goes now to be detailled. Basically, the decision to reorganize the program of the World Championships was taken, but nobody knows how things will be done. The details should be known in the IOF’s General Assembly, next year.

[Source: World of O, at The Portuguese Orienteering Blog wish to thank Jan Kocbach's tremendous effort and commitment, in bringing to us, in real time, the important developments issued from the IOF’s Extraordinary General Assembly]

Joaquim Margarido

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