1. The major Ski Orienteering events came back last weekend with the first edition of FISU World University Ski Orienteering Championships, taking place in the Russian region of Tula. Over sixty athletes from thirteen different countries took part in an exciting event program, including Sprint, Pursuit, Mixed Relay and Mass Start races. Sonja Mörsky, Finland, and Stanimir Belomazhev, Bulgaria, became the historical first World University Champions in Ski Orienteering by winning the opening Sprint races. Anna Ulvensøen, Norway, climbed from 6th place to the top of the podium in the women’s Pursuit, whilst Stanimir Belomazhev showed again at the highest level in the men’s class and was in the lead from Start to Finish. The Norwegians Anna Ulvensøen and Jørgen Madslien won the Mixed Relay, with Finland as second and Russia as third nation. The king of Tula, Stanimir Belomazhev, also won the Mass Start, followed by the Finnish Jyri Uusitalo and Tero Linnainmaa. In the women’s class, Mira Kaskinen, Finland, won the WUSOC Mass Start in front of Anna Ulvensøen and Sonja Mörsky. Overall, six nations achieved podium places, with Bulgaria leading the Board Medal with three gold. Finland and Norway took two gold medals, but the Finnish collected also five silver and five bronze, against one silver from the Norwegian. Belarus, with one silver medal, and Estonia and Russia with one bronze medal each, close this special table. Everything to read at http://wusoc2016.ru/.
2. The winter season continues to attract orienteers from all over the World to the Southern Europe. Portugal and Spain are, by this time, places of election, not only for the preparation of the world's best athletes but also as a way of promoting healthy lifestyles, to whom Orienteering greatly contributes. The Lorca O' Meeting is an excellent example, gathering to Lorca and its surroundings close to 800 athletes from 24 countries for three stages of great Orienteering, the first on, in the Long Distance, scoring for the IOF World Ranking. In the Men Elite class, the Spanish Andreu Blanes and Antonio Martinez, both from Colivenc, fought bravely for the victory overall. Martinez reached the triumph both in Sprint and Middle Distance, but Blanes knew to keep efficiently the advantage achieved in the first stage, in which he emerged victorious, reaching the top of the podium in the final standings. In the Women Elite class everything was different and the best Spanish athlete was Esther Gil (Colivenc), in the 8th place. The victory in this edition of Lorca O' Meeting smiled to the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion), thanks mainly to her victory in the Middle Distance stage and the second position in the Sprint stage, behind the Russian Galina Vinogradova (Alfta ÖSA OK). Another Russian, Svetlana Mironova (MS Parma), was the winner of the Long Distance WRE stage. Find the complete results at http://lom2016.blogspot.pt/.
3. The World MTB Orienteering Championships WMTBOC 2016 will be held in July, in the region of Bairrada, Portugal, and it’s looking forward it that all attentions are converging. During the next 05th and 6th March, will take place the Bairrada O’ Meeting MTBO 2016, an event that opens the international MTB Orienteering season and includes two scoring stages to the IOF World Ranking (a Middle Distance, on the first day of competition and a Long Distance, ending the program). For the next three days, the event organization promotes the 1st Portugal MTBO Training Camp, offering a Sprint training, two Middle Distances, one Long Distance and even a night Orienteering race. The interest for these events is revealed by the number of entries, exceeding already the 60 athletes, mainly from Finland and France. Italy, Denmark, Spain, Russia and Switzerland will also be represented by some of their best athletes. To know more, please visit the events’ webpage at http://aventurabairrada.wix.com/bommtbo2016.
4. “Cool, Awesome and Educational! Will you join us?” The IOF is inviting the Orienteering community worldwide to a large scale event called World Orienteering Day. It will be held the next 11th May with the goals of increasing the visibility and accessibility of orienteering to young people, increasing the number of participants both in the schools’ activities as well and in the clubs’ activities in all countries of National Federations, and to get more new countries to take part in orienteering and helping teachers to implement orienteering in a fun and educational way. The IOF also have a vision to set a new Guinness World Record, pointing the number of 250.000 young people as its challenging target. The first Newsletter is already published and can be seen at http://orienteering.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/WOD-2016-1-Final-version.pdf. In the meanwhile, over 40 youngsters from around the world sent in their creative entries for the competition to design the logo for World Orienteering Day. Out of these, nine finalists were selected. The winning design was made by 19-year-old Ade Anandra. He is a student from Indonesia who is interested in Graphic Design. Congratulations Ade!
[Photo: WUSOC 2016 / http://wusoc2016.ru/portfolio-view/day-1-sprint/]