WOC 2008 – the Israeli team – part 2   Leave a comment

The story of the Israeli national team this season is in those who are missing from WOC 2008. A month ago I resigned my post as national team coach, after the Israel Sport Orienteering Association (ISOA) decided to continue ignoring my recommendations and selected the participants in WOC 2008 based only on criteria which were in my opinion unfair, unbalanced, and unprofessional – and which were set without consultation with me (the coach) at the beginning of the season. As a result, Gilad Harnik, the best orienteer in Israel (Pavel Gvozdev is better, but lives abroad) will not be at WOC 2008, and will probably not represent his country again in the future.

So who is missing:

Gilad Harnik (age 31) is currently ranked no. 1 in Israel (ahead of Alexey Marchenko), and was undoubtedly in the best form of his life towards the end of this season. When it became clear that he would be prevented from participating in WOC because he couldn't pass the criteria for running speed (on a track) – unlike Alexey, who runs faster but loses to him regularly in terrain – Gilad lost motivation and reduced his training. I hope that next season the system will change and he will be given an incentive to continue.

Roni Harish (age 27 – my girlfriend), by far the leading female orienteer in Israel, actually passed the criteria which were set by the ISOA back in April, but decided not to travel to WOC due to lack of motivation (caused partly by the problems around the national team) and her inability to commit enough time for training in addition to her studies and work. She has changed her priorities and currently is not training at all.
When Roni decided not to go, I declined as well, seeing that there would be no "team" at the championships. I have been to 5 World Championships as coach, and of course I would very much like to go again, but in this case it would have been a waste of the ISOA's money and of my time.

Currently there is no Israeli national orienteering team, and no coach. We are represented at WOC by two individuals, who certainly deserve to be there, and I wish them both the best of luck.

Posted 11/07/2008 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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