How not to start a WOC   Leave a comment

No, not our national team, but the organisers.

I was following the GPS tracking of the Sprint Qualification this morning, and wondering why all the runners in Men C (where our top orienteer Nitsan Yasur was starting) were running round the fence after the first control, and then returning:

At first I thought the control description was incorrect, and the control had been placed on the eastern side of the fence instead of the west, but after an exchange of WhatsApp messages with Itay Manor (on-site at WOC and planned to run Middle and Relay) I understood that they had all been unable to see the black barrier under the control circle, between the building and the fence to the north-east of the control. Even I, at home in the air conditioning and with my glasses on, didn’t see it.

Technically, the organisers have done nothing wrong. But this is a big fairness issue and I guess they (and the jury, who would have had to make a decision) can count themselves lucky that it happened in qualification, where losing 10-20 seconds is not critical for most runners, and not in the final or the relay. In my opinion it’s a big drawing and controlling mistake, and I would expect an admission of error and an apology to the runners. As I’m not there, maybe that’s already happened.

I counted at least 16 runners (out of 34) in Men C who tried this route, and at least 10 in Women C – and we should remember that some would choose a different route choice to 2 in any case. That means at least 50% of them didn’t see the line. It affected Men/Women B as well, but not as the first control:

Can you see the black line under the circle?

I hope the championship continues without similar mistakes, because otherwise the courses and terrain looked very good. Our team had no success, with none of the three runners – Nitsan Yasur, Rotem Yasur and Rotem Yogev – qualifying for the final, but they had solid runs. On the GPS, it was interesting to see them being overtaken on the long legs for pure running speed by Scandinavian runners, and I wonder what would have happened if our top sprint orienteer, Matan Ivri, had been there. I understand that he’s focusing on JWOC this year, and he has track records of 8:16 for 3,000m and under 14:20 (I think) for 5,000m.

Posted 03/07/2021 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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