|An interesting idea!|
It's a numbers game, though: with such a small number of orienteers here it's difficult to make up a team. There are plenty of people orienteering, in parks, school grounds and forests, but how do we translate that participation to active membership?
The people who come along casually to do some orienteering don't make the maps or run the events. The core of active orienteers is getting older and is not being replaced by new blood at the rate that's required. The M21 and W21 classes, a 14-year age span, should be full of competitors, but if you look at many big international competitions, it's the veterans who form the biggest group, so it's not just an Irish problem.
What incentives are there for someone to join a club? A nice social atmosphere? Good facilities? Regular technical and physical training? Coaching to help improve? A clubhouse on the edge of a fantastic forest? Trasnport to events? Lots of free gear? Reduced entry fees for events? A spirit of adventure and of community? Any of the above?
Anyway, back to the HI's. Mike Long's report on the Junior event follows. The Junior team is preparing for the European Youth Championships later this month in Portugal; the remaining Juniors will have a great weekend's orienteering in Co. Waterford in two weeks, so there's lots of activity, but the numbers are small and the bigger the base the higher the pyramid.
|SHI Relays, Carnawaddy|
The rotation of the three Home Internationals meant that it was Ireland's turn to host the Seniors. Some negotiation between Northern Ireland Orienteering and IOA ended up in two areas in Co. Louth, Carnawaddy and Carlingford Mountain, being chosen for the event and Fingal and 3ROC volunteered to provide the orienteering.
The relays at Carnawaddy on the Saturday ran the teams straight out onto the open mountain and on to the interesting part of the map, with its crags and contours. Val Jones's courses ran across the hillside, giving the spectators and waiting runners a fine view of the race. Luckily the visibility was good even if conditions were cool and windy, but the under-strength Welsh side sufferd two injuries which put them out of contention, with one English injury also interfering with the teams' plans. Good runs by the Irish on their home turf brought the score after Day 1 to: England 26, Scotland 22, Ireland 16, Wales 10.
Overnighting in the medieval village of Carlingford, the teams didn't have to travel far for Sunday's individual race. Carlingford Mountain has played host to the SHI before (in 1997?) and one Welsh runner had run in that as a W16. Its presence dominated the village, particularly with its permanent cap of cloud which was to play such a part in the proceedings on Sunday. The first couple and the last couple of controls were below the cloud, but the rest of Ger Butler's courses kept the runners in very limited visibility and challenged their natigation, fitness and nerve to the limit on the upper part of the mountain. Great wins from Toni O'Donovan and Jack Millar inspired the Irish team but still the final result was Scotland 48, England 46, Ireland 31, Wales 15.
You can see the relay results and routes here, with the results and routes for the individual and the associated Leinster Autumn Series event which followed the early-startuing SHI here. Read the Scottish perspective on how they routed the Sassanachs here.
Following the rescheduling of the Connacht Championships so as not to clash with the Senior Home International, we have a concentration of regional championships coming up soon. The Northern Ireland Championships on October 12th at Meelmore and Luke's Mountain in the Mournes; the Connacht Championships at Ballymahon, Co. Longford on the 27th and the Munster Championships at Toureen Wood, Cahir, Co. Tipperary on November 3rd.
Another attractive event is the Welsh Championships in the sandy forest of Newborough in Anglesey on October 13th but the ferry prices are outrageous and the ferry times aren't great either, so that idea got the chop. Quite a number (eighteen?) of Irish orienteers are going to the three days in Rome at the beginning of November, but Italian law requires that all competitors have a medical certificate stating that they are fit and well, and a certificate from their club to say that they are members. Whatever happened to adventure sports?
Simone Niggli Retires
Multiple World Champion Simone Niggli-Luder (Switzerland), holder of 23 World Championship Gold Medals from 2001 to 2013, is quitting elite orienteering after the 2013 World Cup series. In 2003 and 2005 she won all four gold medals (Sprint, Middle, Classic and Relay) at the World Championships!
Read more here.
Junior Home International 2013
The map was at 1:5000 scale and was about A3 size, with the competition area split into two: the northern part on one side of the page and the southern on the back. The mapper was Italian Remo Madella who also surveyed the sprint map for JK2011 in Belfast, around Stranmillis College.
|Typical control site|
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