The World Championships in Czechia begin on the 3rd July. The first event is the Sprint, 1,064 days since the previous World Champs Sprint, in Riga in August 2018. The following day is the Sprint Relay (the same gap since the previous one). For many of the athletes that will be at least a thousand training sessions.
Had the COVID pandemic not come about these races would not be taking place. Last year there would have been a Sprint Champs. This year the Czech organizers would only be putting on races in the three forest formats, following the pattern of alternate years for forest/sprint World Champs. The sport owes a big thanks to the organizers for adding the sprints, taking on the full work of an old-style Championships. In addition to which there is a tremendous extra workload arising from COVID rules and precautions.
Britain is hoping to send a full team. This last weekend in May were the final sprint selection races for the team, and next weekend will be the final forest ones.
In May the European Champs took place in Switzerland. Britain could send only a small team as UK Government COVID rules meant nearly all British athletes and coaches could not travel internationally.
The UK Government rules on international travel have been relaxed. The Czech authorities have special rules for national team members. So a full GBR team can be expected. That is three entries in each individual sprint, three entries in each middle distance, three women and two men in the long (the Women are in Division 1, the men in Division 2), and one team in each relay. In 2018, with the same event programme, the British Team was 14 athletes.
The GB selection process has had several iterations to accommodate the widespread cancellation of races over the last year and restrictions on travel. There is a principle that sprint and forest racing are considered separately.
The final sprint selection races were on 29th May. Results - Masterplan Adventure "Sprint Scotland".
The final forest selection races are next weekend. Athletes will be running either in the Lake District (most of them), or in Czechia (a few). In the Lake District it's the British Middle Champs on Saturday and the Northern Champs (Long Distance) on Sunday.
mapclip Summer House Knott
In Czechia it's the official test races, with a middle on Saturday (in the mountains near the Polish border), and a long on Sunday (in sandstone terrain).
The organizers have been supporting training "in relevant terrain" since Easter, and many of the big teams have run camps.
The Swedes opened their recent racing to other teams' runners. You can find GPS traces at Loggator.
Czech terrain, Swedish "Middle Final"
The Swiss and Norwegians ran their test races this weekend.
Norwegian Orienteering Report on Long Distance (in Norwegian, but you'll understand the results)
British Orienteering and the Orienteering Foundation have a new programme to provide some support to selected young senior athletes. Their first senior years are well understood to be difficult for a number of reasons. It is normal in other countries have specific focus on the 21-25 group and it is great that something is happening here now too. Many thanks to The Orienteering Foundation.
Programme coordinators, both with good relevant experience, and both coincidentally based in Sweden, are Hector Haines and Jo Stevenson.
The athletes (born 1996-2000) who have accepted invitations to be involved are: