More than 100 of the participants in the World Cup races in Liberec last weekend signed a petition against the suggested WOC in the future program. The petition is very clear on the opinion of the runners. – We do not like the Council’s proposal on the WOC program, and we do not want to participate in such a WOC.
– The great majority of us runners are not happy with the proposal for the new WOC-program
Eva Jurenikova – part of the Czech silver medal team from the relay at the World Championships in France earlier this year – has taken the initiative to get the IOF to understand how the top runners feel about the suggested WOC program.
– The great majority of us runners are not happy with the proposal for the new WOC-program. This is why we decided to show our discontent and organized a petition during the World Cup weekend in Liberec, Jurenikova explains.
– I was surprised how readily the runners signed the petition, and how forcefully some of the runners commented on the proposal.
9 World Champions
During the World Cup weekend in Liberec, Jurenikova organized a meeting including 9 World Champions to discuss the WOC program in the future – Thierry Gueorgiou, Helena Jansson, Annika Billstam, Olav Lundanes, Carl Waaler Kaas, Minna Kauppi, Dana Brozkova, Daniel Hubmann, Matthias Merz and Fabian Hertner.
The runners are very clear on that their motivation for the petition is that they are very much interested in the development of the sport of orienteering – and that they would like to contribute to the process and participate in the discussion with the IOF.
– This is the first step. We do not only want to criticise the proposal. We would like to form a new athletes committee where we can discuss and present which improvements, we, runners suggest, Jurenikova wrote in a letter to the IOF sports director on behalf of the group of World Champions.
The Council’s proposal for new WOC program
The background for the petition is the IOF Council’s proposal for a new WOC program – which can be formulated in the following way:
If 4 WOC finals are preferred, they should be
- Sprint qualification + Sprint final
- Sprint Relay (mixed teams 2+2)
- Middle Prologue + Chasing start
- Long final, individual interval start
If 5 finals are preferred, the following disipline is added:
- The traditional Relay is added to the above
The proposal for a new WOC program has been discussed widely in the orienteering community, and lately World Champion on long distance from Trondheim in 2010 – Olav Lundanes – was quite harsh in his critics against the suggestions. Now Lundanes has got support by most of the world orienteering elite.
– The reason we have decided to take this approach is that the federations do not listen to us, Lundanes explains.
– When the federations were asked to come with input to the new WOC-program, the runners on the national team wrote a long letter to the Norwegian federation about our opinions. I can say that it was almost the complete opposite of the letter the federation sent to the IOF.
And according to Lundanes – top elite runners from other nations have experienced the same problems to reach the federation with their opinons. – The Swiss runners have also tried to bring forward their opinion, but without being listened to.
The way forward
It will be very interesting to see if the world orienteering elite manages to get anywhere with this initiative. A letter has now been sent to the IOF sports director asking for a meeting.
Below you can see the petiton sent to the IOF – including the 111 signatures from top orienteers.