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This weekend: IOF Council to decide about WOC Qualification

ioflogo[Updated with Council’s decision: Remove WOC qualification – and a discussion] 14 out of 20 responses are critical to removal of the WOC qualification, according to a discussion at Attackpoint.org. This is based on analyzing the national federations responses to the IOF Council’s proposal on how to handle the question of how many runners a nation can have on the starting line at WOC middle and long in the future.

Update April 27th: The following statement by IOF Council member Mike Dowling has been published at the IOF webpage:

“We have a General Assembly decision from 2012 that sets boundaries for the new model. For example, the qualification races for middle and long distance must be removed. We read the hearing replies from the national federations, as well as the Foot Orienteering Commission’s input very carefully when amending the WOC qualification document. Seven out of twenty federations suggested that we should hold a qualification race just before the WOC week, but it was not something the Council felt it could support. However, the 500 World Ranking points limit was removed, so now every country can have at least one runner in each final. That is a good improvement!”

Comment by the author of this article:
As the Council notes, seven out of twenty federations suggest that one should hold a qualification race just before the WOC week (and that without even being giving it as a specific alternative in the request). When reading the responses, you can also note that another four out of the 20 federations ask to keep the qualification races as today – (again without being asked about it). Add another two who say they are not happy with the proposal. Also add the input from the Foot-O commission of the IOF who is sympathetic to including a “low-key” qualification race just before WOC.

In my opinion, based on this feedback, a good solution for the Council could have been the following,

  • Ask the Foot-O commission to develop possible models for a “low key” WOC Qualification race ahead of WOC
  • Discuss these models at the President’s Conference as an alternative (or a possible amendment) to the current proposal
  • Make their decision about the WOC Qualification scheme based on the input from the President’s Conference – still free to turn down the “low key” WOC Qualification race at this later stage

Instead, the Council decided to remove the possibility to get an assessment of a proposal which was asked for by 7 out of 20 federations – and which probably at least another 4 would have liked to have investigated if they had known about the possibility (Note! This is a speculation based on reading all the proposals in detail, but it is fairly well-reasoned). On the other hand, one federation suggested to remove the 500 World Ranking point limit, and the Council feels is has made “a good improvement” by following this.

[Original article of April 26th]

Lower ranked countries are concerned about elite development in their country – a lot of the proposals support a low-key qualification race just before WOC

According to the same discussion thread at Attackpoint.org (and to the minutes from the Council meeting in January), it looks like the IOF council will make their decision about the future WOC Qualification model this coming weekend.

The responses from the federations show that many federation share the views from the article “Another nail in the coffin for traditional forest orienteering” published at WorldofO.com early March – i.e. that removing the qualifications races have many unfortunate consequences for smaller nations – especially with regard to the future of forest orienteering.

It is also interesting to note that the Foot-O commission of the IOF is sympathetic to including a “low-key” qualification race just before WOC ; i.e. not completely removing the qualification – as can be seen in the Foot-O commision meeting summary from April 6th,

Lower ranked countries are concerned about elite development in their country – a lot of the proposals support a low-key qualification race just before WOC. FOC is sympathetic to this proposal and suggests that Council should give it full consideration. FOC is willing to develop models for such a race should Council wish them to do so.

Will the decision be to follow the interest of the biggest nations and completely remove WOC Qualification for long and middle?

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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4 comments

  1. Emil Wingstedt

    As a member of the former WIF group I’ve found it interesting to follow the process towards a new woc program.

    The WIF group was created following the 2010 general assembly to suggest a new woc program based on the decision to include a mass start event. We also had the constraint of including a mixed gender relay, though I can’t remember where that came from, and that the program should not be extended in time.

    One possibility was of course to change the traditional relay to a mixed relay and either the middle or long distance to a chase or mass start event. The number of medals would have been slightly decreased (thus increased in value?) and one qualification would have been unnecessary. This would have met all requirements but when it was difficult to agree on which existing discipline to change the final proposal kept the existing program and added a mixed sprint relay and a chasing start event to give 6 medal events in total.

    To keep this program into 8 days reguired that the qualifications were removed, but this only affected the long distance since 3 per nation could start in the chasing prologue.

    After this proposal the WIF group was thanked and released and the process continued within the IOF council with the final result to keep the existing finals, add a mixed relay but still remove the qualifications.

    With the decided future program it’s in my opinion no longer necessary to remove the qualifications. The organizers anyway stage a number of spectator events where the qualifications are not a large extra effort and it’s also today difficult for an athlete to take part in all events. The advantages of having qualifications are many, in particular that it is the most fair way of selecting a final starting field.
    I doubt that it’s possible to create a qualification scheme based on previous woc results that won’t either use old results from retired athletes or being highly sensitive to individual results, e.g. mispunches. The proposed scheme certainly suffers from both.
    The world ranking would in this respect be a better qualification tool and was favoured by many in the WIF group but lost a long the process within the council.

    Removing the qualifications will not be of much importance to the success of future wocs but may decrease the participation in forest events from many smaller nations. Why change something that has been working fine before? I believe there are more important issues to discuss than the woc qualifications.

  2. Tornai Szabolcs

    Who cannot see that it’s againg the devil’s bargain! To sell orienteering to businessmen to make profit.

  3. It is really disappointing to see what IOF has developped into.

    These people hardly represent the opinion of the orienteers, they are more likely tycoons following their own agenda where money and olympic luxery for themselves are the gods.

    I have more or less lost all respect for the decisions made by IOF