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Finland: A new golden generation


– Our juniors have been improving the last few years, a new golden Finnish generation may be coming up, an optimistic Petteri Kähäri, sport director of the Finnish Orienteering Federation, said when presenting Finland’s approach to elite orienteering at the International Orienteering Coach Conference in Faak am See, Austria.

It may definitely look like Finland needs a new generation of highly motivated elite orienteers at a high level – the success at the World Orienteering Championships has not been the best.


The reason for the lack of Finnish success in WOC 2015 may be due to lack of success in JWOC 5-10 years ago, Kähäri says.

– A few years ago the system “discovered” that you can not have good WOC results if you have not got good juniors. And you can not have good juniors if you have not got good youth development.


Improvements for age group 15-25 years

Kähäri is also happy with the improvements in the situation for the age group 15 to 20 years. – There are now 2 full time coaches for the junior team, and the team is extended from 15 to 25, Kähåri explains.

– The commitment and the devotion is also improving among the juniors. Athletes and coaches are about to understand the requirements in order to reach the international level.

Another positive factor for the junior team is that personal coaches are attending part of the national team camps – with very good feedback from the participating coaches. Everything is however not perfect for the Finnish juniors; the system used does not have enough impact on daily training according to Kähäri, and there are high fees for the athletes.

3 national training centers

The elite orienteering in Finland is mainly built up around three national training centers in Helsinki, Tamere and Turku. Most of the best athletes live and train at one of these training centers – here the best athletes spar each other in the best conditions with the best coaches. The training center facilities are in many ways similar to Denmark’s approach, but where Denmark has one training center and all national team members are required to train and live (together) at the training center in Århus, the Finnish athletes can choose if they want to live and train at the training centres.

– We have considered focusing only on one training center – and even making it required to live at the training center, similar to Denmark, Kähäri explains. – But it was found to be difficult to get all the athletes to move to one training center.

More of the story in the LiveBlog from the conference

You can find more details about elite orienteering in Finland in the LiveBlog from the conference here.

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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