World Cup Latvia Preview

The World Cup Round 3 is coming us and Ralph has done us a wee preview.

International orienteering is back! World Cup Round 3 kicks off with a middle race on Friday, a relay on Saturday, and then a sprint double (qualification and final) on Sunday. Two things of potential interest: this is “Round 3” because of course the World Championships were “Round 2”, and this is the first (forest) relay at a World Cup for many years, possibly 2006 but that is before I was an orienteering nerd so I am not totally sure. The races will have a little more significance than normal because Latvia is hosting the World Championships next year, these races provided the ideal starting point for basing the next year’s training on.

Last years Euromeeting Course

The British team that will race in Cēsis (pronunciation unsure) will be:
Cat Taylor (South Yorkshire)
Charlotte Ward (Humberside and Lincolnshire)
Charlotte Watson (West Cumbria)
Chris Smithard (Forth Valley)
Graham Gristwood (Forth Valley)
Hector Haines (Interlopers)
Hollie Orr (Lakeland)
Jo Shepherd (Inverness)
Kirsten Maxwell (Roxburgh Reivers)
Peter Bray (Manchester and District)
Ralph Street (South London)
Will Gardner (Octavian Droobers)

The forest terrain that awaits is reasonably fast but with highly mixed runnability and visibility, the area is covered by many valleys which could create more routechoice than normal for an international middle distance. The same arena is being used for the middle and the relay, although the actual courses should be more spread out than they were at the World Championships.

Of the Brits to look out for in the middle attention should be paid to Jo Shepherd first, as she has the best middle distance result at the recent World Championships (18th). Other WOC middle distance team members include Hollie Orr, Ralph Street, and Will Gardner.

Photo by: Hannu Kaasalainen

In the relay multiple teams per country are allowed, which negatively impacts British hopes of medal, but a top result should not be immediately written off. There are many team members with points to prove, and there is of course the disappointment of the WOC relay to banish.

The sprint qualification terrain will be fairly familiar for the British team as it consists of many apartment blocks, however World Cup qualification races are almost certainly the hardest race in the calendar to qualify from so the team will need to be on top of their game from the start. The final terrain will be mainly old town and parkland, which is not the typical diet of British sprinters, however the description does sound similar to the World Championship sprint where Chris Smithard (14th) excelled.

Photo by: Pekka Kinnala

You can follow the competitions live from the website:

We the athletes will endeavour to provide some updates here on the blog, and on twitter.


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