I enjoyed watching the orienteering at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan and, quel horreur, 4 years have sped by in the blink of an eye and here we are again; well, it’s the World Games again, but this time they’re in Colombia.  The whole event is very badly publicised, which is a shame, since I would’ve thought any TV company would’ve jumped at the chance to use it as a cheap follow-up to the Olympics, but there are some good competitions on view, including the orienteering.

Orienteering at the World Games is slightly easier than normal orienteering, but it still makes for a good competition, especially as most of the world’s best are in town for the races. Today was the Sprint, which considering the hot, humid conditions was a little on the long side at around 4 km, but was well planned and tightly contested.

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A few thoughts about today’s race:

1. Considering their lack of experience with O, the local TV people did a good job and I think Paul Pacqué has done a great job with the mapping.

2. Matthias Kyburz’s 14:30 for 4.25 km (straight-line distance) was impressive.

3. Kiril Nikolov lost the bronze medal on the run-in. ON THE RUN-IN.

4. Li Qiaoping got lost on the way to the first control and then had the fastest split to the second control… (See screencap)

5. It was sweet watching the less experienced orienteers stop to look at their map at the Start – but all credit to them for putting in good performances.

6. The British team had good runs but it wasn’t their day – it especially wasn’t Cat Taylor’s day, when she started running round the loop in the wrong direction… Best of the quartet was Murray Strain, whose 6th place was one of the best performances of his career.

7. There are lessons to be learned even from running around such an “easy” area. For example, it’s worth analysing which were the best ways of zigzagging through the streets, since the seconds lost here were vital. And there’s the question of whether you got the pace right. It’s hard to believe that Scott Fraser went off too quickly, but he did seem to flag at the end.

There is live chat during the O events.

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