alice-leake-v-worldchampsfinal2021Alice Leake, fourth in yesterday's World Championship Sprint Final

The World Championships (WOC) in Czechia have the Sprint Relay in the early evening of Sunday 4th July in the host town Doksy. It starts at 5:20pm UK-time and is estimated to finish just over an hour later.

The TV broadcast, in Britain a paid-for service on the internet (6 Euro), begins at 5:10pm. Yesterday's broadcast of the Individual Sprint Final was very well done. It was compelling viewing for orienteers, showcasing the top-level of the sport at its best through great filming with smart graphics, GPS tracking and astute and well-informed commentary.

It should be a great sight. If the race goes to recent form the medal contests will split in two. Switzerland and Sweden deciding gold and silver, and a closely contested race for bronze with several teams in the mix. Best wishes from On The Red Line to the British quad, Alice Leake, Ralph Street, Peter Hodkinson and Megan Carter-Davies.

Start List - Sprint Relay (26 teams, including No 6 - neutral)

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NathanLawsonNathan Lawson, on a wet day in the Lakes

The World Championships (WOC) in Czechia begin with the Individual Sprint races on Saturday 3rd July.

The qualification races are from 8am UK-time. The final begins at 1:30pm (first men start), with the TV broadcast starting at 1:50pm, ending about 4:15pm. From the three heats it is the first 15 that qualify for the final.

Most countries, and that includes Britain, enter three men and women, and the team manager will elect one early, one middle and one late starter. The expected winning time in the heats is 12 and a half minutes. In the final it's 14 and a half minutes.

The racing is at Terezín, a really interesting location. It's an eighteenth century fortress, comprising a citadel and a walled garrison town by the Ohře river just south of where it joins the Elbe. It's multi-level and the planners are also using artificial barriers. The courses are half grass and half paved - a high proportion of grass for a typical sprint race, and the fortress has some steep grassy slopes which could be "testing" if wet.

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LongTestRace2021-ralphRalph Street in a WOC Test Race, credit Petr Kadeřávek

The World Championships (WOC) in Czechia begin with Sprint Qualifications and Final on Saturday 3rd July.

The Great Britain Team has been selected. The team includes six women and seven men, and includes five athletes making their WOC debut. As the other eight all have at least three previous WOCs, it is an easy description that the team combines a lot of experience with the several newcomers.

Many congratulations from On The Red Line to the whole team and especially the WOC debutants: Alastair Thomas, Cecilie Andersen, Grace Molloy, Nathan Lawson and Peter Bray. Alastair and Grace are first year seniors. Nathan is not (yet) a member of the squad.

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WOCCzech_April_MapclipCzech Terrain

The World Championships in Czechia begin on the 3rd July. The first event is the Sprint, 1,064 days since the previous World Champs Sprint, in Riga in August 2018. The following day is the Sprint Relay (the same gap since the previous one). For many of the athletes that will be at least a thousand training sessions.

Had the COVID pandemic not come about these races would not be taking place. Last year there would have been a Sprint Champs. This year the Czech organizers would only be putting on races in the three forest formats, following the pattern of alternate years for forest/sprint World Champs. The sport owes a big thanks to the organizers for adding the sprints, taking on the full work of an old-style Championships. In addition to which there is a tremendous extra workload arising from COVID rules and precautions.

Britain is hoping to send a full team. This last weekend in May were the final sprint selection races for the team, and next weekend will be the final forest ones.

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EOC_organisersOrganisers in Neuchâtel

The European Sprint Orienteering Championships did take place. The place was Neuchâtel, Switzerland; it looked lovely. The weather was a bit rainy. The Swiss, Swedish and Norwegian teams provided the medal winners, apart from Yannick Michiels (who got an EOC medal after many close misses, and lots of wins in other World Cup races.) And there was a small British team taking part.

On May 13th, there was an International Sprint Relay, the first since the the final round of the 2019 World Cup. In fact the whole meeting was the first senior international since then. May 14th was the Sprint Qualification. Saturday May 15th was the Knockout Sprint Final stages of quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. Sunday May 16th was the individual sprints.

The three days that medals were awarded had excellent TV coverage. Throughout, COVID secure protocols were in place, and substantially there were no local spectators apart from the organisation team, but as it was sprint racing in an urban setting there were always some people about.

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EOC_organisersOrganisers in Neuchâtel

The European Champs in the three Sprint formats have begun. Yesterday, May 13th, the Sprint Relay was won by Switzerland, with Sweden second and Norway third.

There was no British entry in yesterday's relay because UK Government rules on international travel meant few GBR athletes can attend the championships. Most European countries have usual size teams but numbers of athletes from further afield are down. There are no runners from Ireland, Australia and Canada, or China (which hosted the previous World Cup round, the Final Round of 2019, with runners from the home team winning two medals.)

Today May 14th is the sprint qualification races from 2pm UK-time. There are 119 men running, including Tam WIlson of Great Britain, and 105 women, including Megan Carter-Davies and Jo Shepherd.

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coatOfArmsNeuchâtel, City Coat of Arms

Fingers crossed, in Switzerland next month International Orienteering Teams will meet after a year of no racing. The European Champs in the three Sprint formats are to be contested in Neuchâtel May 13th-16th.

British Orienteering has done some good work to be able to make the announcement of a four-athlete team. As noted in the announcement many GB athletes are unable to travel to this competition, so it is not the full team Britain would have liked to send (Britain had places for six men and six women in each individual format.)

On The Red Line congratulates and wishes well to Thomas Wilson making his first senior international appearances. Thomas is a Scot, growing up with Clydeside Orienteers and the Edinburgh University setup. He's not currently a member of the GB squad so doesn't appear in our Athletes section, but we do have a picture of him on a podium

Thomas's Attackpoint log

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TreePicVirtual Control Site, 2020

When can it all get back to how it was before? Who knows, maybe it can't, so here's a summary of the the status of the British squad, and international and big domestic competitions.

Can we be optimistic? We said that the 2020 season ended not soon after it started, which was true in a general sense as little of the season happened as originally planned. In gloomy moments we wonder if this year the season will start before it ends? Perhaps cautious optimism is appropriate. Maybe things won't be quite as they were before but they will still be good, later in the year.

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ATAlastair Thomas took the M21E win on Saturday

It was a great weekend of top quality orienteering in the Lakes on the weekend of October 3rd/4th. Many thanks to Lakeland O.C, Warrior O.C., and the many top orienteers who attended. It was surely the strongest field in the UK this year that has been so disrupted by COVID.

The weekend was part of the UK Elite Orienteering Leaguewho encouraged attendance, and will be as close as we are going to get to a National Champs this year. The League is doing a great job of promoting the sport across the open age categories and both days had a distinct buzz in the socially distanced car parking.

Saturday Results

Sunday Results

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mapClipmap: Part of Graythwaite

Heavy driving rain is in prospect to add to the challenge of tomorrow's race on the steep and rocky slopes of Rusland Beeches. It's the first of two days orienteering in the Lake District, named "Lakes Reloaded" as it's been put together relatively quickly by normal standards - with the aim of a chance for some top competition. Because of Lockdown, this year's domestic season ended in March almost as soon as it started and before all but one of the major races took place. Also the entire international programme has had to be scrapped.

Encouragingly "Lakes Reloaded" is being well-supported and the startlist seems the strongest field of 2020 in the UK.

It's a middle race on the Saturday afternoon, and then a full length (90/75 minutes target times) long at the Graythwaite Estate on Sunday. The racing will run like the JK individual forest races, with the Saturday seeded and Sunday starts in reverse order of Saturday's times.

Saturday Startlist

Weather Forecast

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FlagsThe season finished not soon after it started.

In the UK we had racing until the middle of March. And then it all stopped. The British Nights were held. The first round of the UK Elite League took place.

There were immediate cancellations/postponements of the big Spring events and the Welsh multiday summer festival. Other events, such as the Home Internationals, held out hope for varying lengths of time, but in the end none could see a way to take place. And that was pretty much it for racing in the UK.

There may be a short Autumn flurry, as has already started in Sweden and Norway - let's see.

But there was considerable creativity on recreational lines. Clubs created MapRun courses for independent exercise, and many regular orienteers reminded themselves about permanent courses. There were the Lockdown festivals.

And so it was across the world, and we had little of our usual fare to report or link to. But there were a few things, here's a roundup.

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