Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, September 25, 2006

Thinking about the IOF world cup selection plan


I spent some time looking at the Attackpoint discussion on the plans to base World Cup entries on a nation's world rankings. The basic idea is that the IOF would base the number of runners a nation got to enter on the combined ranking of the top 20 ranked runners from that nation.

The specifics (e.g. how many runners to include in the national rankings) aren't especially interesting to me. But, the idea of raising the importance of world rankings and counting a fairly large part of each nation's talent distribution; well, that seems like a much more interesting idea (to me, any ways).

The IOF proposal increases the incentives for the USOF to hold world ranking events. I suspect that might be one of the reasons behind the IOF proposal.

I came across this comment on Attackpoint:

...and also point out the ridiculous argument that it will now be the job of a country's 2nd best runner to convince the country's 19th best runner to go to more WREs....

What the poster is getting at, I think, is that the IOF proposal makes a big change in the incentives a nation faces. The U.S. national team, for example, doesn't really have much incentive to care about the performance of orienteers who aren't among the top 10 orienteers in the U.S. That's maybe a bit strong. Let me put it another way - the IOF proposal increases the incentives for the U.S. team to care about the performance of orienteers who aren't among the top 10 in the U.S. That might be a good thing.

Whether it is a good thing probably depends, to some extent, on the national strategy. Think of a WOC team as like a club's Jukola team. One way a club could put together a good Jukola team is to have say 7-10 good runners and really invest in trying to get those runners to be as good as possible. Another way a club could put together a good Jukola team is to have say 15-20 runners, spread the same resources (e.g. coaching and travel spending) thinner, and then pick the Jukola team from the best 7 runners. Either approach can probably be successful.

posted by Michael | 6:55 PM


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