Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Swiss experiment and Minna/Heli video


From the bulletin for this weekend's World Cup race in Switzerland...

The organizers are committed to ensure Following-free results and therefore will keep a special eye on the observation of IOF rule 26.2 ("In an individual interval start race, competitors shall navigate and run through the terrain independently"). The organizers disclose hereby how they interpret (measure) the breach of above-mentioned rule: If an athlete punches 3 consecutive controls on his/her course all within 10 seconds behind the same competitor, this athlete is suspected of committing Following and may be disqualified.

I'm not sure whether this is a good idea or not. But, I'm glad to see an experiment in trying to reduce following. (You can read all about the event at the official site).

Minna/Heli Video

I got an email today with a link to Finnish television's sports program featuring an inteview with Minna Kauppi and Heli Jukkola. Most of it is in Swedish. Even if you can't understand it, it is kind of fun to see.

I think the video link will only last a week or so. So, go here and click on the video link.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:45 PM


I am not sure either, whether this is a good idea or not. Perhaps it is a noble objective, but also possibly a lost cause.

The language of this policy stikes me as pathetic. I won't take issue with the attempted definition, this is not easy to define, but then they follow it up with "*may* be disqualified" which takes away all the teeth, and any legitimacy the definition might contain.

Any chance there is a question of translation here?

It just seems absurd to objectively define the infraction down to the second, then open it right back up to subjective interpretation.

If this results in anything better than controversy, I will be surprised.

It's not a problem with translation, it says exactly the same in german.
I don't think this rule will work, just imagine someone catching up from behind in the sprint, you will easily punch 3 controls in a row less than 10" behind without following.
This 10 sec method sounds really bad idea for obvious reasons. Does anybody know how long time they have used this method in national races in Switzerland? I hope they are not trying it for the first time here. World Cup should not be a test event for new funny untested ideas.

In Estonia, there has been a similar rule used in national championships and it has not proved itself so far. For us, when two competitors have punched with a gap less than 10 seconds in more than 50% of controls, their names must be brought out in the results in a special section (for instance http://www.raok.ee/tulemused/2005/emvlyhirada/#aus ), but they won't be dq-d, therefore, the rule is pointless.
I think, that following is a natural part of orienteering and should not be something one should get punished for.
And of course, punching several controls with some other competitor, doesn't neccesarily mean following, as routechoices can be equal.
Switzerland has never used this methods before as far as I know. I think it will never work. I have been in races (middle distance) where I have been navigating on my own, taking different route choices etc and still getting to the control at the same time as a women who caught up to me. I would be upset if someone said I was following in that race, because I was proud to be keeping up with her tempo but orienteering on my own.
Okay so I start infront of Thierry and wait for him at the first control, punch just infront of him and then follow him around the course, at each control I sprint ahead and punch just infront of him and I get the world champion disqualified?

Alternatively I follow and at every third control sprint ahead and punch first and just make sure that I am not behind for three controls in a row.

The rule seems ridiculous and unenforceable and what a joke to try it for the first time at a World Cup race.
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