Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Haldin on the Long WOC


Mats Haldin wrote about his WOC long race. Here's a rough translation of a bit of what he wrote:

There's a rule that says you should orienteer independently and not with the help of other runners. That's why Finland put in a protest against Mikhail [Mamleev]. The protest was declined by the jury with a vote of 3 to 2. The explanation was that there wasn't evidence that Mikhail was helped by Daniel [Hubman]...And they didn't bother to check the GPS tracks.

I don't have anything against Mikhail. It is a difficult situation. What do you do when someone catches you and then takes the route that you would have taken and doesn't pull away from you...? That it is an advantage to run together is known. And often everyone involved gets involuntary help from the others. It has happened before that orienteers have won medals at WOCs thanks to having run together. There have also been protests before and never, as far as I know, have the protests been accepted.

Haldin wrote, "Motiveringen var att de inte hade bevis för att Mikhail hade hjälp av Daniel." I've translated it as, "The explanation was that there wasn't evidence that Mikhail was helped by Daniel." My Swedish is a bit rusty, but I always thought of "bevis" as meaning "evidence" but in this case I think Haldin must mean "proof." I say that because there is evidence that running together with Hubman helped.

I find it interesting that 2 of the 5 members of the jury apparently agreed with Finland's protest. Two jury members apparently would have been willing to disqualify a medalist for following. That should send a strong signal of the importance of the issue. I hope - but don't really expect - that the way the long WOC race went will inspire the IOF to put some more thought into keeping packs from forming.

Haldin's whole write up of the long race is worth a read if you can handle the Swedish.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:53 PM


in his "questions replyed" on his site TG talked about this problem 2 years ago.
I think 3 minutes and good butterflies (not only one) could be a good solutions. But there will be 2 hours and half starting list. So, why don't do a mass start? More spectacular, with solutions for splitting athletes, suitable for TV coverage.
Blodslitet and one day of Oringen should have teached us something...

Or just start the men's and women's races at the same time, with longer start intervals for both. I think Per Forsberg can handle it.
Mass start to get rid of following...?
I'm not a fan of mass start because it changes the nature of the sport. It takes away the idea of independently navigating. I think a lot more could be done to reduce the chances to follow and I'd like to see more effort put into that.

I agree with Michael. That said, I was never that preoccupied with following before, telling myself you would never win a race by following. Maybe not, but this outcome wasn't a whole lot better. I like Mamleev but I never expected he would get a medal in a Long distance WOC event. And I feel badly for Haldin, knowing how it is beneficial to start last and pick people up. On the other hand, I guess that is why they have qualifiers.

Yeah! I agree.
-cathy young
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