Tuesday 23rd July will see athletes arrive to Olomouc CZE from across Europe for the very first European University Orienteering Championships. University Orienteers from 49 Institutions in 19 countries will compete in 3 competitions – Sprint, Middle Distance & Sprint Relay.
France, Czech Republic and Switzerland have the most athletes, each with 17 runners from a mix of Universities.
Olomouc in Moravia is no stranger to World Class Orienteering events, having previously hosted the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) in 2008 and the FISU World University Championships in 2014.
Some rising stars will be present to compete for the medals, not least local Czech athlete Tereza Janošíková who was 19th in the Sprint at both the World Championships and European Championships last year, and picked up a Silver Medal at the recent Junior World Orienteering Championships in Sprint. She is currently ranked 20th in the IOF Sprint World Rankings. Laura Ramstein from Austria, studying in Switzerland, was 27th at WOC last year and currently ranked 53rd; she is certainly another good tip for a medal, along with 64th-ranked Swiss Deborah Stadler. But could Latvia’s Liga Valdemane surprise us? What about Germany’s Paula Starke or Switzerland’s Hanna Müller? All 3 are ranked just outside of the top 100 in the world in sprint.
In the Men’s Sprint there is perhaps no clear favourite but the medals could well come from one of 5 contenders, each with a World Ranking of between 69 – 88. Tristan Bloemen (BEL) could well take the Gold like he did at the European Youth Orienteering Championships Sprint back in 2012, but then the Swiss have two solid sprinters in Philipp von Arx and Jannis Schönleber. And then the French have Arnaud Perrin and Maxime Rauturier who will surely be very strong.
In the Forest, Tereza, Laura and Liga are the 3 ranked in the top 100. But challengers from Hungary, Switzerland and Germany are not far behind.
For the Men, Bloeman is the highest ranked in 108th. He was 44th last year at WOC and EOC Long. Swiss Sven Hellmüller and Arnaud Perrin of France are the next strongest according to the World Rankings in forest formats.
Unlike the World University Champs, which has Federations sending National Teams, EUOC is for anyone aged 17-30 studying in a European Higher Education Institution. Teams of at least 2 come from these Institutions to compete so it will be a great social event as well as offering some excellent Orienteering challenges.
EUOC is organised under EUSA – European University Sports Association – rules.
EUSA was established in 1999 and in 2019 celebrates its 20th anniversary. Orienteering was included as the 20th sport in 2016 during the General Assembly. Dusan Vystavel was appointed as the Technical Delegate and together with Mr. Patrik Perosa (former EUSA Sports Director) and Aron Less they prepared the first rules for EUOC. They decided on using the “The World Games” programme – Sprint, Middle Distance and Sprint Relay.
There are 23 sports (all summer) in the EUSA family. In odd years EUSA organises a Championships (separately for each sport). In even years they are in the full Games programme. This is the opposite order to FISU which organised WUOC.
– Future programme:
2019 – Olomouc (CZE) – 1st Championship
2020 – Belgrade (SRB) – 5th Games, Orienteering included for first time
2021 – Sankt Gallen (SUI) – 2nd Championship
2022 – Lodz (POL) – 6th Games, Orienteering not included yet
2023 – 3rd Championship – organiser will be selected in 2021
2024 – Miskolc/Debrecen (HUN) – 7th Games, Orienteering included
Event Website: www.euoc2019.cz