The main spotlights in Latvia next week will be on the World Orienteering Championships, but Latvia is also hosting the World Trail Orienteering Championships (WTOC), at the same time but at a completely different venue.
Daugavpils, Latvia’s second-largest city in the south-east of the country and not far from the borders with Belarus and Lithuania, is hosting WTOC which starts on Monday 6 August.
Latvia has enjoyed good proficiency in TrailO for a long time, the biggest highlight being the WTOC Open gold medal won by Guntars Mankus in 2014. A high-quality set of competitions is anticipated, all staged within very short travelling distance of the Event Centre in the city. Terrain ranges from an old fortress and its surroundings to a large abandoned quarry with almost no paths, together with more familiar types of forest detail.
A full turn-out of the best of the world’s elite is expected, although many will have been disappointed at not being selected: the number per nation is just three Paralympic and three Open for the PreO competition and four in total for the TempO. Each nation enters teams of three, one Paralympic team and one Open, for the Relay.
Favourites are difficult to predict, but Antti Rusanen, Finland is having a fantastic season including being European Open Champion. Norway and Sweden will field very strong teams, but there is also clear medal-winning class coming from countries such as Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia. From further afield, the Japanese in particular have some very good competitors. The best-ever Paralympic competitor at world level, Sweden’s Ola Jansson, will certainly be aiming to increase his medal haul, but it was Russia’s Pavel Shmatov who took the crown at the European event.
Go to www.woc2018.lv and click on WTOC in the headings, to find all the detail.
Programme for WTOC
Monday 6 August TempO Qualification and Final
Tuesday 7 August PreO Day 1
Thursday 9 August PreO Day 2
Friday 10 August Relay