An enthusiastic organising team in Hungary is delighted to be able to go ahead with this year’s World Masters Orienteering Championships (WMOC) starting on Saturday 7 August, and with few restrictions on everyday life in the country now, there are very few changes to standard arrangements and procedures. Travel restrictions and the general uncertainty has led to an event about one-third the usual size, but it promises to be no less competitive than usual despite that.
Event Director Ádám Lengyel and his team have created an event that will have quite a few special features. One of these is the life-size red cow that will feature as the last control in all races except the Sprint Final, where one side of an outdoor artwork will be used. The host city, the 9th largest in Hungary, is notable not least for the length of its name, Székesfehérvár, and also for the fact that it was a royal residence in the Middle Ages and has hosted several coronations. The forest races will visit both dolomite and granite terrain in the Velence Hills, meaning very few if any water features but lots of gullies and steep valleys, and often-complex side valleys and areas with abandoned mines, pits and depressions. In places, boulders up to 5m high will be encountered. In one area, multiple rabbit holes are noted as a hazard!
Five days of racing
As usual at WMOC there are 5 days of racing: Sprint Qualification and Final, Forest Qualification, Middle Final and Long Final. The Sprint races take place in the host city, the Final being 95% in the old town district. At accreditation and the races, various safety procedures will be followed and advice to competitors given, in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections, but the quality of competition will not be affected. Throughout the event there is emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability.
The home country has the largest number of competitors, 350, followed by Finland with 187, Sweden 166, Norway 122 and the Czech Republic 113. Ages range from 35 to 95. There is also a 5-day ‘WOC Tour’, using the same starts and finishes after WMOC competitors have been through.
More about WMOC can be found in the highly informative Bulletin 2: https://wmoc2021.hu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Bulletin2_FINAL.pdf. There is much more on the lively WMOC website https://wmoc2021.hu/en/. The IOF website will carry reports after each final.