Thursday 28 June - Sunday 1 July 2018, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
This coming weekend sees the first of the junior international competitions, with European Youth Orienteering Championships (EYOC) taking place in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria between Friday 29th June and Sunday 1st July.
There is a team of 11 athletes heading out to represent Great Britain and this sees a mixture of returning and first-time international runners taking to the Sprint, Long and Relay races. Alastair Thomas (WCOC) is the 'veteran' of the group and he is making his fifth international appearance, having debuted at EYOC in Poland in 2016, and he will be hoping to repeat his podium performance from that championship. The Bulgarian terrain is very similar in make-up to both Poland and Slovakia, so his experience gained in those countries should stand him in good stead here. He, along with Daniel Spencer (WCOC) and Niamh Hunter (WCOC) make up a North West 'triumvirate' who will be doubling up at both EYOC and, the following weekend, Junior World Orienteering Club (JWOC), where they will make their World Championship debuts. They know that this will be a tough challenge for them, with several races in physical conditions over a short period of time, but they are hoping to make the most of this experience as they transition from the M/W18 into the M/W20 category next year. Also returning to EYOC, after a successful debut in Slovakia in 2017, is Eilidh Campbell (MAROC), who will be looking to build on her top twenty performance in the Sprint, which was her maiden international race last summer. Joining her in the W18 class will be Tara Schwarze-Chintapatla (EBOR), who made her debut at Junior European Championships (JEC) last September and she performed creditably there, particularly in the Sprint and Relay races, and this will be her first chance to shine at EYOC. Finally, in the M/W16 category, there are six athletes making their GB debuts, with Matthew Gooch (MAROC), Peter Molloy (FVO), Flurry Grierson (DEVON), Lizzie Stansfield (FVO), Megan Keith (INVOC) and David Bunn (TVOC), all eager to make an impression in Bulgaria and begin their international careers in a positive fashion.
The programme starts off with the Sprint in the old fortress area of Veliko Tarnovo on Friday morning (29 June) and we wish the athletes all the best for this and the remainder of the races next weekend.
You can follow the action here: http://eyoc2018.eu/