The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) recently announced that Covid-19 impacts meant that the Sprint World Orienteering Championships (WOC) scheduled for Denmark in 2020 was postponed until 2022, and that Russia was no longer able to stage the 2021 European Orienteering Championships in Sprint (Sprint EOC).
Other announcements alongside this included the cancellation of the entire World Cup programme for 2020, and that the move of Denmark Sprint WOC to 2022 also meant the intention to move the date of Sprint WOC in Edinburgh from 2022 until 2024.
Since those announcements, the IOF have been working hard with member federations and event organisers on a revised approach for these major events. They have now been able to announce some further changes to the international calendar for 2021.
Specifically, the Czech organisers of the Forest WOC for 2021 have agreed to add Sprint WOC races to the overall programme in July. They will stage the current disciplines of Individual Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay, with the debut of the new Knock-Out Sprint discipline remaining scheduled for Denmark Sprint WOC in 2022.
In addition, the Swiss organisers of World Cup Round 1 in May 2021 have agreed to re-arrange their programme and incorporate EOC into the competition. That competition will now include all three Sprint Disciplines of Individual Sprint, Knock-Out Sprint, and Mixed Sprint Relay.
Alongside these changes, IOF have announced updates to the remainder of the 2021 World Cup programme to better balance the overall calendar. World Cup Round 2 (forest races in Sweden) moves from the previous date of immediately before Jukola in June to take place in August instead, and World Cup Round 3 in Italy will now include a Mixed Sprint Relay.
Further details of the inclusion of sprint competitions within the 2021 World Championships are at https://orienteering.sport/nokian-tyres-world-orienteering-championships-2021-to-include-sprint-competitions/, and more information on the revised World Cup programme is at https://orienteering.sport/world-cup-2021-a-balanced-program/.
These further announcements are good news for international sprint athletes in particular, who were facing the prospect of no World Championships in Sprint until 2022 (the last was in 2018), as well as the uncertainty around Sprint EOC for 2021. British Orienteering would like to express thanks to the IOF for their perseverance in seeking solutions, and to the various event organisers for their flexibility in making it possible for suitable alternatives to be found.