Mike Hamilton, Chief Executive, is to retire from British Orienteering after 11 years.
In the 11 years with British Orienteering there have been many significant changes both in the sport and in the organisation. Within the sport, the growth of urban and sprint events from international to local level has broadened the appeal to a range of people living in cities and urban areas, the technology has revolutionised the sport with electronic timing, now at almost every event. Mike led the change from a large council to a board of directors and consistently ensured that British Orienteering has kept pace with good practices expected of all governing bodies of sport.
Mike has worked tirelessly over his time at British Orienteering and will be missed. He announced his intention to retire at 1st June and has agreed with the board to operate part time for an extended period of notice whilst a suitable replacement is found.
Judith Holt, British Orienteering chair thanked Mike on behalf of the board and membership:
“Mike has worked with energy and passion to support the development of the sport of orienteering, in particular in developing policies and practices which, while often unnoticed by the average competitor, are critical to enabling us to continue to run our sport. He has been an inspiring leader and has built up an enormous breadth of knowledge about the management and governance of orienteering; many people in the organisation will sorely miss being able to turn to him for answers.
Thank you, Mike, for your dedication to orienteering for the past 11 years and your organisational legacy. We wish you well in your retirement.”
Mike’s contribution to British Orienteering was recently recognised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance who following a nomination by the board awarded him the Emeritus Award. The award which has been in existence for over 10 years is presented to an individual for their life-long or sustained service to grassroots sport and recreation.
The British Orienteering Board Directors have confirmed that a recognition of Mike’s contribution to the sport will be made at the Association and Club Conference.
40 mixed teams enjoyed a glorious day at the second staging of the British Mixed Sprint Relays by Deeside Orienteering Club in the landscaped campus of Edge Hill University near Ormskirk.
In the Open Class, Charlotte Ward brought SHUOC Spooksters home in 13:37 with a commanding lead of 2:32 over FVO Flyers (2nd), NOC Robin Hood (3rd) and LOC Scafell (4th) who all finished within 29 seconds.
Graham Gristwood ran 13:55, the fastest time of the day, to catch Sheffield University Orienteering Club’s Tommy Horton at the changeover. Chris Smithard extended FVO’s lead but Peter Hodkinson ran the fastest leg time to bring NOC Robin Hood into second place, 50 secs down.
Fanny Gyurko recorded the fastest leg 4 time on the anchor leg to bring FVO Flyers home for the gold medal, 1:11 ahead of NOC Robin Hood who was a comfortable 1:20 ahead of SHUOC Spooksters.
|1. 60:09 FVO Flyers (Frances Brown, Graham Gristwood, Chris Smithard, Fanny Gyurko)|
|2. 61:20 NOC Robin Hood (Rosie Schorah, Dave Schorah, Peter Hodkinson, Jenny Evans)|
|3. 62:40 SHUOC Spooksters (Charlotte Ward, Tommy Horton, Martin Ward, Aislinn Prendergast)|
Other class results:
|2. DVO Rockets|
|1. SROC Silver Tips|
|2. LOC Crinkles|
|3. SROC Silver Spoons|
|1. DVO AllStars|
|2. SROC Silver Smooth|
|3. OD The Seventy ODds|
|Young Junior 12-|
|1. DEE Minors|
The full results are available here.
The full gallery of Brian Ward's photos can be viewed here.
There was controversy from the outset at the Relay day on Friday when athletes arriving in time for a 9.00 a.m. start to the competition had to wait for the best part of two hours before the competition to get under way, because the golf course owners had not allowed any placement of the flags before the day of the event.
Things got no better when first leg finishers reported several doubtful control sites and one decision point with the only two SI boxes when there were three flags at the control site.
Discontent continued as the officials and volunteers battled to complete the final TempO station within a reasonable timescale, but such were the number of complaints, followed by official protests by several countries, that the announcement of the final results and the prize giving were delayed until Saturday to enable the hard worked jury to inspect and decide upon the six official protests.
The Jury eventually voided three out of the 27 control sites, accepting some protests, rejecting others. They also confirmed the Organisers’ decision to disqualify the Open class teams from Latvia and Poland and the Para team from Russia for infringements of the rules!
Eventually, in the Paralympic class, Ukraine was declared the winners, followed by the Czech Republic and Norway.
In the open class, the Winners were Slovenia, followed by Norway in Silver and the Czech Republic took Bronze, a second and a half ahead of the Slovak team in 4th who was a second ahead of the Finns in 5th place.
The Norwegian team’s second leg runner, Sigurd Daehli, made orienteering history. Having won World Championship medals in SkiO and FootO in previous decades, he became the first orienteer to achieve a championship medal in three separate disciplines. There is no truth in the rumour that he is in training for next year’s MTBO!
It was also notable for the rise of the central European nations and this year the eclipse of Sweden who finished 10th.
As for the British team of Tom Dobra, Charles Bromley Gardner (who was affected by illness) & John Kewley, they endured a difficult day, before eventually finishing in 14th place.
The second PreO course, held on Saturday, in a mixture of woodland and rough open terrain near the kart track at Aukštadvaris was the final day of what has been an eventful week in Lithuania. Thankfully the sun shone, the course was excellent and testing, and after the adventures of the previous day’s relay, the controls appeared to be largely in the right place and there were no protests at the end of the competition.
The British team had a very satisfactory day overall. In the Open class, Charles Bromley Gardner, still unwell but recovering, held on well to finish in 10th place, one of six competitors with 43 points and the best GBR placing in the Open class since Ian Ditchfield’s podium place in Scotland in 2012. John Kewley with a score of 41 was placed 21st and Ian Ditchfield, on 40, was placed 29th.
In the Paralympic competition, Dick Keighley finished in 23rd place.
Tom Dobra, selected for the GBR TempO & relay teams, won the Public PreO competition over the championship course with a total score of 42 points.
Several of the leading competitors after Day 1 fell by the wayside in the tricky conditions, whilst others had already made too many errors to be able to figure in the top places at the end of the day.
At the end of the two days PreO, the gold medal went to Lars Jakob Waaler of Norway with 45 points, a score also achieved by Pinja Mäkinen who had taken a few seconds longer at the time controls. The Bronze medal went to Geir Myhr Øien, also of Norway with 44 points, a score also achieved by two former world champions Stig Gerdtman of Sweden, who was placed 4th, and Anne Straube, of Octavian Droobers, a British Orienteering member but here representing her native Germany in 5th position, her best placing for some time. To gain a podium place in this standard of competition is a tremendous performance.
Today the GB JWOC squad ran the long distance race in Särkänpera, Finland, with courses of over 10.7km for the men and 7.6km for the women. There were, once again, many strong performances from our team, with records being set along the way.
Sasha Chepelin continued his superb run of form, coming in in 7th place in a very tight race, just 7 seconds off a podium position. Sasha will no doubt be slightly frustrated with another near miss, as reflected in his post race interview, ‘I'm not actually too happy - my race was pretty scrappy and I nearly ended up doing the butterfly loop backwards. I felt a bit better after taking on some energy, but I'm not sure I used my energy that well, as I feel OK now.' However, his JWOC 2017 individual discipline positions of 7th, 5th, and 7th make him the first Brit to ever gain 3 individual top tens, showing outstanding consistency against the very top of the international scene.
Elsewhere in the men’s race, Alex Carcas tactically retired after a mistake to focus on the relay tomorrow, and Harrison McCartney finished in 68th, after battling through from an early start, making the tracks for everyone else. Ali Masson finished in 60th after a race he described as ‘horrible, horrible, horrible’ and Nathan Lawson and Matt Fellbaum both achieved top 50s, coming in 47th and 39th respectively.
In the women’s race, history was also made, with 3 top 20 finishes in the JWOC long race for the first time ever, with GB one of only four countries with this strength in depth (a group which notably doesn’t include Finland or Sweden). This means that the relay A team for tomorrow all ran exceptionally, with Jenny Ricketts and Fiona Bunn separated by just 6 seconds in 13th and 14th respectively, and Grace Molloy in 20th to post her second top 20 in her first ever JWOC races, following on from her 19th in the middle final. Fiona said of her first top 15, ‘I was pleased to finally get a decent result, even after a shaky start to the race. It was a tough one, but I'm very proud of the whole team's performances and super excited for the relay!!!’
Meanwhile, Chloe Potter ran herself to 71st place, about a minute behind Alice Rigby, who finished in 65th, with Cecilie Andersen less than 3 minutes off a top 20, finishing 34th.
Full results are available at http://online4.tulospalvelu.fi/tulokset/en/2017_jwoc_long/.
Alongside Fiona, we are also excited for the relay races tomorrow, where both the Men’s and Women’s teams have real chances of a podium finish. Follow the event live from the links on the JWOC website, with the Men off at 11:30 BST and the Women next at 12:45 BST.
Credit - David Bunn