THE WORLD’S most renowned orienteering events are set to kick off in Scotland next month.
The World Orienteering Championships and the Scottish 6-Days will be staged alongside each other in the Highlands and Moray.
Together, they comprise the largest orienteering event ever held in the UK, and one of the largest to be held in Scotland this year.
450 of the world’s best orienteer athletes from 50 nations and more than 5,000 club competitors and enthusiasts from all over the world will compete on some of the finest, yet physically and technically demanding orienteering terrain in the UK.
At the end of a week of close fought and tactical racing, worthy world champions in individual and team sprint, long and middle distance and relay disciplines will have been crowned.
British – and Scottish – athletes are likely to feature highly in the results. The Great Britain team is amongst those at the top of the international rankings and will have real medal chances.
Orienteering has traditionally been dominated by the Scandinavian nations, where it is considered the ‘national sport’. However, in recent years, French and Swiss athletes have broken through and have had an impressive series of wins.
WOC2015 will have its base at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness and will run in parallel with the biennial Scottish Six-Days, widely recognised as one of the world’s top multiday competitions.
Together, both events will deliver an international festival of world-class orienteering aimed at everyone from elite and club athletes and support teams to spectators, families and visitors keen to soak up the great atmosphere and camaraderie the sport generates.
Paul McGreal, WOC 2015 Event Director, said: “I’m really excited about the opportunity that WOC2015 brings, both to help develop the sport at elite and club level and also to help orienteering to achieve the maximum positive exposure from a highly successful and professional event.
“We look forward to presenting our incredible forest, moorland, mountain and urban terrain, along with some fantastic Highland hospitality.
“The areas and arenas we are using for the races are amongst the finest that can be found anywhere in the world, and will provide a challenging test for the best athletes in the world, and an exciting experience for spectators. WOC2015 and Scotland is going to present the sport in its true competitive and accessible light.”
Scotland is the perfect stage for hosting major international sporting events and 2015 marks the third time that the country has hosted the World Orienteering Championships. The previous occasions were in 1976 and 1999. Darnaway Forest, one of the iconic 1976 venues, is being used again in 2015.