More than 20 countries competed in ISF World School Championships in Scotland and eleven of them left for home on Sunday with medals- including China's Zhan Xi Ying.
Swedish seniors Anna Segersson and Johanna Olsson both went home with triple gold winning both the long and middle distance events, Anna running in the schools section for Eskjo Gym. while Johanna was just as dominant in the select or individual entry event.Both also helped their countries to both team gold medals.
There were three golds - long, middle and team- too for English juniors Charlotte Watson and Jonathon Crickmore in their select divisions.
There were impressive performances overall from Sweden, England and Latvia.
How do they do it?
The Swedes owe much to their Orienteering School system with the two largest Eskjo and Sandviken making up the bulk of their team in Edinburgh, which competed only at senior level. Swedish Orienteering has a partnership with some six schools over the country where budding orienteers can opt in to get the best of orienteering training as well as teaching in more traditional subjects.
The English have some 59% of schools now doing some orienteering within the curriculum but continue to owe much to those O-enthusiasts who are working in schools across the country such as Ulverston and Nottigham. But their links with the British School Orienteering Association system which is producing a two way feed between the schools and clubs seems to be producing dividends. "Our good club orienteers will get school teams together for the British school championships, " says Peter Christopher. " They know they need to have school teams registered and school teams at these championships if they are to get to them. And they want to be at these championships."
Latvia's Ivars Klavins, junior schools middle distance winner at Barr Wood, was their only individual gold medalist, but they won seven other silver and bronze and in the team competition they took both the junior men's titles and won senior girls select plus senior men's school bronze. They shared gold, silver and bronze in the final day Friendship International Team event. "Most schools in Latvia do orienteering," explains Inguna Valdmane, one of the team leaders in Edinburgh. "They run after school. In my school they do it three times a week. Often it is not as a sport but as a recreation activity."
Friendship Relay, Sat 26th
An international trio of England's Tom Louth, Zhan Xi Ying, of China and Karlis Baltacis of Latvia won the Friendship Team event as the ISF World School Championship Orienteering finished in Edinburgh, Scotland today. The novel score style event brings together mixed international teams of roughly the same calibre, with runners going their separate ways but meeting up at three controls and finally to cross the finish line in the city's historic Holyrood Park together.
Last month, the same venue was used for the World Cross-country Championships but today, orienteering's kids showed what cross-country running really means.
They were given an hour to work out who should visit which controls so as to balance off the team effort.
Xi Ying gave China its first success as her squad crossed the line in 31m55s. Lauren Eyre (Scotland) John Persson (sweden) and Toms Riekstins of Latvia won silver, 24 seconds down on the winners with a time of 32m19s. And Slovenia's Bojan Kavcic, Agnese Baronina of Latvia, with England's Peter Hodkinson were third in 32:21. Peter had been first to reach the final control but then had to wait for his team mates before chasing the team ahead home.
The team medals were presented today at the Holyrood Parliament venue. Sweden who contested only the senior championships dominated these team events Eskjo Gym. winning the four women's and men's school overall titles although their men had finished second to England in the select/individual team rankings in the middle distance event.
The Latvians were rarely off the podium collecting team gold in the junior boys school and select , gold again in the junior girls school event, silver in the junior girls select and bronze in both the senior girls select and the senior boys school competitions. England's junior girls won select team gold.
Barr Wood, Middle distance, Fri 25th
The English squad picked up three gold medals two silver and two bronze. Charlotte Watson and Jonathon Crickmore, long course winners at Devilla on Tuesday, made it two out of two in the select entry division. And senior select runner Kristian Jones, third on Tuesday beat Tuesday's winner, Swedish 16y age group champion Albin Ridefeldt into second.
Sweden, also with seven individual medals, but just two gold, were runners up, while Latvia were third. Swedish gold came from two times winners Johanna Olson (senior select) and Anna Segersson (senior schools).
Latvia's gold on the day came from junior select winner Ivars Klavins, Tuesday's winner who led Latvia to team success over host country Scotland.
English overall success owed much to Spain's Antonio Martinez , sprint silver medallist in the European Youth Championships last year, who won the senior boys school division by almost two minutes, so stopping a Swedish 1/2/3 result for a third gold and eight medals overall.
Results for the Long Race at Devilla
WSCO finds its way to Holyrood - Opening Ceremony
You can download a video of the opening ceremony from the Scottish Parliament website.
Holyrood will welcome participants of the 2008 International SchoolSport Federation (ISF) World Schools Orienteering Championships next week. The competition’s opening ceremony will take place in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 22 April at 6:30pm, followed by the closing ceremony in the landscaped gardens on Saturday 26 April from 2pm.
The Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer will host the events, alongside the Health and Sport Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP. This is the first ISF Championship held in the UK.
Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said:
"Orienteering is obviously a very challenging sport, and although a competition, this event provides the opportunity for young people from across the globe to come together in the spirit of international friendship. I am especially delighted that the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are being held in Scotland’s Parliament and that we will be able to warmly welcome each one of these young Ambassadors."
The ceremonies are part of a week long festival of sport, cultural, social and educational activities for the 450 participants between 13 and 16 years of age from 20 countries – Austria, Belgium, China, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. During the week, participants will take part in three races, one in Fife, Stirling and Edinburgh
During the week, 80 Scottish school pupils from the following 12 schools will take part:
- Aboyne Academy (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine);
- Belmont Academy (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley);
- Biggar High School (Clydesdale);
- Craigmount High (Edinburgh West);
- Currie High (Edinburgh Pentlands);
- Douglas Academy (Clydebank and Milngavie);
- Firrhill High (Edinburgh Pentlands);
- Jedburgh Grammar (Roxburgh and Berwickshire);
- Kilmarnock Academy (Kilmarnock and Loudoun);
- Lanark Grammar (Clydesdale);
- Peebles High (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale);
- St. Thomas Aquinas (Glasgow Anniesland).
On Tuesday, guests including the Secretary General of the International SchoolSport Federation, Jan Coolen, will be greeted by pipers from Boghall and Bathgate Juvenile Pipe band and entertained by the Royal Scotland Country Dance Society.
Prior to the closing ceremony on Saturday 26 April, there is an opportunity for all the schoolchildren, coaches and heads of delegations to take part in a friendship relay where teams of three orienteers from different nations compete in a fast, furious and friendly race in Edinburgh city centre including Holyrood Park.
The closing ceremony will then take place in the Parliament’s landscaped gardens between 2.00pm and 3.30pm, hosted by the Presiding Officer. Medals will be awarded by the Presiding Officer and Christine Grahame MSP Convener, Health and Sport Committee. Edinburgh Samba Band will entertain the crowds and championship participants.
The Scottish Parliament’s official photographer will be in attendance at both ceremonies. Media interested in attending should contact the Parliament’s Media Relations Office (details follow) to secure access.
Background to the event
The International SchoolSport Federation (ISF) is the World organising body for school sport. With a membership of over 60 countries from all five continents, the Federation organises World Championships in a wide range of sports.
Roads around the Parliament and Holyrood Park will be closed from 7.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 26 April to accommodate the friendship relay in Holyrood Park and the closing ceremony in the landscaped gardens.
The Scottish Parliament contact for members of the media is:
Sally Coyne: 0131 348 6265 RNID TypeTalk calls welcome