World Old Boys (+Girls) Champs

In about seven months, Portugal will be the centre of the Orienteering world: here will be held the World Masters Orienteering Championship 2008.
The International Orienteering Federation (IOF), during the Congress in Japan in August 2005, awarded to the Portuguese Federation of Orienteering (FPO) the organisation of WMOC'08, which will take place between the 28th of June and the 05th of July 2008, in the Leiria, Marinha Grande, Alcobaçand Nazaréegions.
The WMOC is the biggest Championship event of Orienteering at the world-wide level. Athletes from all over the world participate with numbers expected to be between 4.500 and 5.000. The organisation will count on about 300 volunteers from the majority of the national clubs, to help with all the tasks involved. At present, almost 2.500 athletes from around 40 countries are entered. Norway has the biggest delegation, followed by Finland and Sweden.
FPO is making a big effort in promoting the Portuguese WMOC. There has already been a major presence in Ruka (Finland), at WMOC'07, with one stand dedicated to this important event and where the country’s tourism and many of its attributes were emphasised.
The competition classes go from Men/Women35 to Men/Women90 years old. ErkKi Luntamo from Finland and Elisabeth Brown from Great Britain are, for now, the super Masters present at 94 and 90 years old respectively. The Finnish athlete has also participated in all past WMOC events.
For the first time this event will have a different format with two championships: Sprint and Long Distance, with finals held at Vieira beach and Pedró on the 30th of June and 05th of July, respectively. In all there will be 13 races, including training and open courses where it will even be possible for beginners to try orienteering..
The IOF Senior Event Adviser, David May, believes that WMOC’08 will be a landmark in the development of the WMOC. “The addition of the new Sprint Championships will make the competition even more attractive, especially for those who thought the previous three race format to be too short. The main challenge lies in persuading older competitors that “Sprint” is just as much for them as it is for the elite. Perhaps the name is the problem – if it were called “Urban” for example, then maybe the thought that you had to run round at 100 kph would disappear! All I know is that the more older runners compete in Sprint races, the more they appreciate just how fantastic the format is, whatever their running speed might be”.
One of the great benefits for the region will be the legacy of maps needed for the events. The cartography used and approved by the IOF using the International Specifications for Orienteering Maps (ISOM), is the most developed cartography that exists. 40 km2 of maps have already been mapped around (urban in Leiria and Vieira Beach and forest maps in Pedreanes, Marinha Grande, SãPedro de Moel, Pataias and Pedró).
The WMOC’08 will bring to the region around 10.000 people, among them athletes, families and friends who will be very important for local tourism, restaurants, monuments, transport, etc.
Outside the competition, the organisation is planning a great social and cultural programme with visits and musical events, and the official banquet in the Monastery of Alcobaçshould prove to be the main talking point. Everyone in the organisation are working extremely hard in order to ensure a great success. An update on progress is promised soon.

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