The World Orienteering Championships for 2014 start tomorrow (Sat 5th July) in Venice with the Sprint Qualifications at 9:00am local time (17:00 EST). The women’s first start is at 9:00am and the men’s at 10:00. Today the Australian team is travelling from their pre camp base at Luserna the 2.5 hour drive down to Venice to participate in the model event and to stay at accommodation at Jesolo Event Centre north east from Venice. The team, apart from doing some last minute preparation- technically and mentally for the races coming up have been relaxing and enjoying the mountain environment.
2014 Australian WOC Team
Wendy Read, Jasmine Neve, Julian Dent, Vanessa Round, Simon Uppill, Rachel Effeney, Chris Naunton, Hanny Allston, Lachlan Dow, Felicity Brown, Tom Quayle.
The sprint qualification will be held in Burano and Mazzorbo islands. This area is partly urban with very narrow streets and a canal with bridges. The rest of the area is less built and more green with some farmland. The area is closed off for traffic.
Burano is an island in the northern Venetian Lagoon and is 11km from Venice.
Ever seen those photos of Venice that show brightly-painted buildings and flowerpots. Those aren’t from the main island of Venice, but Burano. Families used to paint their homes in bright colors to designate where their family’s quarters ended and a neighbor’s began, as well as to make their homes more visible from the sea. The tradition has stuck. Burano has a problem in winter when it suffers from severe acqua alta, or flooding. Not sure what the tides are like today but I am sure the athletes won’t be running in water at WOC.
The sprint qualification and final day is quite a logistical challenge for the organisers who will be providing private boats to transport the athletes to the quarantine area at Burano for the qualification. Those athletes who qualify for the final will have to stay at Burano until 12:30 and then take a private boat on a one hour trip to the quarantine at Venice in preparation for the final. The final’s first start for women (4km) is at 15:20 local time (23:20EST) and for men (4.4km) first start is at 16:25 local time (00:25EST). The top 15 runners from each qualification start in the final. The winning times for both women and men is expected to be 15 minutes.
The final will be held on the eastern section of Venice Island. Some of the Australian team have been training in Venice recently and Graham Hammond has made a great video of their training.
Australia will be represented in the women’s qualification heats by: Hanny Allston, Felicity Brown and Rachel Effeney, and in the men’s qualification heats by Lachlan Dow, Julian Dent and Simon Uppill.