16.07.2023 - The Classic

Die Swiss O Week 2023 started in the Bermuda Triangle

Memorable events could be experienced this Sunday: for one, the relay races of the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) and also the first stage of the Swiss O Week. Both of them on the same day, at reasonable times and in areas that are regionally easily accessible!

Two young SOW runners raved about it in the Prau la Selva competition center. The course in the notorious Flimser woods-Bermuda Triangle was more demanding and the controls were harder to find than expected in the shortened long-distance orienteering event. However, they were more or less satisfied with their results even if they lacked the necessary breath for running faster times on some of the forest stretches.

The two organizations also received praise for superbly coordinating the infrastructures. Only when it came to the quality of performance between WOC and SOW runners they did not agree at all! If one compares times, route choices or mistakes made, the differences would have been like day and night. In soccer jargon one would speak of Champions League vs. amateur neighborhood tournament. The running friend immediately dismissed this as nonsense: one should not compare the world elite with amateur orienteers. The elite races have come out of amateur sport events. Referring to himself he said that the Swiss O Week had inspired him as a boy when he gained his first experiences on children’s courses and has remained true to the orienteering sport to this day!

Both agreed on two facts though. The comparison with soccer would actually be unfair, especially considering the remuneration or changes of clubs. Millionaires and poor orienteering fellows would face each other, apart from the hype in the media and the behavior of the audience. In this regard, orienteering shows its qualities once again: even at a World Cup, no bawling half-drunks of spectators could be heard, instead happily cheering sport fans could be enjoyed. And absolutely no trash was detected anywhere in the competition center.

This would make the term of an amateur neighborhood tournament positive again. By the way, the term Bermuda Triangle originated in the middle of the last century, when numerous planes and ships inexplicably disappeared in the Caribbean. In contrast, all SOW runners found their way home after crossing the finish line!

Text: Oskar Schiess (translated by Béatrice Zurcher)

Photos: Urban Engel


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