The second World Ranking Event (WRE) hosted by Malaysia took place in Kuantan last weekend. Orienteers from 10 countries/regions joined one of the largest orienteering events in Southeast Asia.
The WRE is part of the Tropical Orienteering Week, a cooperation between the Malaysian Orienteering Federation and ORIEN.ASIA. The O-Week includes eight races over ten days, the first half of which has ended with a sprint in Taman Bandar (city park) on Monday. Among the participants are orienteers from Scandinavia and Hong Kong; they are staying for the entire O-Week and are using the opportunity to explore the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Kuantan is the capital of the state of Pahang, and faces the South China Sea. Besides Malays, it is also home to a large Cantonese-speaking population. The main driver of orienteering development in Kuantan is Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (POLISAS), where teachers and students are enthusiastic in orienteering. Kuantan is not particularly known for tourism, but its pristine beaches, like Teluk Cempedak and Tanjung Lumpur, provide a good opportunity to attract more travellers in the future.
Malaysia will also host a WRE on 6–8 December 2019, at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Please read as it contains important information regarding airport transfer, shuttle bus to WRE quarantine, etc.
Course information and start lists to come later.
The WRE registration is now closed but you can still register to other races of the week! If you’ve already registered for WRE/National Ranking event but not the other races, you can make supplementary entries to the half/full week packages (i.e. all races except WRE/NRE).
The World Orienteering Championships (the first middle/long only edition under the new system) is over. Forest orienteering is usually not the tenor of Asian orienteers. So how are they doing in the Norwegian terrain?
1. Increased opportunities for Asian orienteers in new system
Since this year, WOC editions will be forest or sprint only, alternating each year. For the forest edition, the extra time means the middle distance qualification is back, and with it all three slots for each country regardless of past results.
(The long distance is still straight final only, and quota distribution following the “division” system which depends on past results. Under this system, orienteers can still get onto the start list by winning a regional championship, such as AsOC.)
In the new system, 15 slots for each gender in the middle distance final goes to countries that don’t have any runners qualified yet by rank. This system is a huge boost for Asian orienteers—Chinese and Japanese orienteers got into the final thanks to this rule.
2. Japan and China the best East Asian countries
As we have seen from the previous point, Japan and China are the best East Asian teams in WOC this year. (Israel is the only Asian country to perform better than both, but only in men’s, since it didn’t field a women’s team.)
However, all of the aforementioned countries finished in the latter half of the results list. Not only do Asians have a relative physical disadvantage, but they also don’t have the right kind of forest terrain to train on (European bias perhaps?).
Way to go, Asians!
3. Where are the other countries?
If you think that high-level orienteering events are a “Club of Europe”, you’re not alone. European (arguably Scandinavian) domination aside, the other continents do have way to go even in terms of participation. Hong Kong and Japan are particularly active, China, South Korea, North Korea (just Kyong-sa Ri this year) and Taiwan (as Chinese Taipei, didn’t send team to WOC this year but did have some spectators having fun) are also quite active, but the rest are still starting.