Scottish team at the World Schools Champs 2019
The 2019 WSCO held in Otepää, Estonia from 28 April to 5 May was the 10th event attended by a separate Scotland team, with support from the Orienteering Foundation. The team sent us this report.
This time around we were only able to attend with the younger age group due to the clash with the SQA exams and we therefore travelled with an inexperienced but enthusiastic team of 15 athletes. Due to flight restrictions the Team arrived a day early and were able to explore Tallinn Old Town and have an easy run in Kadriorg Park using the map from the 2016 World Masters. Enterprising as ever, the boys entertained the locals and tourist alike in the early evening with their dancing to the pipes of Alastair McCartney.
Scotland travelled from Tallinn along with some of the Swedish Team and on arrival we were allocated a hotel Guest House complete with sauna and small swimming lake, an easy 10 minute walk from the main event arena. Although the accommodation was separate we took our meals in the main hotel with the New Zealand, Italian and Israeli delegations allowing the athletes to get to know some of the other competitors.
All of the competitions were based within walking distance of the Tehvandi Stadium whose main purpose is to host cross country skiing and biathlon competitions up to European Championship level. The long distance race was held on a sunny, warm day through low visibility terrain and rough pasture before a final burst into the stadium to finish. Two excellent podium finishes were gained by Angus Ivory with 4th in the M2 Schools and Ewan Musgrave with 6th in M2 Select.
The Middle distance race was held in similar but slightly more open terrain with a cold wind and occasional snow flurries to encourage the athletes to keep running. A further podium finish was gained by Ewan Musgrave, this time moving up to an excellent 4th place, 16 seconds off a medal.
In the overall team results the Select boys just missed a medal in 4th, the Select Girls took 7th spot and George Heriot's School from Edinburgh claimed a very creditable 8th place.
The final competition is the Friendship Team Event - a wonderful concept that Clubs could adopt to great effect. Scotland continued our "liking" for fourth spot with Jon Musgrave leading his coaches team from Lithuania into that position.
The main cultural event was a visit to Tartu, Estonia's second largest city. The morning was spent at the AAHH Science Centre which was an almost totally hands on experience which engaged most of the 600 competitors and many of the coaches for over 2 hours. the Organising Team had then put on an orienteering game combining GPS and general knowledge questions that guided the groups of athletes to the university building where the Nations Fair was to be held.
The usual Scottish offerings of sweet and savoury delicacies were well met by the other teams and accompanied by our piper a barn dance and dashing white sergeant were performed. Many of our team felt that this was a real highlight as it gave them the opportunity to get to know athletes from the other countries and to see and taste different cultures for the first time,
The Championships closed with the Team Awards and the handing over of the ISF flag to Serbia who host in 2021 before the party began and a good evening was had by all.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen especially the Orienteering Foundation, Fields in Trust and the SOA.