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Announcement re Team Canada participation at WOC, JWOC, 1st World Cup

On February 25th, Orienteering Canada’s Board of Directors met and made the unanimous decision not to send any athletes to WOC, JWOC, and the first World Cup round, as currently scheduled. If any of these events are rescheduled for later in 2021, Orienteering Canada will revisit this decision.

We understand that some athletes had expressed interest in going if they could and we are sorry that those athletes will not be able to compete. However, we feel it is critical that Orienteering Canada play a leadership role within the orienteering community by acting upon our collective responsibility to health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means respecting all public health rules and recommendations. To sanction travel for any orienteers would undermine this position.

A lot of discussion took place and it was not an easy decision but ultimately it was made for the following reasons:

  • Orienteering Canada feels it is important to adhere to public health measures including limiting travel.
  • Orienteering Canada’s insurance is not willing to directly cover Orienteering Canada or its athletes for any COVID-related issues.
  • The situation in Canada and in many places around the world is not improving at a rate that looks like it will be reasonable and safe to travel in July. Rather than waiting to get a clearer picture of what travel restrictions will be in the early summer, making this decision now allows us to work on other plans for Team Canada athletes for the season.
  • Few athletes had expressed interest in participating in these events. It is therefore hard to justify spending money and energy supporting teams in Europe when those resources can be used to develop the Team Canada Program and support more athletes in other ways.

The Team Canada strategic plan that we have been working on for the past 8 months puts the focus on athlete development and teamwork. So the large silver lining here is that we can have an even stronger focus on our strategic plan this year. Here are some of the initiatives that we will be spending our energy and resources on:

  • Local training camps with remote coaching (instruction and debriefs via Zoom).
  • Increased time spent on general program development for long-term gains, such as setting up course planning initiatives and developing relationships with clubs to support the program and our athletes.
  • World Cup rounds two and three. If the COVID situation has improved for these events we will consider sending a full team to one of these events with a coach and team leader to support in place of WOC.

We would not be able to fully support the above items if we had to spend time, energy, and money on WOC, JWOC, and the first World Cup round.

Jeff Teutsch
High Performance Director
Orienteering Canada

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