During the last Congress of the International Orienteering Federation, held in Strömstad, Sweden, the Brazilian Orienteering Confederation revealed its interest in the possible organization of the World Orienteering Championships “in the future”. Proving that that intention is to be taken seriously, we get news from the other side of the Atlantic about Brazil's application to organize the WOC 2021.
Through its Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/www.cbo.org.br/ -, the Brazilian Orienteering Confederation (BOC) made known that its President, Luiz Sérgio Mendes, was recently in Campo Alegre, in the Santa Catarina state, in search of support for the organization of the World Orienteering Championships 2021. The initiative follows the International Orienteering Federation's statement, in the Congress of Strömstad, that World Orienteering Championships should be held in countries outside of Europe, an idea enthusiastically supported by the Brazilian Confederation.
Through its President, Luiz Sérgio Mendes, the BOC expressed its intention to move forward with an application in the future, just not specifying when. We know, now, that the “future” is 2021 and it's Luiz Sérgio Mendes, himself, who confirms it: “We took the initiative to say, during the IOF Congress, that Brazil would be a candidate to organize a WOC in the future. We believe that we have the conditions to go forward with the application as early as 2021 and we understand that, by proposing the coming of this event to Brazil, we will be acting according to the IOF's goal to make our sport Olympic, since it would demonstrate to the World that Orienteering is, in fact, becoming global.” Incidentally, regarding the ideal of “Orienteering's globalization”, Mendes is very clear: “Orienteering can't truly be present on a Continent if there are no major competitions in it. It's based on this premise that we intend to apply. I believe that our sport can't evolve internationally if it doesn't move outside of Europe.”
The search has already begun
The search for places to host the event began in Campo Alegre, in Santa Catarina. “We are still in a preliminary step of the organization and we have several regions in sight. Santa Catarina was the first to be visited because we believe that the region has the potential to host the event.” Luiz Sérgio Mendes also referred Paraná, a neighbouring state of Santa Catarina, “also with great potential and suitable terrains”. But remembers that “the decision will not be made only by the BOC; if the application is accepted, we will have the visit of an IOF representative who will come to check the areas, helping us to take the decision.”
“As for the cartography”, Mendes continues, “these regions have a fairly extensive area that is already mapped. After the decision about the venue, we will start to work on nearby areas to host local and regional events, aiming to offer opportunities for training and competition to those who want to know the types of terrains in the region”. Mendes also advances with the CBO's intention to organize, next to the region considered for the WOC, an international level event in the previous year, “to enable training opportunities to future participants”, he says.
A winning project
The team in charge isn't lacking commitment and resolution, facing the task to carry out the project until the end. “From our point of view, this is a winning project as it offers the IOF an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment in presenting its major events to other continents and recognize that it's necessary to support applications from those countries who are keen on organizing such events”, the BOC's President says.
Recalling the existence of a Working Group for South America and the accomplishment in Chile of the first South American Orienteering Championships recognized by the IOF, Luiz Sérgio Mendes intends to embrace South America as a whole, through the organization of the WOC. On this subject, he says: “The organization of this event in Brazil can boost Orienteering practise growth in South America, as it will show to the South-American countries that the IOF is not a distant institution, but a Federation that really wants to embrace the whole World. This will motivate the national leaders to organize themselves better, to be more competitive and will facilitate the presence of their national teams, since Brazil borders practically all countries, except for Chile and Ecuador”. But he doesn't hesitate to also reflect about the importance of the event, internally: “For Brazil, it would be a unique opportunity to affirm itself as a Regional power, not in the sense of winning Championships, but in the ability to organize events and to show that the sport is totally formalized here. That would also change the internal status of Orienteering, because the coming of such an important event would give us the visibility that we need to increase the number of Orienteering fans in the Country”, he says.
2017, a decisive year
Luiz Sérgio Mendes also reveals the intention to “take this opportunity to improve the general quality of our major internal events, shaping them in the same way as those organized in the countries where Orienteering is fully developed”. Denying the idea of “copying models”, rather than understanding that “we have to learn from the countries that are ahead of us”, Mendes concludes that “isolated in South America we can't grow.”
“The next step is to finish the written part of the project and present it to the IOF”, says Luiz Sérgio Mendes, adding that the BOC is also in touch with the Ministry of Sports, preparing a technical note for the Secretariat of Sport of High-Performance, in order to get support for the cause. “2016 was the year of the Olympics and the country was focused on it. The arrival of 2017 changes this situation and opens up good possibilities”, he concludes.
[Photo: Brazilian Orienteering Confederation / facebook.com/www.cbo.org.br/]