Rakvere, chosen as one of the European Towns of Sport 2022, is set to host the European orienteering championships in August this year.
The competition was supposed to take place in 2020, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will finally take place this year.
"It has been a rather complicated period, especially because the organizers were already present and ready the last time. People had made their plans and a lot of work was done to organize the European championships, but we have had to replace a significant part of the organizational team because it was not possible for people to wait two years," said Estonian Orienteering Association board member Sixten Sild.
Sild said even the main organizer has now been replaced. "But we can use most of the work we did, like the maps and routes. Many things have had to be on hold for two years and things have had to be reorganized. It has been difficult," Sild noted.
Estonia also hosted the European championships in orienteering in 2006. "I would say it is a huge thing [for the Estonian orienteering community]. Organizing this competition has been hard work, but we have taken on this burden. It is a great motivator for our team and we are pleased to see that some national team members, who were previously thinking about hanging it up, are thinking about continuing. Their goal is to be a part of the national team for the European championships," Sild said.
The event will include long distance, middle distance and a relay. Event director Raido Jaan Rei told the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) that the organizers have chosen "one of the best examples of Estonian terrain so all our guests can enjoy and have fun".
IOF wrote that the Põlula-Miila terrain is largely covered with forest and there are some beautiful and fast parts of spruce forest, but other parts of the terrain are very slow and demanding as the logging areas can be overgrown and the grass is high in the second half of the summer. Add some wet marshes and some nice detailed relief and you'll get the perfect terrain for the forest championships.
There will also be a spectator race called Estonian weekend, where fans and spectators can try their orienteering skills and compete on the same routes as elite athletes.
Find more information on the event's webpage.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste