Global progress of ski orienteering disciplines qualified for XXIX Winter World Universiade

Associate Professor A.A. Khudik1
Dr.Hab., Professor A.Yu. Bliznevsky1
Dr.Hab., Professor V. S. Bliznevskaya1
Associate Professor S.V. Khudik1
1Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk

Keywords: Winter World Universiade, sport discipline, ski orienteering, IОF.

Background. Since its establishment back in 1961 by the Constituent Assembly in Copenhagen (Denmark), the International Orienteering Federation (IОF) has taken persistent efforts to promote global competitions in this popular sport [7]. For the last few decades the IОF has been particularly active in promoting the following three disciplines: ski orienteering, foot orienteering, and MTB orienteering, with every discipline having its own World and European Championships, World Cups and other top-ranking international events for different age groups.

On June 15-18, 1977, the 79th IOC session in Prague formally recognized the sport disciplines and the IOF joined the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (АRISF) which effectively supports the member sport federations in their aspirations to qualify for the Olympic Games [6].

Comparison of the Winter (WOG) and Summer Olympic Games programs shows the winter events having large untapped reserves for a wider presentation of popular sports. As provided by the Olympic Charter item 6.2 [5], ‘Only those sports which are practised on snow or ice are considered as winter sports’. Ski orienteering discipline fully meets this requirement and, hence, has every chance to qualify for the WOG in the nearest future [1, 2, 4]. The discipline is relatively young since the first World Ski Orienteering Championship took place in 1975 in Finland. In view of the ski orienteering discipline having every chance to soon qualified for the WOG programs, it is only logical to take efforts to have the ski orienteering events included in one more top-ranking international forum that is the World Winter Universiade (WWU).

Objective of the study was to analyze the FISU sport orienteering discipline qualification requirements for the Winter World Universiade with the optional sport quotas.

Methods and structure of the study. We run a questionnaire survey and interviews of the ski orienteering experts from 22 IOF countries for the purposes of the study, made a comparative/ ranking analysis of the survey data and the relevant regulatory provisions by FISU, and offered an action plan for the ski orienteering discipline qualification for the 2019 Winter World Universiade.

Results and discussion. The WWU has been staged since 1959 once in two years in different cities and considered the key global event of the FISU. The valid WWU program includes eight formal and at most three optional sport disciplines. Sport policies of the FISU provide that only those sport disciplines that are represented in the World Student Championship programs may qualify with the optional WWU sports. As of the date of Krasnoyarsk being nominated the host city for the 2019 WWU, the ski orienteering discipline was still beyond the World Student Championship programs. For promotion of the sport, due research and institutional efforts are needed to: advance the discipline for qualification with the optional disciplines of the WWU; and meet every FISU requirement. With this purpose we surveyed and interviewed ski experts from 22 countries (Austria, Belorussia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and the US). The efforts were complemented by the target initiatives to promote the sport discipline in student communities of different nations. The initiatives and the relevant research projects have demonstrated the demand for and prospects of the World Ski Orienteering Championships and resulted in a formal application of the IOF Ski Commission to FISU.

The above efforts have resulted, among other things, in Krasnoyarsk being nominated (on November 9, 2013) a host city for 2019 WWU; plus the first (2016) World Student Ski Orienteering Championship took place in the Russian Federation (Tula city) and the second (2018) World Student Ski Orienteering Championship was organized in Estonia (Tartu).

The efforts to promote the sport discipline have been successful in many aspects. Thus the appeal and popularity of the televised coverage of the ski orienteering events was found as high as for the ski races and biathlon – as demonstrated by two TV broadcasts from the 2014 European Ski Orienteering Championship in Tyumen successfully replayed by Match TV and Sportbox channels. The 2017 World Ski Orienteering Championship in Krasnoyarsk was twice broadcast for service testing pursposes prior to the 2019 WWU on the same channel, with 15 TV cameras covering the event on the ski orienteering tracks. 

It should be mentioned that most of the international ski orienteering competitions in the new millennium are run on the ski stadiums or in biathlon complexes with their competitive tracks and with special extra skiing facilities and tracks. The extra ski tracks are often plotted as allowed by the local terrains around the ski stadiums, with each athlete being free to map out his own route in between the check points in a most efficient manner, otherwise any advantage may be lost in a few seconds, and such dramatic moments only boost the interest in and popularity of the events. The real-time tracking of the individual progress on the track by GPS set carried by every competitor makes it possible to follow the individual successes and blunders on the distance and assess the individual tactics and competitive performancea; and all that makes the modern ski orienteering sport highly appealing and promising for the TV broadcasts.

The participation in the World Student Championships has grown from 12 nations in 2016 to 14 nations in 2018 (in Estonia); and 21 nations are going to join the 2019 World Winter Universiad. The growing popularity appears to be largely due to the sport promotion campaign focused on the ski sprint, pursuit race, mixed relay race and mass starts. This program gives a chance to every national student delegation to claim at least in a small team for every event. Our analysis of the expected participation in the 2019 World Winter Universiad (see Table 1 hereunder) shows the ski orienteering discipline being fairly well represented in this top-ranking international event hosted for the first time by the Russian Federation.

Table 1. Expected participation in the 2019 World Winter Universiad by sport disciplines

Sports

National student sport federations

Females

Males

Total

Formal sports

Alpine skiing

45

149

123

272

Snowboard

30

105

76

181

Biathlon

20

59

53

112

Ski races

33

117

97

214

Curling

12

47

49

96

Figure skating

41

57

137

194

Ice hockey

13

274

135

409

Short track

22

66

49

115

Optional sports

Ski orienteering

20

57

51

108

Freestyle

24

98

63

161

Bandy

7

96

64

160

The regional Krasnoyarsk Areal Sport Orienteering Federation and sport club of the Siberian Federal University have been very active and successful in promoting the ski orienteering to the list of sports for the event [3].

Conclusion. Having analyzed the FISU operations and regulatory framework, we found a new window of opportunities for the ski orienteering progress on the global arenas with good prospects for the ski orienteering disciplines qualification for the nearest Winter World Universiade. As required by the valid FISU regulations, a sport discipline may qualify for the World Universiade when it is listed among the optional disciplines by at least three successive Winter World Universiades. This means that the ski orienteering disciplines may qualify for the 2012 Winter World Universiade in Switzerland and 2023 Winter World Universiade in the US, with the sport community supported by the IOF management encouraged to take persistent efforts to make this happen.

References

  1. Bliznevsky A.Yu., Bliznevskaya V.S. Winter Sports for Olimpic Program Addition [Winter Sports for Olimpic Program Addition]. Zhurnal Sibirskogo federalnogo universiteta, ser. Gumanitarnye nauki, 2011, no. 4 (3), pp. 309-314.
  2. Bliznevsky A.Yu., Bliznevskaya V.S. Perspektivy vidov sporta dlya vklyucheniya v Programmu zimnikh Olimpiyskikh igr [Perspectives for inclusion in Winter Olympic Games Program].  Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2010, pp 11, pp. 71-73.
  3. Bliznevsky A.Yu., Bliznevskaya V.S., Khudik S.V., Vinnikova E.V. Ot kraevykh studencheskikh sportivnykh meropriyatiy do Vsemirnoy universiady v Krasnoyarske [From Regional Student Sports Events to World Student Games in Krasnoyarsk]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2014, no. 1, pp. 45-48.
  4. Bliznevsky A.Yu., Khudik A.A., Bliznevskaya V.S. et al. Distsipliny lyzhnogo orientirovaniya kak naibolee perspektivnye dlya vklyucheniya v Programmu ZOI [Ski orienteering disciplines as most promising for inclusion in healthy lifestyle Program]. Zhurnal Sibirskogo federalnogo universiteta, ser. Gumanitarnye nauki, 2015, no. 8 (11), pp. 2233-2236.
  5. Olimpiyskaya Hartiya [Olympic Charter]. Approved by the 127th Session of the IOC on December 8, 2014. Printed by DidWeDo S.à.r.l. Lausanne,108 p.
  6. Ustav Assotsiatsii mezhdunarodnykh sportivnykh federatsiy, priznannykh MOK [Statute of the Association of International Sports Federations recognized by the IOC]. Approved at the session of the ARISF General Assembly on April 6, 2006. Helsinki. HelsinkiСompetition rules for International Orienteering Federation (IOF) ski orienteering events. Approved by IOF Ski Orienteering Commission, valid from 1 May 2015, 50 p.

Corresponding author: bliznevsky58@mail.ru

Abstract

The article analyzes the sport discipline qualification requirements for the Winter World Universiade with the optional sport quotas; outlines the current progress and benefits of the modern ski orienteering disciplines; offers the frame program of competitions that has been tested in the past World University Championships; and analyzes the public appeal related benefits of the modern ski orienteering disciplines for the mass media companies.

We run a questionnaire survey and interviews of the ski orienteering experts from 22 IOF countries for the purposes of the study, made a comparative/ ranking analysis of the output data, and offered an action plan for the ski orienteering disciplines qualification for the 2019 Winter World Universiade.

Having analyzed the FISU operations and regulatory framework, we found a new window of opportunities for the ski orienteering progress on the global arenas with good prospects for the ski orienteering disciplines qualification for the nearest Winter World Universiade. As required by the valid FISU regulations, a sport discipline may qualify for the World Universiade when it is listed among the optional disciplines by at least three successive Winter World Universiades. This means that the ski orienteering disciplines may qualify for the 2012 Winter World Universiade in Switzerland and 2023 Winter World Universiade in the US, with the sport community supported by the IOF management encouraged to take persistent efforts to make this happen.