22-28 April, Sicily
The World Schools competition takes place every 2 years, with school teams and also select teams. This year, there were over 800 participants, in 146 teams, from 27 countries. The week included social and cultural events, as well as the orienteering, with opportunities to make new friends from all over the world.
Rachel Brown was in the Scotland Select W2 team (junior girls), along with Alice Wilson (CLYDE), Lizzie Stansfield (FVO), Megan Keith (INVOC) and Amber Graham (MAROC). As the competition dates were very close to the Scottish exams, Scotland did not take Select M1 (senior boys) or W1 (senior girls) teams to the event this time.
The model event and opening ceremony were on 23 April; the Long Distance race took place on 24 April; on 25 April there was a Friendship team event in the old city centre of Palermo; 26 April was a cultural day in Palermo, with teams each presenting the culture of their country; the Middle Distance race was on 27 April, followed later that day by the closing ceremony and farewell party.
The orienteering took place in various parts of Bosco della Ficuzza, the largest forested area in Sicily, a long slope with many small valleys and spurs, and a wide variety of trees, as well as semi-open areas. There was some very spiky undergrowth. Rachel had a great result in the Long race, coming 19th out of 69, and came 45th in the Middle Distance race. The three best pairs of results from team members count towards to the team total – Rachel was one of the counters, and the Scotland Select W2 team came 6th overall.
The Friendship relay is a mass start score event, where each team has three competitors from different countries. The teams receive the map 30 minutes before the start, then divide the controls between them, except for 3 controls that they must all visit together. They must also finish the race together, so good strategy is important. There were over 200 teams, and Rachel’s team came 26th – the other team members were from England and Ukraine.
The next World Schools orienteering event will be in 2019 in Estonia.
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