“Crystal snow of alpine quality” for Turkey showpiece

The European Ski Orienteering Championships (ESOC) in Sarıkamış, Turkey is officially over.

It was a successful event, showing that a new country for Ski Orienteering can organise it at a high level.

IOF Ski Orienteering Commission Chair Tatiana Kalenderoğlu talked to quite a few elite competitors, and all said that they did not really know what to expect. A country known as a great summer sea resort now hosting a Ski Orienteering competition! What kind of courses will there be? How difficult will it be to deal with altitude 2,100 m above sea level?

ESOC Opening Ceremony: from left Tatiana Kalenderoğlu (in blue top), the Governor of Kars (the local province) and Hacer Akyuz, President of the Turkish Orienteering Federation

Gold medallist at the Middle distance, Magdalena Olsson from Sweden, said after winning that she had enjoyed a perfect race, and this ESOC was the best she had taken part in in recent years. Sergey Gorlanov from Russia, who took medals of all kind at these competitions, also chose this ESOC as the best he had participated in.

The courses were challenging and interesting. There were a lot of route choices, and of course a lot of stamina was needed to go through them at the highest speed. Everywhere we had nice crystal snow of alpine quality – it is a speciality of Sarıkamış.

The Turkish Orienteering Federation led by President Hacer Akyuz, the most experienced organisers from Turkey led by Event Director Ibrahim Coşkun and Technical Director Veysel Guler, many volunteers, and a professional team from Bulgaria who were responsible for the forest part: they all worked hard together to make this event memorable and great. Great work was done by Senior  Event Adviser Markku Vauhkonen, Finland and Assistant Event Adviser Vadim Konyshev, Russia.

Of course there are always ways to make an event even better, and the organisers will work on that when preparing another High Level SkiO event, which no doubt has every possibility to be in Sarıkamış again.”

A new challenge for Turkey’s event organisers
Not content to sit back after this successful experience, Turkey will be hosting the Junior World Championships in 2020, and preparations for this are already well under way. The event will be based on the town of Gebze, close to the Marmara Sea in the province of Kocaeli in the north-west of the country, easily reached from Istanbul. Bulletin 1 with essential event details can be found against the event listing in IOF Eventor.