WOC 2023: World Orienteering Championships 2023 will take place in Flims Laax
The world orienteering championships 2023 (WOC) will take place in Flims Laax. The comprehensive application dossier has convinced the board of directors of the international orienteering federation IOF. Now, the detailed planning for this big international event is starting. After 1981, 2003 and 2012, Switzerland will again host the world orienteering championships in four years. During the current WOC being held in Norway, the Board of Directors of the international orienteering federation IOF has decided that the title races for the world’s best orienteers will take place in Flims Laax from 10 to 16 July 2023. The IOF Board of Directors has assessed the two candidacy dossiers from Switzerland and Finland and decided to grant the event to Switzerland.
The approval for world orienteering championships pleased the organisation involved in the candidacy, “we are proud to be able to organise the world championships in Switzerland for the fourth time,” says Jürg Hellmüller, president of the Swiss orienteering federation. This decision confirms the professional work done in the area of international orienteering events held in Switzerland over the last years. “Organising another world championship is a big highlight for the orienteering nation Switzerland”, continues Hellmüller.
Equal joy is expressed in the world championship destination of Flims Laax about the positive decision of the IOF: “we are convinced that we can offer together with the orienteering organisers top-class competitions to the world elite athletes in challenging and very beautiful areas”, declares tourism director André Gisler. Additionally, the tourism region Flims Laax Falera presents ideal conditions for hosting such a big world class event in terms of infrastructure and with many years of experience holding orienteering races with attractive offers for the spectators.
The most compact WOC of all times
This argument must also have convinced the BOD of the IOF: “WOC 2023 will be the most compact event in the history of orienteering: the accommodation, the event centre and the racing areas are all accessible on foot within the shortest time”, mentions Nik Suter from Aargau, member of the IOF BOD. It is planned that Laax-Murschetg will become the real heart of WOC 2023. The event centre will be in the rockresort where the medal ceremonies and the framework programmes will take place. The athletes will be lodging in and around the rockresort.
WOC 2023 will be a “forest” competition where athletes will be running the middle- and long-distance races as well as the relay. The new format of Forest-WOC currently takes place for the first time in Norway and afterwards alternately in the following years of the Sprint WOC which in turn includes mostly the short and urban orienteering disciplines. The alpine terrain around Flims Laax Falera offers an optimal orienteering area: the forests are technically challenging and often considered by insiders as orienteering “gems”.
50‘000 overnight stays are expected With WOC 2023 the orienteering nation Switzerland also wants to set new standards in the field of e-sports. It is planned that the first E-World Orienteering Championships will take place in less than four years where gamers will compete for the first time for medals in virtual terrain. Such a vision fits perfectly to the destination Flims Laax Falera as they are particularly active in the area of digitalisation. NAside from a new, innovative idea, WOC 2023 will also continue with well-tried events. Parallel to the world’s title races, the Swiss Orienteering Week (SOW), a popular 6-day orienteering event for recreational athletes will be held. Already in 2011, the SOW took place around Flims Laax Falera and attracted over 4’000 orienteers from Switzerland and all over the world. In 2023 also, Flims Laax should become the orienteering Mecca as it is estimated to generate around 50’000 overnight stays thanks to WOC and SOW. Participants from over 50 nations are expected to come. ”The high volume of overnight stays and the international exposure of the entire event is a huge chance for our destination” declares tourism director André Gisler.
Experienced organisers Following the decision of IOF in favour of WOC 2023 in Switzerland, the detailed concepts and the planning of the big event in four years must be prepared. In a next step, an agreement will be made between the Swiss orienteering federation, Swiss Orienteering, and the Association Swiss Cup. The latter one will be assuming the organisation of WOC 2023 as the association has been responsible for holding yearly world cup races for over ten years in Switzerland. Aside from Simone Niggli-Luder, 23-time world orienteering champion, and her husband Matthias who both will be responsible for the implementation of the competitions, other long-time organisers of orienteering competitions will be in the organising committee. “Our association was founded after WOC 2003 in Rapperswil with the goal to organise one international competition in Switzerland and to pass on the know-how. It fills us with pride that IOF has awarded us the yearly world cup final races and now even WOW 2023” says Hansueli Steinmann, president of the Association Swiss Cup.