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World Schools

Show Profile  Andel Posted: 31 August 2014, 10:21 PM  
Today ONZ chose not send a selected team to the World Schools champs.

This is a really disappointing and a very strange decision as it costs ONZ nothing to allow the team to go. Sending the team would good for development, but not sending a team does nothing for youth orienteering other than upsetting our young orienteer’s and making them disillusioned with the sport.

Napier Bays Boys High School are allowed to go but a selected team is not... and there is no real justification given for that, surely double standards. What is the difference between sending a school team and sending a selected team. There is no cost implication on ONZ.

They argue that the World Schools Champs is not recognised as an IOF event... that is correct as it’s a schools event!! So why do ONZ even get to say who goes perhaps the NZ Secondary Schools Sport should select the team as it is actually a schools sports event.

They state that the event is less prestigious than other events, but there is no other World Schools events!!! What other international competition is available to for our younger orienteer's, certainly the Australian event is not international level competition.

They seem to believe that we wanted to send a non selected team of those who had parents who would pay. There was never any intent to send a non performance based team. We had a plan for a team based on selection funded, by fundraising, sponsorship, school support and applying for grants. No one would be excluded on financial grounds.

It appears that ONZ is well out of touch with the needs of our youth orienteer’s. This year there is no development squad and they think sending a team to thrash Australian state teams is top international competition! Not enough orienteer’s get to go to that and many can only get selected every other year for that event.

Maybe it is time for change at the top and get people with more vision involved.
Youth teams needs to be selected by those who are involved in youth orienteering and actually turn up to the events.

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 1 September 2014, 2:49 PM  
I would suggest getting in touch with the NZ Secondary Schools Sports Council, I have heard they are quite proactive and you may be right, you may not need to go through ONZ.

I don't know much about the World Schools competition but I can definitely relate to some of the same problems we faced when NZOF was selecting the first few JWOC teams.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 1 September 2014, 3:15 PM  
So, is that you volunteering for President is it? Of course, there is nothing to stop you from seeking a nomination and seeing if you get the votes at the ONZ AGM. Naturally, you'd need to use your real name, and you'd need to do more work than just jumping on maptalk to vent your spleen on your issue of choice.

People inside its peculiar bubble often forget this but, secondary school sport exists within a wider sporting eco-system which is affected by bigger issues which can threaten entire codes. An NSO with extremely limited resources (such as ONZ) has to pick its battles and focus its energies on what it considers to be the priority issues. Maybe the specifics of team selection for WSOC isn't the priority in the bigger picture? (Or more to the point, dealing with selection appeals every F'ing year for a non-HP non-IOF event!)

As for lack of vision: the irony is that ONZ leadership have deliberately nurtured the junior development pathways which have produced the competitive depth in junior athletes and the ensuing demand to select teams for WSOC! Victims of their vision, is more like it. Simon and all those who've contributed at ONZ level over the last ~5years deserve gratitude, not acrimony. And what is more, I'm some of them would no doubt gladly step aside if only someone was willing to shoulder the burden.

So we'll see your (real) name on the nominees list at AGM, am I right?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 1 September 2014, 4:59 PM  
You see a lot from the other side of the Pacific Nick, your middle name isn't whaleoil by any chance, heh heh.

Show Profile  Andel Posted: 1 September 2014, 9:23 PM  
Nick, I had to tell some orienteers that a team will not be selected to go to the World School Champs even though they meet the published performance standard. These guys are shocked and disappointed, they feel let down by ONZ. The schools are stunned that ONZ won’t support them. No one can understand the decision or the spurious justifications given.
This is why I vent out of frustration.
We had been working behind the scenes developing a fund raising plan for a selected SB team.

If you are correct in that they are concerned about selection appeals and the cost in time and effort dealing with them, then maybe things need to change. Having a very good selection criteria involving several events and stick with it, then it is difficult to appeal. Over several events the top competitors will usually stand out (No one race wonder)

The World Schools Championship is the pinnacle for schools orienteering. It is irrelevant to the students and their schools that it is not an IOF event. ONZ has the delegated authority from the NZSS Sport Council to select the school representative orienteering teams. So Fraser you are correct what would they think of the decision not to send the best possible team to the most prestigious school orienteering event because ONZ believes that as it is not supported by the IOF it has no prestige?

Moving forward.. I have asked ONZ the following questions:

1. What has happened to the development squads? Will there be one this year? If not why not?
2. Would ONZ support teams going to more prestigious overseas events that are recognised by IOF? For instance teams from Federation member countries can compete at EYOC they just don’t qualify for medals, trophies or diplomas. Another similar event is JEC maybe a team from NZ can get dispensation to compete.

Nick I have corresponded directly with Simon & ONZ, they know who I am. I am not hiding. Yes maybe I have been harsh in my public criticism but for some the opportunity to earn selection doesn't often come up. When a selection notice is issued then the athletes work hard and do well to meet the selection criteria, it is devastating for them to have the rug pulled from under them. From day one if they had not issued a selection notice and they had said up front that they would not select a team then there would be no issue. They made a set of decisions that have affected others so now they have to face up to the criticism of their choice.


Show Profile  Martin Posted: 2 September 2014, 9:00 AM  
Am I correct that NZ hasn't sent a select team with athletes from multiple schools before? I know there was a strong push to re-develop the selection policy for this event but just because there's a policy doesn't mean a team must be sent. What makes this year different from previous years?

Where are the teams from strongholds like Norway, Finland, Switzerland at World Schools? Why have they chosen not to send teams?

Our development pathway looks pretty solid at the moment (results over the past few years speak for themselves). There are plenty of other international opportunities for juniors, for example there's another 3 spots up for grabs in the ANZ Challenge in each age grade in January.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 2 September 2014, 9:09 AM  
The reasons given for not selecting do seem most peculiar. And I can only echo that it seems strange and dare I say unkind to issue a selection notice that raised expectations and then back track on it. The status of the event did not change between the selection notice and now, and applies as much or more so to the school rep teams. The "financial" reason is just weird and doesn't seem to reflect the reality. Or, is equally applicable to the schools teams, since only schools that can "afford to" show an interest in that as well.

In case it matters, I am not a parent of a senior candidate for this event, so not personally involved. But I am involved in both school and club orienteering. The prospect of selected teams would be a huge incentive to school orienteers who do not go to schools where large numbers orienteer. The current situation results in huge favouritism to kids who go to certain schools.

It just seems to make no sense viewed from the outside.

One would have to suspect the real reason is that having been burnt by the recent junior appeals then the selection panel is just over it. Understandable, volunteers should not have to undergo so much hassle, but really really sad for innocent kids caught up in the backwash.

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 2 September 2014, 4:03 PM  
I seldom agree with ONZ, but on this matter I definitely do. This is a sensible decision by ONZ.

After experiencing World Schools and having been close to all NZ delegations that have traveled to the championships I can see the sense in this decision.

Although it may sound like it, World Schools Champs is definitely not the pinnacle of schools orienteering. From personal experience, the atmosphere at the champs is far from competitive and the event is focused on experience and relationships. The top dogs of world orienteering don't take it seriously with the 'national teams' made up of pupils from one of there orienteering schools. This event should not be confused as a mini jwoc as it is not.

The ANZ challenge should be incentive enough for schools kids, with JWOC also possible in the near future. The argument that having a select team for World Schools gives more kids a chance to run is poor. NZ teams should be hard to make, that's why people train harder and the competition all push each other to be better. Its like handing out a medal for participation, doesn't work. Also encourages people to spit the dummy when they are not selected because they aren't used to missing out.

It's just not necessary for juniors to have another cost, when potentially they could be up for bills going to aussie or jwoc in the near future. If anything, this will end up driving these juniors away. I know that "fundraising plans" would be made, but in all reality this is hard for orienteering in NZ. It is made even harder when you are trying to fundraise for a group scattered all over the country running for a NZ team. It is much easier to get funding locally and put on activities as a group. This is another reason why a schools team is doable but a select team year after year becomes impossible.

I also think it is unfair and poor form blaming the selectors for being "over it" or thinking that there is favoritism to certain schools. The fact of the matter is that the schools competition is made up of 5 runners per team. Those that are bigger orienteering schools naturally have the edge here because their depth is greater. Yes there first couple of runners may not be the world beaters that other schools have but the total team is stronger across the board. Perhaps this individual outlook is maybe hampering these other schools from growing to be as strong as these "favored" schools. These schools didn't over night become so big/strong. It came down (and still is) a lot of hard work and graft, which was entirely volunteer to get to this stage. Perhaps more schools will follow suit to try and make this team - therefore boosting orienteering in general in NZ. (there is that whole make things hard to get makes everyone better thing again).

The decision has been made now, some people like it and some people don't. I personally think its a good decision and have given my reasons why above. If people were expecting to be going to WSOC but are now not, maybe concentrate your efforts on training for ANZ, or JWOC in 2 years or maybe even get some more pupils from your school out orienteering so you can all get better and make the schools grade next time.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 2 September 2014, 4:51 PM  
Easy to say from the point of view of Hawkes Bay Duncan.

But you are not being very consistent. First you say that the NZ team should be hard to make. Then you admit that the first couple of runners from the bigger schools may not actually be the best nationally. It wasn't as hard for the kids at Napier to "make it" as it would have been for kids in a "selected" team. So if what you want is to encourage kids to train harder, wouldn't a selected team to strive for be more effective at doing that?

Your comment only emphasises the point that kids at the big orienteering schools can get to go , even though they may not be as good. They don't have to be the best nationally, just the best in a school that can rake up 5 reasonable level kids and the money to send them.

Yes, it has taken lots of hard work by you and your family amongst others to make orienteering such a big thing in Hawkes Bay schools. Well done, its a fantastic effort and result. But the kids who are reaping the benefits didn't do that work, so its a bit rich to dump on others in other schools who find themselves not so favoured, however hard they work and however good they are.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 2 September 2014, 4:54 PM  
So far, I haven't seen a single reason for not sending a selected team which doesn't apply equally to sending a school rep team.

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 2 September 2014, 5:15 PM  
Look back a few years and NZ wasn't sending any teams to this event. It's been going since 1987 and NZ has attended 3 times.

Thanks for the valuable insights Duncan

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 2 September 2014, 5:29 PM  
Duncan - if it's such a pointless event, why did you go? Why is Napier going again?

Must seem to have some value to some people...

Show Profile  Orienteererer Posted: 2 September 2014, 7:02 PM  
You don't put out a selection announcement and then two months later say, oh actually we changed our minds and um that event isn't prestigious enough. Ridiculous flip-flop by ONZ.

Show Profile  svendp Posted: 2 September 2014, 8:10 PM  
Isn't it nice to see the NZ school teams doing well in a
world competition?

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 3 September 2014, 10:26 AM  
Lyn I am surprised by your comments and your apparent chip on your shoulder with regards to Hawkes Bay Schools. It seems like quite a sour view point from someone who is meant to be the NATIONAL Schools Coordinator.

The weird idea that some schools are favored or better off than others is just wrong. The only reason it was "easy" for these "favored" schools is because they are better across the board and the way that they achieve this is through hard work and a team atmosphere. Schools competitions in NZ (and subsequently at WSOC) should be about teams, participation and having a fun, social time. This would retain kids year after year and grow the sport - bigger base, higher pinnacle type thing. Having something that encourages bigger teams with greater depth all from one school seems like the logical way to do it.

Anyway, the above is beside the point that I was actually trying to make. The point is, World Schools is not at all the pinnacle of schools orienteering and its definitely catered towards participation, having fun and developing relationships. They have a 'friendship relay' for instance!

It is just not necessary to send a select team to this competition when ANZ challenges, camps and jwoc would be more beneficial. (all of the above have proper coaches/managers).

No doubt someone will pull me up on sounding contradictory, but I am not really. All I am saying is there is a place for the NZ team - that is to go to Aus schools champs which is the most valuable competition for our top level schools athletes (ask Matt about it - he swears by it).

I am also saying people are mis-understanding what WSOC really is all about and that they would be sadly disappointed if they went with ideas that it would be as competitive and serious as it sounds.

Thirdly, the reason I support a schools team being sent to WSOC is it encourage depth at schools nationwide. If every school who competed at nationals had 5 runners gunning for the WSOC team in both grades, junior numbers would grow even more so than how they are already. This is what we want at this level. Yes there will always be the top few who find the schools competition a bit easy (I never did but apparently there is some), but this is beyond the point of this competition - those people will most likely go to club nationals etc which cater for the "top end runners".

I don't at all think that WSOC is a pointless event for schools teams going - this is why I went. It was an awesome trip with a group of guys and girls where we made tonnes of friends, experienced different cultures and ran in some fun terrain.

Lastly, I am not dumping on any other "non Hawkes Bay Schools" nor am I seeking kudos for the work people in my club have done. All I am saying is the attitude of focusing on a few at the top is not what is needed for schools age groups. This will come later in their orienteering careers. There is no secret why HBOC continues to churn out very competent orienteers and are lucky to experience such high participation - schools orienteering! At this stage its about numbers at the bottom, not the top.

Once again, these are just MY views on this matter. I just think back to my time that I went and if I was to go as a select team I don't think the trip would have been anywhere near what I was expecting for a 'world champs'. I understand that there is a group of people who feel disappointed that they have missed this opportunity, everyone knows the feeling of missing out on something and its not much fun.

Happy orienteering this weekend guys! (yea I know its only Wednesday but already looking forward to it)

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