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Show Profile  addison Posted: 13 May 2003, 10:22 AM  
Jamie. You wanted some idea from the Juniors. Here we go.

Throughout my Junior grades, I believed in running in my own grade. I was given quite a bit of 'shit' about this. Sometimes as a joke, sometimes not. But this is my reasoning for doing so.
1- To run against people who I can compare myself against every competition
2- To get consistency in my orienteering
3- As an age group, is for that age group.

If I had run up earlier on, what would it have done for me? I would be running a harder course. So what, I do this every week at club level. Well club level isn't the same, but still my orienteering skills do originate from this level. Nationals and other events are used for showing off your skills in your own grade. The reason for them is to compare you against people in your age group.

But, even though they are for that point, you cannot put restrictions on people running up. Last year for example I ran 21A/S a few times, and even Elite. This was a learning curve. And to make such a simple mistake of thinking I was going to 7, when I was going to 6..... was a learning area for me. It taught me to consentrate even under high pressure.

And this year, the first time running against Ross in a classic was great. Looking at the splits was even better. It was so close at one stage their was 3s between us after 2/3 of the race. And to beat him made my junior orienteering so worthwhile.

I spose ya thinking whats my point. Well im thinking the same right now. Orienteering cannot have restrictions placed on it. If it does, it becomes Soviet Orienteering. Perhaps we could start the ball rolling by making the m/w10 in time for area champs..... and review afterwards. See how many people are running up. And talk to them why. You cannot assume why, you have to evaluate why.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 13 May 2003, 1:33 PM  
Rob> Yes those stronger countries almost certainly have more developed M/W20 grades but there are still some 17/18 or 19/20's who do run up a class (I can at least say here in Sweden or the UK at least).

Although most of the discussion here has been constructive and I agree with most of the points made, I still don't think at the end of the day that the proposal Jamie is making to enforce a rule is a good one. Like Simon says - who wants soviet orienteering. We should try and minimize the bureaucracy - not create more!

Show Profile  James Posted: 13 May 2003, 2:15 PM  
I like most of your points that you raised, and its good to have a younger perspective.
You talk about some people giving you shit about still runnning your age grade, well i'll happilly pooint out that I was one of the people! Although, I think at Nationals everyone should run there grade to decide who infact is the best in the age grade.
But simon, you say that run your correct age grade to compare yourself against your competition? Is your definition of a comparison ' umm, i wonder if I will win by 10 or 15 mins today!!' I feel that If your running red courses at age 12/13 and you begin competing in red courses till age 16/17, you are not doing yourself justice! you are a great example that if there isn't good enough competition in the grade, you should be running up, its just a shame it took you so long to get the balls to do it! But in a roundabout way, I'm trying to get the point across that I love the Idea of the grade changes (m16 run red etc.) And i just decided to pick on Simon as I felt he was a great way of stressing my view of the debate!
As for you Greg, talking about m20's, saying that you can still place, even if you have a 10min mistake.......... well if you're making 10min mistakes, it's blatantly obvious that you shouldn't be running elite anyways!

Show Profile  James Posted: 13 May 2003, 2:19 PM  
you'll be happy to know I'm going to bed now, And its only 10:20pm!
There were heaps of big fat Samoans banging down the doors last night demanding a big feed of greasy chicken when we were suppossed to be closed, and we didnt want them to get all there 'cousins' onto us, so we stayed open a little longer thats why I got home so late!
But thanks for looking out for me

Show Profile  jeffg Posted: 13 May 2003, 2:33 PM  
Hi Jamie,
This posting refers to the proposed grade restriction on veteran orienteers. I may be one of these veteran orienteers that you are referring to. Although currently in the M40 grade I would like to improve my orienteering and fitness to run (competitively) in the elite grade. I don't know if or when this will happen, but I certainly do not want to be bound by a decision made at the beginning of every year. I do not believe such an annual grade declaration is necessary or justified, for the following reasons:
1. For (old) people who do not wish to run in their grade in the major events there are open grades which are available, 21E, 21A and 21AS. Presumably all other grades (e.g. M35 for me) are off limits. If not, then I would suggest that they should be. This may keep some of the grade swapping in check. Open grades should remain just that, open.
2. In an ANZ team selection year such as this, it would be foolish for serious orienteers to run in anything other than their age grade or 21E, whichever they aim to be a contender in.
3. With Bryan Teahan's excellent NZ orienteering stats page in place, anyone who doesn't run consistently in their age grade or a given open grade is likely to see their ranking fall.

Show Profile  Melissa Posted: 14 May 2003, 1:05 AM  
These are the rules with regard to running Elite in Australia:

To be eligible to compete in M21E or W21E classes an entrant must meet at least one of the following qualifications:
- have achieved three gold badge credits in M21 or W21 in the twelve months prior to the advertised closing date for entry to the event
- be a M/W-20, M/W-18 or first year M/W21 considered by the National Selectors to be of a
comparable standard to those meeting the above criteria
- be a member of the National Squad at the end of the previous year
- be a member of the National Squad during the previous four years who, because of injury, absence overseas or other reason, has not achieved three gold badge credits, but has demonstrated by a recent performance a return to a comparable standard
- be a visiting member of another Federation (organisers may require evidence of an adequate standard)
- be required to make up a full team in any team competition taking place in conjunction with the event

The Australian Selectors keep a list of those eligible to run Elite

Does anyone know if this system works? Is it enforced? They have a lot more Elites than us so it probably wouldn't be suitable for NZ.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 14 May 2003, 1:39 AM  
Hey thanks for all your replies,

Simon, its a pity you didn't reply to the 'refined idea'. Your argument seemed kind of backwards, I did this it was best but it should be open for me to do something else.

Those making points about Squad members having coaches, this is a valid point (see the exception in the refined idea). And it is perhaps part of my role to encourage more personal coaching at this level, although that really is under the jurisdiction of the various squads.

However, I percieve reality is that this is not in place (you may disagree). So to make sure that a promising junior is given some advice before making this decision I have come up with this idea, modifying it so that Squad Coaches may also be consulted.

Note, for any junior younger than 16 the point of contact will be with the Coaching Director

Greg (again), I will spend my time how I like....another guy that replies without reading the discussion.

Jeff, thanks for the contribution, you raise some interesting points and at first read I agree with some of them.

I don't think stats are going to discourage grade swapping, and as for selection, this has not proven to be the case in the past, good results down a grade has seen people running in their own grade for international events, (and as I said an exception for this would be necessary).

My thought s when I first wrote the proposal were that veterans who for intervening causes were unable to run the grade they were registered for would run the 40shorts or M/W21AS (ala Michael Wood). I see merit in your proposal that they may run elite, and contrastingly regular elite runners may run their own grades, eg Rob J M35? (not sure) or indeed the mother of all M35's Alistair Landels. But I wonder whether running elite for an m40 is any different than running m40 for an M50?

Further feedback appreciated

Show Profile  Malcolm Posted: 14 May 2003, 2:34 AM  
I can see the merit in keeping people in the 'correct' grade, so as to find the 'best' orienteer in that grade. So what happens if the real best has the flu that weekend and doesn't run. This has the same effect as them running up a grade.
If you win a grade on the day, then you deserve that title, whether or not their are others running up a grade who may have beaten you. They didn't try to beat you, so can't claim to be better.

I like the idea of qualifying to run elite, if an M20A hasn't qualified and wants to run up a grade, they can run M21A, which is the same course as M20A anyway! If they have qualified and they want to run elite, then they have proven they are capable of doing so (if we use a similar system to the aussie one).
This will keep more people in M/W20, which will make competition tougher, and make M/W18's think twice about entering M/W20, which then has a trickle down effect into the newly created M/W10. In theory.

To be selected for a New Zealand team, you should ONLY be selected on your performance in the grade you are being selected for. This would keep people in their own grades at selection events. (I don't know if this is already the case, or if so, whether it is enforced)

Show Profile  Andrew M Posted: 14 May 2003, 3:11 AM  
I personally think that the Australian example of listing Elite eligibility is an excellent idea.

Firstly there needs to be a greater definition between M21E and M21A and M21AS. M21E should contain competitiors with technical skills and fitness to compete at the top level, ie (150 percent of the winners time). You need to encourage the orienteers running absurdly long times in elite to run down a grade M21A. Whilst providing an incentive for M21A to train hard an perfect skills and move up to Elite. Running elite should not be a proving ground for your ability.

By limiting the number of people running elite, you will be forcing M/W20's to run back in their grade. M/W18 will be discouraged to run up a grade with greater competition and so on down the orienteering tree. Maybe the same effects but in an opposite direction will work for veteran orienteers?

Other than in the Elite grades i think it will be hard to constrict people to running in their correct age group.

Introducing a M/W10 grade is an excellent idea which has been floating around for an age. I think we should just change it forcing M12 to yellow, m14 to orange and, and m16 to red. Keep the b grades as the technical level below M16B and M18b on orange and so forth. Test the scheme at the area champs in 2004 and gauge opinion.


I havent seen James and his renowned white pants out table dancing in Wellington for a couple of weeks. Maybe Australia is really getting to him?

Edited by - Andrew M on 14/05/2003 11:15:41

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 14 May 2003, 4:53 AM  
Hi Everyone,
I'd just like to make a few comments on my views.

As far as I can see, the only good reason for restricting entry to M/W21E, is if there are going to be too many people for available start times. Under the Austrailian rules, I wouldn't even be eligable to run M21E.

As for swapping grades, I think that it should be up to the individual to decide, especially if they want to run Elite (Who doesn't want to see how they compare with the best in the country).

However I have a cunning plan.
What we need to do is have M12-M14 (W12-W14) running the same course,
M16-M18 (W16-W18) running the same course and M20/W20 running the Elite course.
This way there will be more competition and people can compare themselves with those in the higher grade, while still competing within their own grade. (Just look at other individual sporting events - everyone usually does the same course, but there are still categories for
different age groups (Junior,Senior,Veteran)

At the moment M21E is the only grade with a significant number of competitors. Ohh, I hear you say, but what about those poor 12year olds having to run a short orange course. Sure they might be a bit slower than the 14year olds but they'll finish O.K, and not be out for too long. And if they can't, they shouldn't be running A grade at the Nationals. Also as for B grades, I think these are pointless. Why not have as many people running a grade as possible, it's not like we have too many people. For those that can't or chose not to run competitively, there should still be a range of open/beginner grades available. However these should be open to all and not restricted to various ages. (Just like at a standard club event).

Let me know what you think? I reckon it's a great idea.


Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 14 May 2003, 5:34 AM  
for the record,

I don't think its a great idea (I won't get into detail, suffice to say that I bleieve in some kind of skill development ladder in orienteering which differentiates it from a purely physical sport).

Secondly, I don't think there should be restrictions put on people of elite age running elite. Now that is just hindering competition, for obvious reasons it is much harder to say that a person is a M21AL rather than an M21E than it is to say that someone is an M20A rather than an M21E.

Applying the logic from my earlier postings it is desirable that an up and coming M21AL (lets use Dougal Harding as an example) is given guidance on whether he should run elite or not, but a "bright line rule" is not as easy to create.

Should Brent Edwards be running elite?

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 14 May 2003, 6:19 AM  
Seeing as we're not coming to any conclusions on the questions that have already been raised, must be time for a few more to be added to the mix!

First, the suggested new junior grade structure - I've finally come round to agreeing it's a good idea whose time has come, but: would it be introduced all at once ( which would have for example -14s turning -16 at the "big change" suddenly expected to go from yellow to red), or would there be a long (6 years I think, but numbers never were my strong point) process of the first cohort of -10s being the first -12s to run yellow, then the first -14s to run orange etc.

What about secondary school competition? Would these difficulty levels also apply? While I can see consistency might be better, we'd also see the ratio of standard:championship competitiors at SS events skewed more to standard, and it would be less attractive for kids not from orienteering families to get into it at school (which could mean no more Bradshaws, McCarthys and Princes for recent examples)

And if there was a scheme to qualify for elite competition - which I keep losing track of whether that's a genuine suggestion or a misunderstanding - would it handle "discipline specialists"? If I got my arse into gear right now, I still don't really think I could ever contemplate running elite classics, but could potentially be able to run elite shorts and sprints without making a complete fool of myself (please stop laughing everybody). Can the Australian system, for example, handle someone who only WANTS to run elite in a particular discipline?

Show Profile  mark Posted: 14 May 2003, 6:31 AM  
What's wrong with running absurdly long times?
M21A is too short.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 14 May 2003, 7:43 AM  
To reply to Chris briefly. No its not a good idea.

Having a stepping stone of difficulty is good. The reason is to get people competant at each level before going to the next. Two years is a good period. Competition can only be obtained in your suggestion, by the lower grade of the two. eg m12/14 running same grade, the added competition will be for m12, not m14. This does not address the issue properly.

Show Profile  Malcolm Posted: 14 May 2003, 9:00 AM  
And if there was a scheme to qualify for elite competition - which I keep losing track of whether that's a genuine suggestion or a misunderstanding

I don't know about the others, but this was definitely a suggestion from me. Obviously, we would have to come up with our own standard for quailfication, and this may or may not take into account discipline specialists. I'm sure Bryan Teahan could sort that out through his ranking in a matter of minutes. Elite means the best or most skilled in a group. You should fit that description to run in the 'elite' grade.

Jamie, you said something about it not being a purely physical sport. No-one debates this. But surely once you are running red courses, it doesn't get any harder technically, the courses just get longer (that is the theory anyway), so it really is a physical thing when you are talking about someone running M20A or M21E. The course shouldn't be technically harder but competitors need to be physically tougher to keep the mental edge for longer.

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