At the presentation at Palazzo Ferro Fini, CONI President Giovanni Malagò and Sport and Health President Marco Mezzaroma greeted the 2,000 participants from 39 nations who were the protagonists of the event
From 1st to 8th October, the international orienteering sports movement will find its meeting point in Veneto. The European Orienteering Championships 2023, which are also valid as World Cup finals, were presented in Venice. For the first time in Italy, 2000 orienteers representing 39 countries will run with map and compass. The event, under the aegis of the International Orienteering Federation and the Italian Orienteering Sport Federation, boasts the patronage of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Sport e Salute, the Veneto Regional Council, the Provinces of Verona and Vicenza, the Municipalities of Verona, Soave and Vicenza, together with charity partners Centri Giovanili Don Mazzi and the Fondazione Città della Speranza.
“It is an honour for us that the Veneto Region will be the setting for these European Championships and present the competitions that will take place between Soave, Verona and Vicenza,” says Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Veneto Regional Council. “Orienteering is a sport of endurance and intelligence that rewards those who manage to safely explore unknown territory. It is a chronometer race in which participants use a detailed topographical map and a compass to pass through a series of checkpoints, trying to choose the best route: in an era in which we move around with GPS-guided navigators, this discipline invites us to experience and see the territory in a much more natural way, paying attention to our surroundings. I congratulate the organisers who wanted to symbolically unite their races this year with the epic of Pietro Querini, who had to make a virtue of necessity in order to get his bearings and make it back overland to Venice from Norway. It is also a tribute to the Scandinavian peoples, who are on our continent an authentic reservoir of athletes and fans of this sport. My compliments to the Italian Orienteering Federation, which wanted to convene for this event a very young team on which to build a future with more and more enthusiasts. While there are very rich sports, there are also sports that have remained profoundly decoubertian: orienteering is one of them”.
The General Manager of EOC 2023 Gabriele Viale is in the forefront: “The numbers define the great prestige of these European Championships: a coverage of 12 million spectators, guaranteed by a total of 48 hours of live television coverage in Europe realised by 10 different broadcasters and 2 million euro of economic relapse, through the involvement of Scandinavians and Swiss. For 9 days we will represent Italy in the world through 13 competitions managed in 10 different municipalities thanks to a staff of 200 resources. The plant legacy left behind will be totally sustainable as it is linked to the maps of the competitions and we are finalising the information addressed to the citizens and schools of the host cities for their active involvement. An organisational colossal to give more value to the territory”.
THE TITLES AT STAKE: European Sprint Championships and World Cup final Round
More than 350 elite athletes representing 36 national teams will take to the field to win the continental and World Cup titles over the Sprint, Sprint Relay and Sprint Knock-Out distance (approximately 4 km with 20 control points, with an average winner’s time of 15 minutes). On 4th October Verona will lead the way by hosting the individual Sprint distance race: the qualifying rounds (8.30 – 12.00 am) will take place in the Borgo Venezia and Borgo S. Croce districts, while the final (2.00 – 4.45 pm) will be held in the city centre with the start and finish in the wonderful Piazza Bra with its Arena. At the Foro Boario in Soave on 6th October, the adrenaline-fuelled Sprint Relay (2.30 – 4.30 pm) will take place in front of the Scaligero Castle to decree the strongest mixed teams of men and women. Finally, for the Sprint Knock-Out on 8th October, after qualifying at the Creazzo sports facilities (8.30 a.m.-12.00 noon), the best will compete for the title in Vicenza (12.00 noon-4.00 p.m.) with the finish line in Piazza Matteotti, looking out over the Palladian Teatro Olimpico and Palazzo Chiericati.
In the women’s event, the athlete to beat is undoubtedly Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson, holder of the 2021 European Sprint and Knock-Out titles, as well as world champion in skyrunning and ski mountaineering, who is being pursued by Switzerland’s Simona Aebersold. Having to defend in the Sprint the top step of the men’s podium, reached by Emil Svensk, is still Sweden, ousted in the Knock-Out by Switzerland, won by Matthias Kyburz, with the possible incursion of the Norwegian outsider Kasper Fosser. In the Relay, the predictions announce a battle between Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Finland.
“First of all, I would like to thank the many mayors and councillors involved,” says FISO President Sergio Anesi, “who welcomed our event despite the difficulties. Orienteering is a sport that is not yet very well known but deserves great appreciation above all for its ideals. It respects the environment and looks at sustainability, bringing a considerable economic impact on the region. Thanks to the Veneto Region and the organisers, who were able to structure a solid network between institutions and volunteers, without which it would not be possible to organise events. Good luck to the national team members, who will have the opportunity to compete with the elite at international level”.
Present at the conference was Michele Barbone, who brought greetings from CONI President Giovanni Malagò: “With joy and infinite satisfaction,” said Barbone, “we are getting ready to kick off the European Championships, which see PWT Italia, of which I am proud honorary president, as the lead association of the organising committee. To all I bring greetings from Giovanni Malagò for the success of the event. I cannot fail to mention the merit of Gabriele Viale and his staff who, once again, will prove their capabilities in technical and organisational terms”. President Marco Mezzaroma also conveyed Sport e Salute‘s appreciation towards the event, which was supported by the organisation, on 30th September, of the School of Sport’s Conference Tourism and Sport: orienteering “The great sporting events in terms of tourism and training: The European Orienteering Championship 2023”, from 10 a.m. in the SMT6 Hall of the Management Department of the University of Verona, in the Santa Marta Pole.
“We are happy to have expanded our sporting vision with orienteering,” says Matteo Pressi, Mayor of the Municipality of Soave, “which lends itself very much to our characteristics and those of the surrounding area. Alongside the pleasure of taking part in this exciting competition, there will be the opportunity to get to know the most beautiful village in Italy, which is one of the most fascinating locations on an international level. We are working to ensure that Soave is increasingly known throughout the world, also through a winning combination of sport and tourism”.
“Vicenza knows how to amaze for its artistic life, its architectural heritage, and its cultural richness – says Leone Zilio, Councillor for Sport, Great Events, and the Peace Park of the Municipality of Vicenza – To the athletes and fans who will arrive in the city or who will follow the Championships we will show our beauty: it will be an opportunity to highlight not only the renowned Palladian monuments, but also the squares, alleys, porticoes, and bridges that are perhaps less known but equally evocative and unique. We are sure they will be enchanted by our territory”.
THE ITALIAN NATIONAL TEAM OF COACH RAUS
In these very days, the national Federations are making official their convocations for the Championships. For Italy, the FISO coach Stefano Raus has already announced the list of Italian national team members: Mattia Debertolis (U.S. Primiero), Anna Caglio and Marco Anselmo Di Stefano (Polisportiva Besanese), Annarita Scalzotto, Sebastian Inderst and Riccardo Scalet (PWT Italia), Caterina De Nardis, Francesco Mariani and Giacomo Zagonel (Polisportiva G. Masi), Mattia Scopel (ASD Fonzaso), Martina Palumbo (A.D. Trento Orienteering), Caterina Dallera (Polisportiva Punto Nord), Maddalena De Biasi and Jessica Lucchetta (Orienteering Tarzo ASD). Reserves: Edoardo Pellegrino Tecco (Pro Team Nord-Ovest ASD) and Nicole Riz (U.S. Primiero).
“We are ready,” commented CT Raus, “to compete against the best athletes on the international scene, the boys are showing great commitment by having to alternate study and work with their sporting careers. We have prepared ourselves with specific training camps in cooperation with other national teams, from which we have a lot to learn. We are a young team: for many the championships will be an experience at the highest level, for others a goal to be honoured to the best of our ability. Given the strong competition, we are aiming to gain access to the Sprint Final in Verona and the Knock-Out Quarterfinals in Vicenza”.
In the Italian team the Venetian Annarita Scalzotto: “The European Championships are the focus event of the season – says the 21-year-old from Orgiano – I have been working on this goal for more than a year and, now that there are only a few days left, I feel ready and fit to face it. I have expectations with respect to my performance but I know that, however it goes, I have done everything I can to arrive to the best of my ability. It can only be a positive and constructive experience. To have come this far is already a source of great satisfaction. Together with the team we will show our potential. I can’t wait to compete!”
EOC TOUR: sport, territory and food and wine
The programme of the event will be made even more enthralling by the promotional events of the EOC Tour, including entertainment, food and wine and music, hosted by the municipalities of Malcesine (1 October), Torri del Benaco (2 October), Lazise (3 October), Verona (4 October), Prada – Monte Baldo (5 October) between the municipalities of Brenzone sul Garda and San Zeno di Montagna, Soave (6 October), Alonte (7 October) and Vicenza (8 October). Each date is accompanied by moments of exploration of the area, such as the navigation of the lake from Peschiera del Garda, home of the event centre Camping Bella Italia, or visits to the Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo and local wineries. Spectacular are the ascent to Monte Baldo with the Malcesine – Monte Baldo cable car and the Prada – Costabella cable car, thanks to the collaboration with PromoE20, and in Alonte the walk among the Prosecco vineyards of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Colli Berici and Vicenza followed by a tasting.