And the winner is... Edinburgh!
The Sprint World Orienteering Championships 2022 are coming to Scotland after Edinburgh was awarded the event by the International Orienteering Federation (IOF), beating Paris for the honour.
The Scottish capital was successful after an innovative joint bid was submitted by The Scottish Orienteering 6-Day Event Company, Scottish Orienteering Association, EventScotland, the City of Edinburgh Council, British Orienteering and University of Edinburgh to host the event in the middle of July 2022.
The IOF World Orienteering Championships brings together the best teams from around the world to compete across three main disciplines – individual sprint, sprint relay and knock-out sprint. An anticipated 250 athletes from 50 countries are expected to attend the Championships, bringing with them additional coaching staff and supporters. In addition to the main Championship races, there will also be a full programme of spectator races suitable for all levels of orienteering ability and competitive classes for all ages.
Scotland has a strong history of hosting the World Orienteering Championships having previously hosted the event three times over the last 40 years. However, unlike the previous occasions when the event took place in countryside of the Scottish Highlands, the 2022 event will use the fabric of Edinburgh’s city centre to create an exciting and unique sports arena.
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for City of Edinburgh Council, said: “With its narrow closes, steep stairways and winding streets, Edinburgh’s city centre will provide the ideal challenging location for the world’s top orienteers.
“Images of the competitors making their way down the Royal Mile will present an excellent opportunity for us to showcase Edinburgh’s beautiful and historic cityscape to a global audience.
“We’re looking forward to hosting this Sprint World Championship sporting event, and I’m sure the people of Edinburgh will warmly welcome the many competitors and supporters from all over the world.”
Anne Hickling, Chair of Scottish Orienteering Association, said: “The Scottish Orienteering Association is delighted by this exciting news. Hosting a World Championship event in the heart of Edinburgh will give us the opportunity to present orienteering to a wide audience and allow people to see at close quarters what an exciting sport it is.
“Building on the experience of our successful hosting of the 2015 World Championships, we are confident that this event will promote growth in our sport locally and across the country.
“We look forward to working with our partners in the event and to welcoming the world's best orienteers to Scotland again.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted Scotland has been awarded the right to host the Sprint World Orienteering Championships 2022. This is an excellent result following the hard work by the bid partners to secure this important international event for the Scottish capital.
“Over the years, Scotland has developed the capacity and capability to deliver a wide range of sporting and cultural events, and it is our globally recognised reputation along with our experience in event delivery that makes Scotland the perfect stage for events.”
The decision to award Edinburgh the Sprint World Orienteering Championships 2022 follows the city being shortlisted by the IOF earlier this year and a visit by officials in May to see the city’s world-class venues and facilities that will make it the perfect host.
The IOF will now appoint a Senior Event Advisor to work closely with the Steering Group and Organisation Committee to oversee the delivery of the event including reviewing and agreeing race venues, TV rights and appointment of officials.