Last week, the EGK European Orienteering Championships (EOC) took place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, reuniting the best athletes from Europe in 3 disciplines: sprint-relay, knock-out and individual sprint. The competition took place without spectators and each on-site member had to present a negative coronavirus test. It was the first big orienteering event since the Orienteering World Cup in China in 2019. “We can be very happy that we could hold such an event successfully in such special times,” assesses the event director Matthias Niggli.
The 4-day competition started with the sprint relay resulting in a first-place win from Switzerland, ahead of Sweden and Norway, who respectively took the second and third place. It was only just a couple of years back that some of the athletes competing at the EOC last week, were participating in one of FISU World University Championships.
Matthias Kyburz, twice gold medallist in sprint relay and knock-out at the EOC, had already climbed onto the podium multiple times during the Olomouc 2014 FISU World University Championship Orienteering in Czech Republic. There he won a gold medal in sprint, a silver medal in long distance and a bronze medal in sprint relay.
Joey Hadorn, also a Swiss competitor at the EOC, had won a gold medal in sprint relay and another gold medal in long distance during the Kuortane 2018 FISU World University Championship Orienteering in Finland.
Among the other athletes who competed in previous FISU events, Andrine Benjaminsen received 2 silver medals in knock-out and sprint relay with the Norwegian team and Lina Strand arrived second in sprint relay with the Swedish team last week.
“Seeing athletes who had previously competed in FISU events win medals in other competitions – such as the EOC – is very inspiring because we get to see the progress that these professional athletes made from their early days competing at FISU events,” says Julien Carrel, FISU World University Championships Manager.