Orienteering is diverse: From ski to mountain bike to foot orienteering, it offers the right challenge for every athlete who is looking for the fastest route. Georg Hechl is one of them. As an enthusiastic hobby athlete, the Tyrolean will take part in the Winter World Masters Games 2020 and face a very special challenge.
As a true Tyrolean, who grew up in the Zillertal in Tux, skiing was naturally part of his free time. But during his education as a teacher, from time to time, Georg Hechl went cross-country skiing. He became acquainted with the fascination of orienteering during his time in the army. Starting with foot orienteering, the trained mountain runner, quickly devoted himself to the other two areas of orienteering - ski and mountain bike orienteering. What fascinates the Tyrolean to this day is the uncertainty: "You can't say I'll win today, because then you've already lost. In orienteering you don't know how it ends, the challenge is always the interaction of body and mind".
Georg Hechl moved to Kitzbühel more than 40 years ago because of his wife. And he couldn't have done it better, even geographically, because the “Tiroler Unterland” offers a wide range of activities for enthusiastic cross-country skiers and orienteering runners. "From my door I can directly start with cross-country skiing and in summer we have a fixed-point network with easy and difficult routes in the surrounding area. Already more than 30 years ago I founded the section Ski Orienteering of the “Naturfreunde Kitzbühel”. About this association many training possibilities also available" says Georg Hechl, who is already busy preparing for the Winter World Masters Games 2020.
Ski Orienteering for the first time in Seefeld
The hobby ski orienteer knows the annual competitions in Austria well: "There are four weekends on which competitions take place. Of course, when it fits in time, I always take part. Just last week I was at the Tyrolean Night Championships." He has also taken part in international races such as the O-Ringen in Sweden. Despite his experience, the WWMG 2020 are a very special experience. Thanks to the many races, Georg Hechl knows the cross-country skiing network in Austria very well, but all that doesn't help him in Seefeld. The Olympic region Seefeld, as a venue for ski orienteering races, is something completely new. With the WWMG 2020 races, which at the same time will be considered as the official IOF Masters World Championships, will be held there for the first time. "There will be a completely new map for Seefeld. Of course, this is interesting because nobody knows the routes and there are no old notes for orientation," explains Georg Hechl, who has registered for all three WWMG 2020 races. In addition, the WWMG 2020 ski orienteering races and the club behind the event “Orienteering Innsbruck Imst” offer the opportunity to compete with international athletes. "I am looking forward to the multicultural mix and to getting to know new faces. My greatest opponent, however, is and remains my twin brother," says Georg Hechl. Both will start in the age group "A65". The retired teacher not only motivated his twin brother to apply. Also, two of his four children are registered for the WWMG 2020.
Ski orienteering keeps body and mind fit
Independent of the Masters Games, the sports ski orienteering offers varied competitions in every age group with a lot of endurance and mental skill. Ski Orienteering uses the normal network of cross-country ski tracks. To make the track network more difficult, additional tracks are pulled into the snow. Various checkpoints must be completed as quickly as possible with cross-country skis. On a "tableau" the card is fixed in front of the body so that the hands are free for cross-country skiing. "But meters are not everything. Additionally, the meters of altitude must also be considered as quickly as possible," explains Georg Hechl, adding: "The mental challenge, the quick interpretation and decision making demands the brain. You concentrate fully and completely on the competition; you can't think of anything else and when you reach the finish line you know every meter of the distance by heart.”
Registration open until 15th of December 2019
If you are an enthusiastic hobby cross-country skier and would like to experience this feeling for yourself, you can register HERE until 15th of December 2019. The minimum age is 30 years. The WWMG 2020 and the association "Orienteering Innsbruck Imst" are organizing the ski orienteering races together. The competitions will also be judged as Masters World Championships.
In addition to Ski Orienteering, there will be competitions in elf other sports from 10th to 19th of January. A total of more than 3,100 athletes from 58 nations are expected. As host city, Innsbruck also invites to numerous concerts and attractions in the Masters Village. All this makes the world's largest winter sports festival a unique experience.