Fiona Bunn – Orienteer

I recently returned from competing at the FISU World University Orienteering championships in Switzerland and would like to thank the John Taylor Foundation for their contributions towards my costs for this event. My experiences at this competition was especially valuable and I have come away from this season with more confidence and motivation for future years.

The World University championships were my main aim this year, and I was competing in 4 disciplines: Sprint, Long, Sprint relay and forest relay. I was particularly grateful for the contribution from JTF as it enabled me to travel out to Switzerland early and have three days of training in relevant terrain, instead of just one day as the official competition programme allowed. I felt this helped me to build confidence and understand the techniques to use and factors influencing route choice decisions, which can often be difficult when racing in unfamiliar terrain.

My performances through the week got progressively better. I was in the mix for a top 6 position in the sprint race until an error at the map flip resulted in a big time loss and dropping out of contention. I finished 12th in the Long distance, 5th on first leg of the mixed sprint relay (team finished 5th overall), and 1st= on first leg of the forest relay (team finished 7th nation). I am now looking forward to the final round of the World Cup, also in Switzerland, before heading into a winter cross-country season. None of my races were perfect, but I felt that I dealt with the pre-race nerves and pressures of the relays well and now have confidence that I can be a reliable orienteer and that my form is good. I have also come away from the week having moved up 40 places in the World Ranking and with many memories and new friends.

I’d like to thank the JTF, Edinburgh University and the coaches/support team who travelled with us to the competition.