One of the first orienteers already qualified for The World Games 2022 is the 2021 World Championships bronze medallist in Sprint distance, New Zealander Tim Robertson. At The World Games, the orienteers compete in Sprint and Middle distance and also in Mixed Sprint Relay. “I'm very excited about The World Games in Birmingham! It will be my first time in America, so it's hard to know exactly what to expect from the competitions. I think that the Sprint race could be similar to some on the larger University campus maps back home in New Zealand, but the Middle Distance in the forest will be unique terrain,” former Junior World Champion Robertson says.
Robertson started orienteering at an early age. “My older sister got my family into orienteering when I was 11. She started through school, and dad got bored waiting for her in the car while she ran, and decided to start orienteering too. Then I was brought along to competitions, mum too, and now our whole family is hooked!”
“I love orienteering because I get to travel to beautiful forests and cities around the world with people who share the same passion as me,” he says, and continues: “I love racing in old intricate towns, and I love orienteering in the mountains or the sand dune beach terrains back home in New Zealand.”
“Orienteering training sessions train the technical side of our sport. It's not only important to run fast, but also to run fast in the right direction! Technical training often involves trying to train in relevant terrain for upcoming competitions, taking certain features away from the map to make the training more difficult, and practicing running at high speed with the map.” Robertson trains normally between 7-12 hours a week. “It ranges depending on what period of training I am in. I train mostly just for running and then when it gets closer to the season, I do specific orienteering training.”
The World Games 2022 will be the second edition of the Games for Robertson. “The World Games in Poland was a very exciting competition. It was fun to be a part of a wider sporting event and to have the opportunity to watch other sports between our competitions. I'm interested in watching as many sports as possible. Orienteering is one of the last events on the programme, so I also hope to take part in the Closing Ceremony, something that I missed seeing in 2017.”
When asked which of the sports of The World Games would suit him besides his own, Robertson says: “Probably Duathlon would be the best match for me. But I would love to try some of the more extreme sports such as the Air Sports!”
While Tim Robertson is already building up to Birmingham, his preparations in the coming 2022 season include some high-class orienteering: “the World Orienteering Championships will be held in Denmark just a few weeks before The World Games. So my build up to The World Games will be largely focused on the races there and having a fast recovery period before racing again in Birmingham,” he says. “I struggle in hot conditions, so after the World Championships in Denmark I plan to make the trip almost directly to Birmingham to start to train in the heat there. Luckily the sprint races are short and the Middle Distance is held in forest where the temperature should be slightly cooler!”
Tim Robertson divides his time between New Zealand and Sweden. You can see how his typical day looked like in March 2021 in The World Games Instagram stories. His favourite food is anything Italian. “I have just finished studying international business. I am taking an off season period now. I will spend it cross training, (swimming, kayaking, biking) looking for a job, settling into the new city I have moved to and preparing for winter! In my spare time in New Zealand I love to surf, mountain bike and swim. In Sweden I love cross-country skiing, ski touring and kayaking through the archipelago. I'm interested in music, languages and travel.” Music, languages and travel are definitely things he can expect at The World Games, The World Games Plaza and the spectacular Closing Ceremony in July 2022!
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and over 100 countries will take part in The World Games.