The Moray town will feature live on BBC Alba on Sunday as it plays host to a stage of the World Orienteering Championships, with the Gaelic language station broadcasting live from the town from 4.45pm until 7.10pm.
While it is thought to be the first time that Orienteering has enjoyed live television exposure in the UK it is common in many European countries where the sport’s elite athletes enjoy the type of adulation footballers can expect in this country.
Millions tuned in to the Sprint event finals at the World Championships in Venice last year – now it is hoped that a UK-based audience will experience a taste of what all the fuss is about – even if they might at times be a little baffled by the commentary!
For Forres the exposure will be more than welcome, with local councillor George Alexander admitting it was a “tremendous coup” for the town, telling the Forres Gazette: “I don’t think we have really got our head around this yet – but it is huge, last year Venice, this year Forres.”
Homes around Forres have already received notification of how the onslaught of the world’s best athletes will affect them over the weekend with Sprint Qualifier heats taking place in the town from 6pm until 8pm on Friday evening, followed by the Sprint Final from 4.50pm until 7pm on Sunday – which will be immediately followed by the ‘flower ceremony’.
A spokesman for the World Orienteering Championships said: “We do not hold immediate ‘medal ceremonies’ after our events as a great deal of technical information has to be examined before the final positions are confirmed.
“We are delighted that the World Championships in Scotland has attracted live television coverage in the UK and we would hope that people in Forres will understand any disruption the championships might bring – we are sure that many people will wish to go out and support the athletes in what will be a fantastic spectacle for the town.”
Large screens will be set up around the town so that spectators can keep up with the competitors. Full details of the World Orienteering Championships can be found online.