A record 17 nations will be represented among the entries for tomorrow’s (Sunday, June 29, 2014), WMRA International Youth Cup in Arco, Italy.
The event celebrates its ninth running this year and welcomes to the start line junior male and female athletes who are either 16 or 17 years old in the year of competition. Athletes must be nominated by their respective National Athletic Federation. For the United States, this is USA Track & Field.
Making history in Arco will be 17-year-old Cameron Moore from Edwards, Colorado, who will be the first athlete from the U.S. to compete in the Youth Cup. This will also be Moore’s first foray into international mountain running.
At the pre-race technical meeting on Saturday afternoon, details for the competition were provided, but first there was a welcome from the local organizing committee. Through a translator, Franco Travaglia, the LOC president, said, “We thought that this kind of race would be very special in Arco. Climbing is what the region is known for, and hosting the Youth Cup is a way to introduce mountain racing to everybody.”
The LOC will provide live streaming on a big screen near the start/finish line so that many people will have an opportunity to enjoy the race in progress.
In closing his remarks during the technical meeting Travaglia said, “We wish all the best to your athletes and good luck.”
The technical meeting was followed by an opening ceremony which included a marching band, majorettes, and the parade of nations. In the town square, spectators enthusiastically cheered for every country from Bulgaria to Wales. Italy was the final team to be introduced and the crowd erupted with their support and sung along as the national anthem of their home country was played.
On Sunday’s race program, the junior girls will be first to race at 10:30 a.m. Their figure eight-style course will be just under four kilometers and includes a track primarily of rocks and cobblestones which are firmly imbedded in the pathway. The route will travel uphill toward the town’s castle which was built in the the twelfth century and overlooks the town and its environs. There is both ascending and descending with the start/finish line in the town’s square. The junior boys will start is at 11:15 a.m. on a course just under five kilometers over much of the same route as the girls and includes one more short loop.
Medals for the top three individuals and top three teams will be presented during an afternoon awards ceremony. Teams are comprised of three athletes, all of whom must finish to score.
Moore arrived in Arco Thursday evening accompanied by his father Charlie, and has been training on the course the past two days. He likes the course and is looking forward to testing his mettle, especially on the uphill. “I’m really excited for the race,” said Moore who proudly carried the U.S. flag in the awards ceremony. Moore will be racing against a field of 47 athletes, all of whom hope to bring home a gold, silver, or bronze medal.