“Future of Nordic Walking is fitness for all and competitions”. President of the International Nordic Walking Federation INWA, Aki Karihtala clarifies the future strategies of INWA
INWA World Cup Nordic Walking technique and control during the competitions
As we have seen a lot of questions about the techniques of the athletes in the INWA World Cup competitions, we would herewith like to give some additional information concerning this important topic.
INWA Nordic Walking Technique is one of the most advanced and natural techniques which we developed and teach according to our 10-step program. You can learn more about it on our website. Our Nordic Walking technique is widely acknowledged and used in educational programs by all our member organizations.
Concerning the competitions, they are getting more and more popular in many countries and therefore we decided to develop the INWA World Cup-series and the competition concept in general. Competition rules and the referee education are very well documented and form good guidelines for the competitions. According to our rules, 3 yellow cards (notification about the wrong technique) result in red card which means disqualification. For example in the World Cup competitions in China total of 12 athletes were given red cards and the number of yellow cards was over 50. Referee work is very challenging and will naturally be developed along the way but we already have a good basis for this.
World Cup competitions have three main categories:
- Distance and timing based competitions:
This is based on speed on three different distances which are 5, 10 and 21 km.
To comply with INWA Nordic Walking race rules, every participant must:
1.1. Ensure that at no point both feet or both poles are off the ground at the same time.
1.2. The poles contact the ground at the same time as the opposite heel.
1.3. The poles must be planted behind the front foot except when ascending or descending steep rises or steps.
1.4. Ensure that the arms and legs move alternately in a natural manner.
1.5. The centre of gravity must not be abnormally lowered.
1.6. There must be an active push through the poles in order to propel the body forward. When pushing through the pole the hand should at least reach the hip.
1.7. Participants must use their poles at all times, except when stopped at the water stations, according to the specific course rules.
1.8. Participants must wear the pole straps correctly in accordance with correct Nordic Walking technique
1.9. Participants must wear the race numbers in accordance with the instructions provided by the course officials
1.10. Participants must not block the way to other participants.
- Nordic Hill Racing competitions:
Nordic Hill Racing is a spring-competition, where participants run with the poles uphill as fast as they can on a marked wide trail. This is timing based and very exciting way of competing. Maybe one of the toughest competitions you can imagine.
To comply with INWA Nordic Hill Racing rules, every participant has to follow these rules:
1.1. While running with the poles, the poles must be planted behind the front foot, but the poles can be planted also in front of the alternate foot when ascending steeper rises.
1.2. Ensure that the arms and legs move alternatively in a natural manner.
1.3. There must be an active push through the poles in order to propel the body forward.
1.4. Participants must wear the pole straps correctly in accordance with correct Nordic Walking technique
1.5. Participants must wear the race numbers in accordance with the instructions provided by the course officials
1.6. Participants must not block the way to other participants.
- Nordic TechWalking competitions (no World Cup status yet):
Special kind of competition where participants Nordic Walk a marked trail. Criteria are time accuracy per round and Nordic Walking technique which is evaluated by referees along the way. Rules and guidelines for the competition are provided by ANWI (INWA Italy)
I hope this clarifies our principles with the competitions. As stated before, main focus of INWA is on the promotion of Nordic Walking as an efficient and recreational physical activity. For this purpose we help new member countries to get started and also offer very high level professional educational programs worldwide. Competitions will have in the future an important role in the promotion of Nordic Walking and therefore we have decided to organize them. Competitions will attract also younger people, which is very important. INWA World Cup will bring much more visibility for Nordic Walking and will attract new people to join this wonderful sport regardless of fitness level and age. For that reason we also organize recreational Nordic Walking events at the same time with the World Cup competitions.
I would like to thank you all for your interest in this important matter and welcome you to take part in our events.
International Nordic Walking Federation INWA