A rewarding experience – The IOF and FISU in cooperation

Posted on | October 10, 2017 | Category: News, Newsletter

At the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Gala in Chinese Taipei, the IOF was awarded the FISU award for ”Best International Sports Federation”. Orienteering also received another award at the Gala when the Hungarian National University Sports Federation received the FISU award for ”Best 2016 World University Championship” for the orienteering championships held in Miskolc. That event was organised in partnership with the Hungarian Orienteering Federation and Diósgyör Orienteering Club.

The awards are in fact recognition for a strong, long-standing, but also developing, cooperation. Orienteering has been a FISU sport since as far back as 1978 when Jyvaskyla, Finland hosted 129 athletes from 17 countries for the inaugural World University Championships. Since then the championships have been held bi-annually, regularly hosting 250 athletes from around 30 countries. As of 2016, the relationship between FISU and the IOF has strengthened further with the introduction of Ski Orienteering as a World University Championships sport when the inaugural event was held successfully in Tula, Russia. Ski Orienteering has also been included in the program of the FISU Winter Universiade in 2019 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

IOF President Leho Haldna was present in Chinese Taipei to receive the award on the behalf of the IOF.

– Our successful cooperation is based upon the same values and interests. Both our organisations value open discussions and finding a common solution if there are practical problems to solve. Like harmonising our competition programmes and avoiding overlapping important events in the FISU and IOF calendars. Many of our top athletes are also university students and we would like to give them the opportunity to participate in both organisations events, says Leho.
– It was a great honor and recognition of the IOF, our student athletes and orienteering organisers, to receive the award for Best International Sports Federation. And the award for Best 2016 World University Championships was a strong indication of how closely our member organisations work together also at the national level.

The cooperation with FISU is beneficial to the IOF in many ways. The FISU events give opportunities for orienteering student athletes to develop their skills in very well-organised competitions. Many of the athletes are in an important transition from junior to elite orienteering, and FISU events have proven to be helpful for many in that transition. The fact that the championships have a high status among athletes means that many nations participate and the values of cross-border social interactions are clear.

For organisers of orienteering competitions, the FISU events are attractive and FISU has an event organisational model which is well-aligned with the IOF and the way orienteering competitions are organised globally.

Being a part of the Winter Universiade for the first time in 2019 is an opportunity for orienteering athletes to experience the social and sporting environment of a multi-sports games, and create memories for life. The IOF is working to establish a permanent presence in the Winter Universiade and investigating the opportunity to be part of the Summer Universiade.

In February 2018 the second World University Ski Orienteering Championships will be held in Tartu, Estonia and in July the World University Orienteering Championships will be held in Kourtane, Finland.

Applications for the 2020 FISU events are due to FISU via National University Sports Federations by the end of September 2017.

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