Leho Haldna: Highlights of the orienteering season

Posted on | June 30, 2017 | Category: Newsletter

World Orienteering Day and World Orienteering Championships are the two most significant and popular events during the orienteering season.

WOD was successfully organised in late May, with 288 000 participants in 79 countries and territories. This is a new world record, beating previous best result by 36 000 participants. On behalf of the IOF I would like to thank all volunteers and professionals for their outstanding contribution in success of WOD.

This year, WOD was held for a second time, and I believe WOD is a tool uniting the orienteering world in our common goal – to spread orienteering worldwide. It would mean that it’s equally important to organise WOD events in developing countries as in already well developed countries. WOD was great success in Turkey with 86 000 mainly youngsters running for orienteering in nearly 700 locations. On the other hand, some world top 20 orienteering nations, including my home country Estonia, were not only below expectations but also had lower participation numbers than last year.

We need to think together with all our members how to better use the potential we have in World Orienteering Day. WOD has already become a brand of interest amongst sponsors. There is a very good opportunity for IOF members to use the WOD brand in promotion of our sport in their home country.

The World Orienteering Championships are about to start in Tartu, Estonia. Estonia is the smallest country by population to host our major world championships in orienteering. WOC 2017 seems to be attractive, with 50 nations, 203 men and 161 women entered.

I hope Estonia can deliver something different to the orienteering world, including a young organising team and sometimes low visibility orienteering terrains. It’s not very common that WOC event director and one of the biggest favourites are the same age, and once shared podium places at Junior World Championships! History tells that at JWOC 2006, WOC event director Markus Puusepp took a bronze medal in the long distance race whilst defending world champion from 2016, Olav Lundanes, won the silver medal.

Almost all teams have spent a lot of time in preparation for world championships and especially learning secrets of how to run fast and fight with sometimes dense and green Estonian forests.

WOC 2017 in Tartu is very special for me personally. I’ve been at all WOCs starting from 1989 but this time event will be held in my hometown. I can tell you, it’s a very special feeling to see the world best orienteers running in backyards and streets of my childhood.

See you at WOC or if not then, all friends of orienteering can enjoy WOC via live-TV broadcast on LIVE Orienteering and live or relive TV transmission in 139 (!) countries.

Leho Haldna
IOF President


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