Thursday, May 12, 2016

World Orienteering Day: Raising the Orienteering's flag everywhere

The World Orientation Day was of celebration and feast a bit everywhere. More than two thousand five hundred locations spread over 79 countries on the five continents hosted thousands of people of all ages joining hands and highly raising the Orienteering flag.

Throughout yesterday, took place the first ever World Orienteering Day, an initiative from the International Orienteering Federation. The project joined thousands of people from all over the world with the same goal: to benefit both education at school and development of the sport. Maps and compasses in hands, this amazing sport was celebrated in the world's four corners, from Turkey to New Caledonia, from Uruguay to Oman.

Since its launch, one could realize that this was an initiative aimed for success. The way that clubs, schools, public institutions and civil society shown their interest in this cause, adding their names to a list continuously growing, was certainly a huge incentive for the IOF and, above all, to the project's mentor, Göran Andersson. And when Łukasz Maletz posted a picture with the bib numbers of the events in Poland and the indication “start soon”, in Canberra, Australia, the Bushflyers added: “The controls are out, the rain is finishing, and tomorrow morning will be the first ever WOD event. Don't be late! (there's a mass start)”, the WOD had already started.

More than 90,000 participants so far

The number of preregistered locations was of 2.423 and it's time, now, for counting the participants worldwide, which is close to 100.000 so far. Surely still away from the 250,000 participants, the sum desired by Andersson that will place the event in the Guinness Book of Records. But who care? Just go through the event page on Facebook - -, to quickly realize that it was worth all this movement.

Hundreds of images were arriving during the day, confirming the power of the initiative and the wave of enthusiasm. “Wen Ya elementary school in Taiwan joins this fantastic activity”, “event starting in Hobart Tasmania on a windy evening as the sun disappears”, “a great time was had in sunny Coffs Harbour, Australia”, “a really great Orienteering Day in Sundsvall, Sweden”, “Canoe Orienteering in Parys South Africa to celebrate World Orienteering Day”, “celebrating World Orienteering Day in Cyprus” and “Cameroon on the map”, are just some of the many sentences that witness hundreds and hundreds of events. Adding to this, there are also maps from different places such as Ceylanpinar, on the Turkey – Syria border, Faneromeni Square in Nicosia (Chypre), Noumea (New Caledonian) or Parco Iris, Padova (Italy).

Grand opening in Karlstad

For the IOF Office, it has also been a momentous day, in the form of the grand opening of the new office in Karlstad. The day of celebrations was of course started off with a visit to a local school to participate in a World Orienteering Day event. Guests included IOF President Brian Porteous, IOF Senior Vice President Leho Haldna, local politicians and World Champion in Long Distance Ida Bobach, as well as representatives from the Swedish Sports Confederation, Swedish Orienteering Federation, the Latvian orienteering Federation

It's time now to congratulate all those who made possible this fantastic day and say that we'll have another World Orienteering Day next year, on May 24th. To know everything about the WOD, please visit the event's webpage at

Joaquim Margarido

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