1. Time of peace and harmony, Christmas is Orienteering time, too. In Hong Kong, the Orienteering Association of Hong Kong organized the Annual Orienteering Championships, attended by 73 athletes in the Elite category and 135 in the Open category.With the Middle Distance and the Sprint stages scoring for the IOF World Rankings, the event got the presence of Annika Björk, Swedish Orienteering star, winner of the two stages already mentioned and also the Long Distance stage. Taking place on 26th December, the Sprint race was held at Ngau Chi Wan Park and was dominated by Björk, who won with 14:03 against 14:34 from Wai Lan Iris Lui. The male winner was Tsz Wai Yu with the time of 13:09. Wai Yu had already won the Middle Distance in the previous day, staged in Black Hill, while in the women Annika Björk got a comfortable win in 37:45 and a 4:34 advantage over Iris Lui. Closing the event, Lui Wai Lan Iris achieved her third National Champion title by winning the Long Distance stage, in Pak Shek Kiu, while in the Men Elite class the victory smiled to Lam Aby. Complete results and further information at http://www.oahk.org.hk/.
2. Austria, Belgium DG, Belgium FC, Belgium FL, China P.R., the Czech Republic, England, Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine have indicated their interest in taking part in the 2017 World Schools Championships in Orienteering. Organized by the International School Sport Federation and the Italian Ministry of Education, the event will take place in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, from 22th April to 28th April 2017. The Long Distance competition and the Middle Distance competition will take place in the Nature Reserve “Bosco della Ficuzza”, in the territory of Corleone. The Model Event will be held in a part of the Bosco della Ficuzza, offering terrain similar to both the Middle and the Long Distance competitions. The Friendship Team Event will take place in the city centre of Palermo. More detailed information on maps and competition areas will be communicated in the 3rd bulletin at the end of January. Find more information at http://www.isfsports.org/sport/orienteering/bulletins/.
3. Mass Start will be the fifth format on the program for the World MTBO Championships from 2017. A growing appetite for more head-to-head racing for the MTBO athletes and the possibility for good media coverage are among the reasons. Mass Start races have been a rather popular format in MTBO, and since 2010 there have been mass start events on the World Cup circuit almost every year. From 2017, it will be an official format at WMTBOC in line with Sprint, Middle, Long and Relay. The Mass Start format will be added to the program for both Masters and Junior World MTBO Championships as well. Mass Start’s winning time is set between 75-85 minutes for both men and women and is roughly between Middle and Long. Typically, the course will start with a long first leg of 3-5 km with different route choice options to shake out the field. Forkings and loops will be essential elements of Mass Start races to separate the riders even more. Everybody rides the same course, but in slightly different order to avoid blind following. The first World MTBO Champion in Mass Start will be decided in Lithuania when the World MTBO Championships takes place from 21st to 26th August 2017.
4. The Columbia River Orienteering Club - http://www.croc.org/ - made a tutorial video on Purple Pen, which can be seen here. Feel free to pass this along to anyone in your club who would like to get up to speed quickly on this helpful software.