Orienteering In Realm Of Sports

What is orienteering? This name may appear to you as a new one, but the name of orienteering in the gamut of sports is being reckoned with! In short, orienteering is a running sport that involves navigation with a map and compass. The traditional form (which is sometimes referred to as "Foot Orienteering" or "Foot-O") do involve the notion of cross-country running, though other forms have evolved. It is to be noted above all, that the competition happens to be a timed race, where the individual participant is found to use a special purpose map and a magnetic compass for the sake of navigating through diverse terrain (often wooded) and visit, in sequence, control points,the manner in which they are indicated on the map!
The sport got its name from the Swedish word, "orientering". However, the first application of the term orienteering in the realm of sports was first used by Major Ernst Killander, then President of the Stockholm Amateur Athletic Association, in the publicity of the first large scale competitive meet held in Sweden. But the origin of orienteering in the true sense happened in Scandinavia, as the part of a military exercise, in the late 19th century. The competitive sport had its inception in Norway where the first competition was sponsored by the Tjalve Sports Club on 31 st October, 1897 and was held near Oslo. Being at the primitive stage, the course was found to be quite long by modern standards, at 19.5 km, on which only three controls were placed. Peder Fossum was the person to win the event in a time of 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 7 seconds! In this respect, it is to be mentioned that the first large scale meeting of orienteering in the internatonal scenario took place in 1918 under the leadership of Major Ernst Killander of Stockholm, Sweden. We shall have to keep it in mind, that Major Killander was a Scout leader who turned to the sport as an opportunity for the sake of alluring youth in athletics, especially orienteering in order to develop the general physique. The first large scale event was organized at south of Stockholm and was attended by 220 athletes. Killander continued to develop the rules and principles of the sport, and today is widely regarded throughout Scandinavia as the "Father of Orienteering". But it was in the decade of the 1930s when the growth of orienteering in terms of popularity happened, the chief reason being the development of more reliable compasses! The first international competition between orienteers of Sweden and Norway was held outside Oslo, Norway in 1932. In 1933, the Swedish compass manufacturer Silva Sweden AB introduced a new compass design, the protractor compass. However, until the development of the thumb compasses, the protractor compass would remain the state of the art in the sport. By 1934, over a quarter million Swedes were actively participating in the sport, and orienteering had spread to Finland, Switserland, the erstwhile Soviet Union and Hungary. This instigated the nations of Finland, Norway, and Sweden to establish national championships of orienteering in the realm of sports. The Swedish national orienteering society, Svenska Orienteringförbundet, the first national orienteering society, was founded in 1936.

In the present juncture there are sixty-seven different national orienteering federations as member societies of the IOF or International Orienteering Federation today. For the sake of further expansion world championships were held bi-annually from 1961 to 2003, and in the present age are now held every year. It should be taken into consideration that the Jukola relay and Tiomila have both been held since the 1940s. The largest individual orienteering meet, O-Ringen, has been held annually since 1965 and attracts around 15,000 athletes to compete in the Swedish forests. There are new variations of the sport, including ski orienteering, mountain bike orienteering, trail orienteering, canoe orienteering, and radio orienteering, for the sake of attracting various communities of athletes.
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