Orienteering is a sport with international competition in 4 disciplines, foot orienteering (FootO), ski orienteering (SkiO), mountain bike orienteering (MBO) and trail orienteering. In the UK the focus tends to be on FootO but in each of the other disciplines the interest and number of competitors is growing. The International Orienteering Federation governs the sport internationally and is responsible for international competition.
Each year the programme of international championships events includes World Orienteering Championships, Junior World Orienteering Championships and World Masters Championships. The IOF also organises an annual World Cup and over 100 World Ranking Events. There are also European Championships.
Orienteering is also part of multisport games such as The World Games and the World Masters Games. FISU organises World University Orienteering Championships and World University Ski Orienteering Championships every second year.
Great Britain Squad
There is a Great Britain orienteering programme which supports athletes and aims to produce medallists at the annual World Championships and Junior World Championships. The programme consists of several squads from talent through to performance; there is also a club and regional structure that introduces and prepares boys and girls with talent to the training required to become accomplished orienteers.
One of our recent successes was at the 2013 World Orienteering Championships where Scott Fraser won a Silver Medal in the Sprint event.
Other international orienteering
As well as the elite orienteering programme there are international competitions including the Home Internationals (junior, senior, veterans), Interland Cup and World Master Championships.
The Interland Cup is England’s only international competition outside the British Isles. England competes annually in this six-cornered match against two Belgian teams, the Netherlands, the Nordrhein-Westfalische (NW Germany) team and the French Ligue Nord–Pas de Calais de course d’orientation (LNPCCO). The competition is a team effort spanning groups from men and women age classes 14 to 60+; England takes a team of around 42 members.
If you are a talented orienteer and are winning in your age class at major events in the UK then you might want to look into the opportunities that are available even if you fall outside of the criteria used for elite or open class orienteering.
To find out more, talk to your club coach or one of your club officials who will be able to help you or point you to someone who can.