Beijing O-Week—how was the terrain in the Chinese capital?

Orienteers who have checked Facebook should know that the Beijing O-Week cum PWT has ended just last weekend. If you don’t know, here is how the terrain looks like (with help from Yannick Michiels’ Facebook posts with maps):

Day 1 (21 Oct) sprint

Chinese parks are usually quite detailed, with many footpaths and impassable gardens. This park has however large forests and open ground, which provide an experience with technical challenges and route choices. Although there is a big lake in the middle, the route choices are not bad (at least not 10 times across the lake like sometimes the course goes!)

Day 2 (23 Oct) Middle distance WRE

The only middle distance of the whole week, which is in a forest but with many manmade features. It looks like a park with paved footpaths.

Ah, and orienteering through a cemetery!? Excuse me!?

Day 3 (25 Oct) sprint

Very, very detailed!

By the way, there are many “Garden Expo Parks” all over China.

Day 4 (26 Oct) sprint WRE

Olympic Forest Park in Beijing. It looks more like middle distance terrain than sprint terrain. Doesn’t look like terrain and course suitable for sprint WRE (but good for middle distance).

It’s in a park, anyway.

Day 5 (27 Oct) sprint

This is a suburb park with something like colony gardens (or homes?) in the northeast. (I cannot find any photos of the area.) Great job with two different scales—but it’s better to have the larger scale (1:1500) coming after the smaller scale (1:3000), since it makes the race more exciting, rather than before as it happened. It looks like a great finale to the O-Week with different kinds of terrain, anyway!

Conclusion

In China orienteering is special but probably different than the Swedish way—orienteering is supported by the government and municipalities (communists anyway). Orienteering is part of the People Liberation Army’s training, elite orienteers can enter university through athlete admission channels (however not in Hong Kong where I grew up), but the most important is that the municipalities want to use orienteering as  promotion (I have heard about events on rice fields, even if it causes inconvenience to farmers!) An important factor for sprint orienteering is to attract spectators, and although details in maps, courses and areas can be improved, the venues are well chosen to create excitement, challenge and enjoyment.

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Hong Kong has high speed rail now

The much debated project is now done: Hong Kong has high speed rail now to the rest of China since 23 September this year. With the inauguration, MTR and CRH are offering direct services to Guangzhou (2 hours) and shuttle to Shenzhen (14 minutes). There are also a few direct trains to other cities in China, like the daily train to and from Beijing for less than 9 hours.

Border control is done at West Kowloon (both Hong Kong and Mainland China).

If you want to try the high speed night train, you can take the Beijing to Shenzhen night train and change in Shenzhen. Probably much more comfortable to take the train from Sweden to Hong Kong through Siberia!

Timetables are available at MTR’s website.

Höghastighetståg till Hongkong (N509FZ@Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 4.0)
High speed train to Hong Kong (N509FZ@Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 4.0)
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