Tropical Orienteering Week now open for entries!

You’d probably have read our promotion for the Tropical Orienteering Week, to be held in Kuantan, Malaysia in October 2019. If you haven’t, here’s your chance to learn more about our first large-scale orienteering event in Asia!

Why Tropical O-Week?

We are continually expanding our promotion and offer for unique orienteering experiences in Asia, a continent where the existence of the sport is not known by even many in the orienteering community worldwide, yet offers unforgettable memories for the orienteers who made it there.

Southeast Asia is a popular region for tourists worldwide to come for holidays. It’s also one of the fastest growing orienteering regions in the world—the sport has set its foot in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the first of which has even held its first Sprint World Ranking Event (WRE) last year (2018).

Malaysia will be returning with its second and third WREs (both also sprints) in 2019. The second WRE in October will be held in Kuantan, a bustling town on the east coast of Malaysia. To support this occasion, we’ll be organising a Tropical O-Week to enhance and promote the tropical orienteering experience, which you’ll sure want to discover.

The third WRE in December will be held near Kuala Lumpur and we’re exploring the opportunity to cooperate with local organisers and expand to a sprint-focused orienteering week as well.

Teluk Cempedak, near Kuantan, will be part of an orienteering venue we will use for the Orienteering Week (photo: Sihyoong, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Who’s organising?

The Kuantan WRE and National Ranking Event are organised by the POLISAS (Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah), a university college in Kuantan.

Other events in the week will be held by ORIEN.ASIA, led by Raphael Mak, an event organiser with four years of experience in Hong Kong and now living in Sweden.

What events will there be?

There will be 8 events. Check out the schedule and details on the O-Week page!

Is it expensive to get there?

No. Flying to Kuantan costs around €600 return for the O-Week period (search on Skyscanner as of 7 April 2019, departure from Copenhagen Kastrup). Flying to Kuala Lumpur, then taking a 4-hour bus to Kuantan, is likely to be less expensive.

If you’re worried about climate change effects of aviation, you can always take a train to China, then onwards with trains and buses through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia (seat61.com has excellent advice on this).

Hotels are very cheap in Kuantan: even the luxury Hyatt Regency Resort at Teluk Cempedak will cost you no more than €100 per night. If you’re not that upscale, you can book a room for €30 to €40 a night at a nice three-star hotel downtown, or even cheaper if you’re going for budget options like hostels.

I’m ready! Where can I sign up?

Have you read the details? Decided? Now sign up at our shop!

Remember that we have limited-time discounts, the first of which will expire already in less than a month!

Tropical Orienteering Week, Kuantan, Malaysia, 4-13 October 2019, 8 races and 4 training maps with 1 World Ranking Event!
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AsJYOC 2019 Japan Spectator Races announced

The third edition of the Asian Junior and Youth Orienteering Championships will be held this summer in Hokuto, Japan. The organisers have promised spectator races—here they come—they have announced three days of spectator races (30 August–1 September) with Sprint (Day/Night), Middle Distance WRE, and Long Distance.

That’s all for the meantime—more details will come in May. But enough reason to start planning for a Japan trip maybe?

Arrival at Tokyo Haneda. Hokuto is in the mountains west of Tokyo (northwest of Mount Fuji).
Arrival at Tokyo Haneda Airport.
Hokuto is in the mountains west of Tokyo (northwest of Mount Fuji).

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Did you know…?

We love orienteering! (Photo from MetOC Knockout Sprint 2017)
  1. Hong Kong is probably the earliest place in Asia to have orienteering as a sport. Being one of the last remaining British colonies in the 20th century, the British Armed Forces brought the sport from Europe to Hong Kong in the 1950s/1960s, then taught the police and the scouts how to play it, then taught other people etc.
  2. From Hong Kong the sport went on to other places in Asia: starting from Mainland China in the 1980s, orienteering is now played in well over a dozen countries and regions (see Destinations)
  3. There are 7 countries/regions in Asia (excluding the Middle East) which have hosted IOF high-level events (WRE, AsOC, WOC) at least once: China, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia
  4. China mostly uses its own two systems, Chinahealth and Learnjoy, the latter of which is on IOF’s provisional approval list for WRE events. Hong Kong once used the Norwegian punch system EMIT, but switched to SPORTident some time around 2014 (some clubs use the Chinese systems however). Japan still uses EMIT.
  5. If you’ve been to Britain for orienteering, chances are that you’d been required to bring a whistle with you in the woods. Same applies to Hong Kong, where the rules of the sport are derived from British ones (due to point 1 above).
  6. There is currently (as of 2019) one IOF council member from Asia (also the only non-European member), Dominic Yue who is also the chairman of the Orienteering Association of Hong Kong.
Chinahealth is made in Shenzhen, China
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Big Dipper 10-Day Wave Orienteering Competition ends in YunNan,China

The first few days in the city of Kunming and surroundings in Yunnan province in China’s Southwest were fascinating.

There are few opportunities in the life of a university student to meet on one spot hundreds of people from places all across China and even Europe, while at the same time to enjoy the natural scenery and typical food of the hosts.

All these characters and chapters in our Kunming story have one thing in common: the challenging discipline of orienteering which combines the ability to run and the ability to navigate through an unknown territory with a map and a compass.

The annual 10-day orienteering gathering we are attending was founded in 2016 by mappers from Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangdong province.

With the aim to provide a platform for competing, training, and exchange of ideas, and with the mission to create a wave of interest for orienteering across China, its Chinese name was translated into “Big Dipper 10-Day Wave”.

Thanks to our extremely dedicated and loving organisers, we have had the privilege to run in a small village, on university campuses, in a shopping mall, in an pear orchard, a hill forest above a Taoist temple, and a lakeside golf course.

Each of the tracks came with its own challenges; the windy alleys and many corners of the village, or the impassable fences and rough terrain of the pear orchard demanded a lot of attention and precision.

Among the orienteering enthusiasts in our training there are parents and their children, as well as teachers and their students.

By sharing the passion for orienteering, we all are a colourful mosaic of individuals contributing to the diversity of our training.

 

For some orienteering may be just a competition, however in our 10-day training orienteering is a means to learn and be inspired by others, to reflect on our performance, and to strive for improvement.

Friendships created in our Kunming story resemble the fulfilling sensation of getting to know an orienteering map by running and analysing it.

The more we discuss together the map and the various routes each of us attempted after a competition, the clearer the contours and colours of our individual personalities and orienteering abilities become, and the more we learn from each other.

 

The most inspiring thing is to meet fellow orienteering enthusiasts from so many different places and backgrounds who are willing to share their experience.

I firmly believe that after the last run our passion for orienteering and our new friendships will not fade away. An unstoppable wave of orienteering enthusiasm lays ahead of us.

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MetOC launches app with Asian calendar function

Metropolitan Orienteering Club of Hong Kong (MetOC) has launched an app that makes it possible to check events quickly and links to major entry channels such as IOF Eventor.

App menu
Although the app is mainly targeted at orienteering in Hong Kong (links to weather reports in Hong Kong are included), the app has an Asian calendar—although it’s still quite sporadic and more will be added!

Asian events

Find it useful for planning your next trip to Asia? Then you might want to download it from this Google Play page. (Apple users sorry, an iOS version will come soon!)

Download MetOC app

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3 Major Asian Orienteering Events in 2019

Now with 2019 in full speed—despite me writing 2018 by mistake a couple of times—it’s time to look forward to newer events, better results, and more fun! In the coming years we can see that the focus of orienteering shifts eastward from Europe towards Asia, with many major competitions receiving wider attention from the orienteering world.

Here are three major orienteering events in Asia that will take place in 2019, that you definitively cannot miss:

1. Asian Junior and Youth Orienteering Championships, Hokuto (Japan)

The Asian federations of IOF decided to launch the Asian Junior and Youth Orienteering Championships (AsJYOC) at the 2014 conference in Kazakhstan, with the first edition in 2015 in Hong Kong, and the second edition in 2017 in China. The age groups of M/W 20, 18 and 16 are included, to give young Asian orienteers more chances to compete on an international level. This year, the third edition will be held in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture near Tokyo, in the cool late summer of Japan.

Website screenshot: it looks pretty cool, even when compared to European events like O-Ringen!
Website screenshot: it looks pretty cool, even when compared to European events like O-Ringen! (Copyright organisers)

Japan is known for many high mountains that offer mountaineering opportunities, but the forests in the foothills offer another kind of experience: fun, challenging orienteering in highly runnable forests.

The championships will run from 27 August to 1 September. If you are 20 or under with citizenship of an eligible Asian nation (as defined by the IOF, as listed in the bulletin here), you should pay attention to the national team selections. If you represent other nations, you can still join and run but cannot get a prize.

Over 20? The organisers say they will hold spectator events, so stay tuned!

Website: http://www.orienteering.or.jp/asjyoc2019

2. Asian Trail Orienteering Championships, Hong Kong

I decided to give the spotlight to Trail Orienteering here as, well, it’s good for training patience and orienteering technique. But the big thing is that two major Trail-O events will take place in Hong Kong: the Asian Trail-O Championships in 2019 and the World Trail-O Championships in 2020!

The Asian Trail Orienteering Championships will be held from 29 November to 2 December. So far the Orienteering Association of Hong Kong has not released any info yet but do keep watch.

If you prefer foot orienteering, the Christmas WRE-series will be back to Hong Kong on 22-26 December this year. Time to plan your sunshine trip to Asia maybe?

Hong Kong is becoming a major orienteering hub as the sport becomes trendier in Asia.
Hong Kong is becoming a major orienteering hub as the sport becomes trendier in Asia.

3. Orienteering World Cup Final, Guangzhou (China)

If you’re an active orienteer, chances are that this doesn’t need any introduction to you—the award of organising rights of the the Orienteering World Cup Final to China has been well advertised. For starters, however, the Orienteering World Cup is a series of events (which includes also the World Orienteering Championships) competed among national teams, with scores awarded according to the World Cup rules. World Cup events attract a lot of spectators who come to cheer for their teams (think a huge crowd cheering for Tove?) Last year (2018) the World Cup Final was held in Prague, Czech Republic with races in the vicinity of the famous Prague Castle.

China offers a very different kind of orienteering experience than Europe—while the vegetation might not be a friend to the forest-loving orienteering geeks, China does offer a very unique sprint orienteering experience—thanks to the tightly knit walled villages of Southern China (圍村/weicun/waichuen) that turn the heads of orienteers around!

Sprint competitions that were held late last year (Historical Road Championships in Guangdong, Asian Championships in Hong Kong) have already shown to the world the thrilling possibilities of orienteering. This year’s World Cup Final, scheduled for 26-29 October, will surely be a great hit—why not reserve a week on your calendar and see for yourself? It’s not known yet if there will be spectator races, but better still if there are!

Villages in Southern China provide thrilling orienteering challenges, like this one near Guangzhou
Villages in Southern China provide thrilling orienteering challenges, like this one near Guangzhou

Want more events? You can check out more on our Event Calendar!

Note: There was a mistake in the first version. The World Cup Final is in October not December. (Corrected 11 January 2019)

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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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