Christmas is near and it’s hard to miss with the winter cold and all the Christmas carols around! When darkness and snow fall and foot orienteering gets a pause—do you know there’s two weeks of orienteering adventure coming in subtropical South China?
If you want to be in (and avoid the snow and cold) keep in mind that the deadline is fast approaching! See the map below and click on the orienteering markers for more info:
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!?
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!
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.