Asia

World Orienteering Day: where to try orienteering in Asia?

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It’s time for World Orienteering Day again! The week-long initiative by IOF will start tomorrow (15 May) and last until 21 May.

WOD was originally intended for school orienteering, but has now become a convenient occasion for orienteers around the world to promote their sport. While Europe still has the majority of WOD events registered on
worldorienteeringday.com, Asia has quite some remarkable activities in remarkable places, with Taiwan registering 9 events (as of 14 May), 7 each in Indonesia and Japan, and a staggering 12 in tiny Hong Kong!

Here are some of the activities you should learn about:

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Nepal: forest (and school orienteering) on high

For the outdoor-loving, Nepal is perhaps synonymous with the highest mountains in the world. To go to Nepal often means to conquer the Himalayas, if not to see its exotic towns and villages (or other similar activity, however stereotyped).

But what about orienteering? Probably not many orienteers know that Nepal has become an IOF member this year. Besides, they even got this map of a small forest, behind a school!

Hong Kong: the metropolis continues to shine

Hong Kong is one of the earliest places for orienteering in Asia. Indeed, it has one of the highest numbers of WOD activities in East Asia this year (12 activities registered as of 14 May).

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Besides school orienteering, Hong Kong will be hosting downtown events, park orienteering, and an online trail orienteering course for WOD.

Macau: old town meets new sport

What do you know about Macau besides its Portuguese past, its UNESCO-recognised old town, and its casinos? Well, as an orienteer, I’d say it has orienteering! Although Macau is a relative newcomer in the sport, it’s learning quick from its neighbour across the sea.

Macau’s WOD activity will be in Guia Municipal Park, which hosts historical structures including a church, a fortress, and air raid shelters.

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Taiwan: beautiful island with active orienteering

The beautiful island (which is what Taiwan’s other name, Formosa, literally means) has been active in the orienteering scene for quite a while, being a short hop by plane from Hong Kong. In fact, Taiwan will host its sprint championship this weekend at Huafan University, a Buddhist university near Taipei.

Japan: WOD in a super-metropolis

Japan is the only Asian country to have hosted the World Orienteering Championships (in 2005), and this year’s WOD activity will be no less impressive. And this means orienteering in Tokyo, one of the most bustling metropolises of the world.

The WOD activity will be at Shinagawa Season Terrace, an urban park with mall and conference facilities right next to Shinagawa Station. Also, the Japanese will be showcasing NaviTabi, their GPS tracking service for orienteering.

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China (mainland)

Chinese students in Orienteering World Schools Championship

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Students from the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Secondary School participated in the Orienteering World Schools Championship in Otepää, Estonia last week.

The Chinese students are the only East Asian team in the Championship (the school also participated in the last edition in 2017). Israel is the only other fully Asian country in the Championship this year, along with Eurasian countries Turkey and Russia.

The students got overall 18th in class M1 School and 14th in class M2 School. In class M1 Selected, Chinese students came 14th overall.

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The Orienteering World Schools Championship is organised by the International School Sport Federation (ISF). The ISF is in charge of international sport competitions for students 13 to 18 years of age. The orienteering event usually takes place every second year. 600 young athletes from 23 countries took part in the 18th edition this year.

The Championship consists of a middle distance race, a long distance race, and a friendship team event. The overall results are the total time of the team in the middle and long distance races. The friendship team event consists of mixed teams, each with members from different countries.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Secondary School is based in Zhongshan where Dr Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China, was born, north of Zhuhai and Macau. The boarding school was founded in 1934 by Sun Fo, Sun Yat-sen’s eldest son, and is today a top-grade school of Guangdong Province. Within the orienteering community, the school is famous for its active orienteering activities. Its large campus of half a square kilometre has hosted public orienteering competitions.

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Sun Yat-sen Memorial Secondary School
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Japan

What you should know about Japan today: era change

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Emperor Akihito of Japan abdicated on 30 April 2019, succeeded by his elder son Naruhito.

A new emperor will always use a new era name (年号 nengō). Until 30 April 2019 the era name was 平成 Heisei. As Japan has now passed into 1 May at 00:00 (30 April 18:00 for Central Europe), the era name is now 令和 Reiwa.

Yoshihide Suga (Chief Cabinet Secretary) announced the new era name on 1 April. The cabinet selected the name from a shortlist submitted by an expert panel. (Government of Japan, CC-BY 4.0)

In Japan, people always use era names to count years. The Heisei era had been in use since Emperor Akihito’s reign started in 1989 (Heisei 1). The year 2018 was Heisei 30. Era names are important not only for practical purposes; they also have strong social, cultural and emotional significance for people in Japan.

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This year (2019) is therefore known in Japan as “Reiwa 1” from 1 May onwards. (Until 30 April, the year was “Heisei 31”.)

More about Japan! Did you know Japan is hosting the Asian Junior and Youth Orienteering Championships this summer? You can also join the spectator races!

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