The World Games explained: Orienteering

The World Games explained: Orienteering
Orienteering began as a military exercise in Sweden and then evolved into a sport. (Bartek Sadowski)

We are less than two years away from the World Games 2021 taking place in and around Birmingham. Many are likely unfamiliar with the sports in the World Games, so Alabama NewsCenter is explaining what you can expect to see. Today, we look at Orienteering.

Orienteering is a sport that combines racing with navigation. It is a timed race in which individual participants use a specially created, highly-detailed map to select routes and navigate through diverse and unfamiliar terrain to visit control points in sequence. Courses can range from forests to urban environments.

A standard orienteering course consists of a start; a series of control sites that are marked by circles, connected by lines and numbered in the order they are to be visited; and a finish. The control site circles are centered on the feature that is to be found.

This feature is also defined by control descriptions (a list that orienteers receive along with their map). Out in the terrain, a control flag marks the location that the orienteer must visit. To verify a visit, the orienteer uses an electronic “punch” using a finger stick with a chip inside that records their time at each control they visit. The route between controls is not specified and is entirely up to the orienteer.

Orienteering is a race in which competitors try to navigate the quickest route between predetermined points. (Bartek Sadowski)

Originally starting as a military officer training exercise, the sport is most popular in Scandinavia and Sweden, where it was born.

Orienteering became a part of the World Games in 1995 and will be featured at the 2021 Birmingham World Games.

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