It has been a most difficult year for organisations like ours to continue functioning with COVID 19, but with an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers we have been able to run most events on the calendar, including the Flinders Long Weekend.
There has been a great deal of extra work to organise events, with social distancing etc and additional opportunities have been presented to carry on orienteering with such devices as MapRun.
I wish to thank all orienteers involved in maintaining our sport during this time. Have a great Xmas and New Year, and let us look forward to next year with less restrictions and the ability to compete with our colleagues from interstate and overseas.
From the editor
If you are frustrated with confusing and changing Covid rules, spare a thought for organisers of Danish orienteering events. In July, the Danish government restricted numbers attending outdoor events to 100, which rose to 200 in August. In September, the number was lowered to 50 and then shortly after to 10. In October, the number of competitors at an event became unrestricted within a constraint that a maximum of 10 could gather in one area, except if everybody was under 21 when the number was 50. The under 21 limit of 50 was lowered to 10 in early December, with a warning that other restrictions were likely to follow or change in the next few days (which they have)!
Although Covid-19 continues to dominate headlines, both here and overseas, infection rates appear to be relatively low. For example, over 10 months the USA total of confirmed cases is less than 5% of its population, with Switzerland only just behind. Sweden, which has received a lot of negative media coverage, is just over 3%. Several countries are now experiencing a major surge in cases.
Actual numbers are expected to be higher than those officially reported because many people infected by the virus, variously reported as up to four in five, develop no or only mild symptoms. However, the consequences of contracting Covid-19 has been catastrophic for health care in several countries, with hospitals, as well as morgues and cemeteries, being overwhelmed and many infected patients experiencing severe long-term, some terminal, symptoms. Lockdowns and restrictions around the world have largely been driven by a need to prevent health care systems becoming overwhelmed with infected patients.
Contrary to some negative media reporting, Australia has done remarkably well to almost eliminate the virus, but it is still important to continue to protect against complacency. Managing the balance between minimising risks of virus transmission, clearly, accurately and honestly informing the public on the risks so as not to cause unnecessary anxiety and confusion, and not making life overly onerous while doing this, is the subject of the following letter to the editor. There is also an article on how Covid is affecting five top orienteering nations; a detailed report on the long weekend events at Flinders Ranges; my selection of SA's Middle Champion of Champions (Angus Haines); a comprehensive commentary on SA's event planning in 2020; a report on the SA Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships; an article with video from 1988 that aimed to promote orienteering in schools; SA and NT event results summary; an advert for some old stock polo shirts; a snippets section which covers a virtual international orienteering event held during November in Scotland, some club news, Sport Australia podcasts, and mapping; some health and fitness tips for the over-40s; a link to and summary of the latest Australian Orienteer magazine; many gallery photographs scattered through this newsletter; and finally the current SA and NT competition/training program to March 2021.
Orienteering (and life in general) can never be entirely risk free, even before Covid came along.
What we need to do is to find sensible and practical ways to minimise and manage risks.
I am concerned that in trying to "do the right thing", people can often go overboard. This can create needless worry among orienteers, and unnecessary work for the volunteers who run our events.
For instance, the Australian Orienteer magazine December issue has two articles on Covid, which I take issue with.
1. The rather alarmist headline, "Covid causing virus can survive 28 days on surfaces", does not reflect the fact that it can only do so under controlled laboratory conditions, which will not be encountered at orienteering events. That is, the virus was cultured in a petri dish (on an artificial-mucus media), in total darkness, with controlled high humidity (50%), and low temperatures (20'C).
Even then, as the author explains, the trace amounts that were recovered after 28 days is probably not enough to constitute an infectious dose. As one of the research report's co-authors, Professor Trevor Drew, emphasised, the findings represent "a worst-case scenario", and that the main message remains that "infectious people are far, far more infectious than surfaces".
2. The recommendation with hire SI sticks is that the SI bands must be issued separately from the cards, be washed after use, and the cards themselves needing to be disinfected only if re-used within 2 days. This may not accord with the evidence that the Covid virus survives longer on non-porous surfaces (i.e. the cards) than on porous ones (the elastic bands). Besides, why go to all that trouble when a good airing in the sun will fix things? Sunlight, drying out, and heat all kill viruses.
We all want to stop the spread of Covid. But the precautions we take have to be based on specific legal requirements and scientific evidence.
The Covid virus, like all Coronaviruses, mainly spreads by airborne transmission. In addition, it is very fragile, and does not survive soap or sanitiser.
Therefore, risk minimisation at our events, in my opinion, is best done by emphasising the need for social distancing and good hand hygiene. Also to stay away if unwell, to cover coughs, and to wear masks in areas where social distancing is not always possible (e.g. at Registration and Download tents).
If can we do that, with orienteering being an outdoor, non-contact sport, the chances of contracting Covid at our events will be minimal. The risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, breaking a leg, or getting bitten by a snake would be much higher.
Great orienteering was experienced in the Flinders Ranges over the October Long Weekend but the weather was somewhat interesting. With NSW residents now free to come to SA, we had a few NSW orienteers at the event, as well as South Australians.
The first event on Saturday afternoon (Oct 3rd) was a warm-up event on the flatter eastern section of Wilpena Spurs. The Sacred Canyon road to this area is now closed off by a locked gate, and efforts mainly by Rob Tucker enabled access through this gate, which had to be manned for the afternoon, to the Wilpena Spurs map area.
The event was held by Tintookies, with the courses of middle distance length planned by Bob Smith. The weather was somewhat warm, and much warmer than any of the events held up until this time, so the participants appreciated the event being held in the less steep sections of the map. A water control location was planned near the finish for the longer courses, so competitors could leave their personal water bottles to use when they passed through.
The Sunday event was a Long OY on Rawnsley with the event organized by Tjuringa with courses by Sarah and Aylwin Lim. Fortunately the covered area between the bunkhouse was able to be used for the registration and download at the finish, as the weather was far from ideal. A strong northerly wind strengthened during the morning, with increasing red dust haze. By early afternoon Rawnsley Bluff and the pound were completely hidden by the dust haze. The wind and dust made for unpleasant camping conditions, with some experiencing damage to the camping gear apart from having red dust through everything.
The longer courses provided both a physical challenge with a mixture of longer legs with route choice, shorter legs, and many direction changes. With the warm morning though, probably many orienteers sensibly took a steadier approach to the orienteering than they might have otherwise.
For the event results go to this link (Results), and all courses are available on Route Gadget.
Event 3 was the SA Middle Distance championships at Prelinna. The red dust and wind made for an interesting experience putting out controls on the Sunday afternoon prior to the event, however the dust cleared in the evening and was followed by a cool change and a little rain. Hence the event had by far the best of the weekend weather, with ideal conditions for orienteering. A cool morning initially with low cloud greeted the early starters, but the cloud lifted and blew away as the morning progressed. The orienteering provided very challenging courses set by Bridget Uppill (assisted by Simon) with the event organized by Onkaparinga Hills.
Many of the hard courses had one or two initial short legs followed by a longer leg, with many orienteers asking themselves the question "Which Koll"? Maintaining map contact was essential to have success on these courses. A comment submitted to the annual course planning award reflects the quality of the courses - "particularly enjoyed the balance between some long legs and technical requirements. There was the right balance of fitness and skill required. Distance seemed just right for our age category. A lovely map and I felt that all of the interesting aspects were utilised - creeks, knolls, contours, vegetation".
SA's Middle Distance Champion of Champions - Angus Haines
After crunching the results, the performance of M20A Angus Haines of Onkaparinga Hill OC was found to be significantly better at the SA Middle Championships held on 5th October at Prelinna in the Flinders, than all other champions.
The process described in the March 2019 newsletter was used to compare all A-class winners' performances by estimating the effects of distance, gender and age on finish times using speed profiles derived from international running and orienteering competition (World Championships, Junior World Championships, World Cup, and World Masters Championships) records. Adjusted class winning times were then compared with the winning time of the M21A class winner to produce an estimate of performance based on a common international standard. The M21A winner's performance was set to 100, and class winners with an estimated performance greater than 100 will have performed at a higher standard than the M21A winner, and those with performance less than 100 at a lesser standard.
The analysis showed that Angus Haines (M20A winner over a 6.0km course) achieved the best performance score of 150. In 2nd place was Emily Sorensen (W21A winner also over a 6.0km course) with a performance score of 134. Notably, in 3rd place was Marcus Cazzolato (M12A1 winner over a 2.0km course) with a performance score of 115. Notable because this up-and-coming young orienteer achieved a 2nd place in the SA Long Champion of Champions at Narrinyeri Hills (Kinchina Conservation Park) in September.
1. Distance, age and gender corrections for classes below M/W16 overestimate performance by a small margin because courses are slightly easier.
2. Although qualified to compete in the W65A age group, Robin Uppill competed in and won W55A.
The OSA Course Planners award was to be presented at the OSA presentation night, however that has been deferred. The following is a selection of comments made on various courses that were submitted in the award process, as well as some of my comments mostly focusing on harder courses.
Links to the Route Gadget courses are included where available.
A great set of challenging sprint format courses, on an area with technical challenges.
"A bit shorter than expected, but very well planned and interesting course. Controls were all suitably and correctly located. Some taping of OOB areas and impassable features might have discouraged some from taking shortcuts"
"Technical level was appropriate and I found the course challenging and enjoyable. Good route choice options."
This event was not part of the course planner award process, however it is included here as an example of courses on an area that is steep, has a lot of green areas, and many tracks. Being the first standard foot event after the COVID-19 event suspension, the approach was to use moderate to hard courses, rather than hard, to ease people back to foot orienteering ... and avoid the green areas of prickly bushes! Heavy rain overnight made for dampness underfoot.
An area with steep sections and many green areas. As for the above event, with no orienteering for 3 months, the course planners made good use of the more open areas, with some pivot controls on the hard courses.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of this event was the weather - cold, very windy, rain and some hail. The area now has many mountain bike tracks which are not mapped, but were very helpful at times if you guessed they would lead you in the right direction. Pewsey Vale is always challenging.
"Map printing could have been improved - numbers were hard to find and circles should have been bigger. But good courses - variety in legs and controls"
"Some areas of the map require updates, in particular to show changes in pine vegetation as this has significant (negative) impact on runnability but is not shown accurately on the map. Legs in general were ok, but the course would have benefited from a bit more variation in leg length with potentially at least one longer route choice leg, given the course length."- comment was on Course 1
This map has some extremely rocky areas on the western side, with some areas in the east where the rocks are more scattered, and use of this part of the map made for enjoyable running in the first part of course, and then finishing in the more technical difficult areas requiring more concentration.
"Enjoyable course due to the area, with enjoyable rock detail, although somewhat tedious open transit legs (perhaps unavoidable) meant there were some less interesting sections. Perhaps more use of the detailed rock and slopes on the western edge of the map would have added a bit more variation to an otherwise fairly even tempo course via increased difficulty and change of running speed. Ideally early in the course in addition to later." - comment for Course 1, legs were long enough on the shorter courses.
Course quality was excellent for some courses, but this event shows the challenge of getting all courses of the same standard end to end. Some legs were a little bland, offset by others with good route choice options and technical sections in the first part of most courses. Some control sites a bit physical for older age groups, but the weekend was enjoyed by everyone.
"Great course with good route choice"
SA Club Relays - Wirra Wirra - 30th Aug
Route Gadget Link - this does not show the actual courses due to the splitting, but only the controls used on each course.
Relays are always a lot of fun, added to this year with the slightly wet drizzly morning. Challenging hard courses with good splitting, perhaps the moderate courses were a little too challenging for some.
SA Long Championships - Narrinyeri Hills - 13th Sep
Being a state championships, expectations are for a high standard of course planning. The area had been remapped based on LIDAR, so an accurate map was provided, with the area chosen included some areas of thick vegetation. The courses were typical long distance format, with route choice enabling some avoidance of green areas, with more technical sections on the hard courses.
"A lovely day, hard work but so enjoyable"
"Good mix of short and long controls. Plenty of technical challenges. Great outlooks and scenic variety"
"Fantastic and very enjoyable event held in an interesting area and with a great map. Planner did an excellent job designing a course that tested all orienteering techniques, ranging from fast open running to slow, precise navigation to find controls in dense vegetation."
The courses although longer distance, had a middle distance style of course, which probably made interesting use of the area for the event. However the courses suffered a little from some map changes with thicket areas extended or having vague boundaries so some control sites were probably not ideal. However knowing when to omit these comes with experience - if a site is hard to find when field checking, then it is probably not a good control site.
MTBO courses were also part of this event but are not commented on.
"A very enjoyable day out at Kuitpo. Yes, there were a couple of challenges amongst the thickets, but there were some great route choices on a number of the legs on course 2."
"Difficult to set courses with the thick vegetation spreading so much in places. Needed a bit more guidance from the club not to use controls that are not as mapped, and were probably difficult to locate when checking controls. Courses style was middle distance but because of the vegetation, still offered a few route choices"
Again the weather was probably a feature of this event with a hot northerly and dust clouds although the latter did not become significant until the early afternoon. Good long distance format courses.
"Possibly too many courses with same groups of controls in same order. (RU Comment - for the numbers are SA events - this is not too much of an issue and replicates major event conditions with many more competitors)"
"Great effort by Sarah who is becoming a great course setter."
"An excellent course with some challenging legs. Well done to the course setter."
SA Middle Distance Championships Prelinna - 5th October
At any event, setting courses to cover the 4 degrees of difficulty and that are satisfying to all people, is challenging. However this event achieved that, so that even those who had problems with maintaining map contact on the longer legs, appreciated the course quality. Format was excellent for middle distance, with some complex technical sections and some longer legs where maintaining map contact was essential.
"I have previously run successfully in this area but on this occasion I failed! Showed that the "It must be here somewhere approach" just does not work! Control 5 was a beauty and I wasted so much time there I ran out of time to complete the course."
"Excellent controls placements - set in challenging places that required careful route choices. Very well set - with good route choice, ways to relocate yet you needed to be accurate with navigation. All the other courses I looked at were also well done. Also, the W10 was done very well, following easy course guidelines. I recommend Bridget for the Course planners award. Best maps I have done all year."
"This was tricky terrain. The length of the course was perfect for my standard. The control sites were safe in my opinion (compared with other events I have attended)."
"Fantastic course - my favourite for the year."
"I particularly enjoyed the balance between some long legs and technical requirements. There was the right balance of fitness and skill required. Distance seemed just right for our age category. A lovely map and I felt that all of the interesting aspects were utilised - creeks, knolls, contours, vegetation."
SA MTBO Championships - Gumeracha Gold Fields - 11th October
These courses are not available on Route Gadget.
Some challenging courses with route choice, but potentially too physically demanding for the older age groups.
"This was my first MTBO and, while exhausted, loved the entire experience. The volunteers were amazing and you could tell that a lot of thought went into putting together a versatile course. If I had to make any suggestions it would be to add more downhill (but that's just my legs talking)."
"The course setting was superb - route choice on ALL legs, even to the finish. This is incredibly hard to achieve on a hilly mtbo area such as Mt Crawford. The route choices weren't just whether to go left or right around a block, but had to factor in climb, type of track & rideability (esp given recent rain), as well as the rider's ability. This left everyone pondering what was best on certain legs, even after the finish. Certain to be a few people re-riding various legs on this course to settle arguments! Also great that setter had "found" & mapped some extra single track."
SA Night Championships - Anstey Hill - 17th October
Some great courses for a daytime event, but possibly a little challenging for night time due to the terrain with green areas and quarries.
"Considering the limitations of the map a thoroughly enjoyable yet challenging course in the dark. The course planner ensured that control circles did not obscure features. Not all courses done this year in other events have done this well."
On Sunday October 11, 27 competitors took to the forest with their bikes and map for the SA state mountain bike orienteering championships. Although recent rain had made some areas muddy (and some areas with logging traffic really muddy), the sun came out and made for perfect riding weather.
Most MTBO events in SA are score events but the state champs are always line courses, so those able to make quick route choice decisions right from the start had the advantage.
In W21, Catherine Loye was triumphant over Sarah Gilbert (WA) by less than 3 minutes, followed by Aurelia Strozik. The top three men in M21 were within 5 minutes, with Harrison Waugh taking out the title ahead of Jack Allison (EU-V) and John Allison (NE-V). Andrew McComb (OH) took first place in the competitive M60 class over David Couche and Gerhard Veliatis (YA).
Congratulations to all the new state champions and all riders who took on the tough courses and hilly terrain, almost always with a smile at the finish!
Amber Tomas was the course setter. Thanks to Wallaringa for putting on a great event and to Peter Mayer for controlling and making sure everything ran smoothly. This was the final event of the year for 2020, but many are already looking forward to what is on offer in 2021!
Click/tap to zoom. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery. Note that the last photograph was added for amusement value, and was not taken at the championships!
In 1988 OASA received funding from the Department of Recreation and Sport to make an orienteering promotional video for school children.
OASA's then Promotion Officer, Lyn Barnett, together with her three children, had the pleasure of working with Margaret Haselgrove from Co Media Productions in making the video. Margaret, armed with a dictaphone, shadowed Lyn's daughter Krista Barnett over several courses with Krista verbalising her decision-making processes. This formed the basis of the script. Kym Barnett, with the help of brother Garth, selected the location (Mount Crawford Forest) and course suitable for filming. The course needed to have orienteering features of interest but also enable the filming crew to have access with a vehicle housing the steady cam.
One of the features in the video are a series of waterholes but on the day of filming they had dried out. Fortunately the local CFS assisted by pumping water back into them. Another feature is a saddle. The computer graphics used to highlight the saddle was new technology at the time and cost half of the video budget.
The video "˜What a Crazy Way to Spend a Sunday" is below. Although dated in many ways (check out the drink station) technically it is still sound. See who you can recognise from over 30 years ago.
Despite Covid lockdowns affecting all sports, orienteering in SA and NT has been relatively active since publication of the last newsletter as well as in virtual form during lockdown periods. Highlight events were the SA MTBO, Middle Distance, and Night Championships. Click event name with links to go to respective results' pages. For all results, including splits, RouteGadget and OY results, going back to 2013 click here.
Inspired by the Covid lockdown, Lockdown Orienteering was created and supported by several international orienteers. Its aim was to generate orienteering challenges in the form of virtual events that competitors from all around the world could do from home while waiting for real orienteering to restart. After an optimistic restart of real orienteering at the time of our last newsletter, orienteering again went into lockdown across Europe. Lockdown orienteering was then reborn as Orienteering Unlocked.
A series of events were held on 11-15 November using the Scottish World Championship 1999 maps and courses. The events attracted several international competitors using the Catching Features software.
The commentator for the 75 minute video below is Katherine Bett, whom many will recognise as the official IOF voice behind recent orienteering championship broadcasts.
Apart from bush and MTBO championship events, spring is generally a quiet period for clubs - even without Covid lockdowns! Top End Orienteers continues to produce interesting newsletters reflecting an active and growing club. It has already published a comprehensive event calendar to the middle of next year. The club has embraced the use of MapRunF to simplify the organisation of both real-time and virtual events. Port Lincoln OC reported that it had set up several permanent orienteering courses at Brinkworth Reserve to introduce newcomers to the sport.
Sport Australia Podcasts
Sport Australia started producing and publishing a series of fortnightly podcasts in September for anybody interested in sport governance principles in Australia. The aim is to feature a prominent guest in each podcast. Current published podcasts can be viewed from here.
OO Mapper is free mapping software that can be installed on Windows (7 and higher), MacOS (10.12 and higher), and Android (4.1 and higher) computers.
Since the last newsletter there has been another update (current version is now 0.9.4) that adds new or improved features and fixes bugs. Key changes include improved drawing and import of files for use as templates/background maps.
OCAD is Windows-only software and is now available as a subscription version for single users or teams.
The annual license for the full team version is just under twice the single user fee (about $A375 compared with $A220), and two users can use OCAD per team license. Although sounding restrictive, OCAD offers the option of transferring licenses between team users within 24 hours. Thus, several team members could have OCAD installed on their computers but only two per license would be able use it at any one time. Discounts are available for three year licenses and volume purchases, and there are also limited and cheaper versions.
The current version of OCAD is 20.5.5. Users are notified of new updates when they start the program. Older non-subscription versions of OCAD have not been updated for some time. For more information on updates and features go to the OCAD service update page.
Sports people treated by the surgeon include an Olympic heptathlete, sprinter, marathon runner, long jumper, a rugby halfback, and he has been an adviser to the British Board of Control and the England rugby union team, and orthopaedic surgeon to the English National Ballet.
Ribbans observes that by the age of 50 almost everybody has an orthopaedic problem, such as frayed knee cartilage or shrivelled spinal discs, and that exercise remains the single most important activity that preserves or enhances health. He has eight golden rules that do this.
Don't run more than 1600km a year. Ribbans contends that our bodies have a finite number of kilometres on their clock and as a result running, a high impact activity, will eventually adversely affect tendons and joints. However, there are huge individual variations in this general rule caused by genetics, prior injuries, and intensity and type of activities. Achilles tendon problems appear to be a leading injury in later life, although advanced understanding of this injury has led to successful non-invasive treatments (for example, search for the name Hakan Alfredson to find out more).
Don’t dive into running a full marathon. For the unfit with excessive or unrealistic ambitions, realistic training required to run a marathon will in many cases result in stress fractures and inflamed Achilles tendons. Initially, set shorter distance goals, such as 5 or 10km, and then build up from there. Training for a marathon requires major personal sacrifices, and anyway not everybody is built to run a marathon.
Take Vitamin D. Bone health, amongst other factors, depends upon having reasonable levels of vitamin D. In a study of his patients, Ribbans found that only about 15% of them had reasonable levels of vitamin D and 20% had levels so low that they risked their bone health. In a study published by him he showed that vitamin D not only improved bone density and reduced the risk of fractures, but also improved muscle strength. He found that long-term intake of 4,000 international units a day is safe for most adults and children over the age of 11, and that vitamin D2 is much less effective than vitamin D3. Note that the World Health Organization recommends a daily vitamin D dose a tenth of that recommended by Ribbans.
Take your kids walking, running or cycling. Excessive training in youth motivated by a pressure to become an elite athlete is resulting in an increased prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Although these injuries can be repaired surgically they significantly increase the potential for re-injury and risk of osteoarthritis of the knee later in life. Ribbans' advice is to find a middle road and encourage children to engage in a variety of sports and activities while their bodies are growing and maturing, and thus avoid the type of sport-related injuries that can emerge later in life.
Don’t bother with MRI scans. Many people over the age of 50 with sore knees and hips will turn to MRI scans to find out what's wrong, but more often they don't always provide an answer. A 2015 study found that 43% of knee MRI scans were useless, which rose to 82% in athletes who had knee wear and tear. Effective and less expensive x-rays may reveal age-related decline in cartilage in most people over 50, but doesn't necessarily mean that it is the cause of joint pain.
Mix up your workouts. As we get older, emphasis should shift towards the retention of strength and balance. Cardiovascular activity such as running should be part of a balanced program of exercise, which includes strength and stretching activities, and swimming and cycling. Advice given to his patients is that a BMI of under 18.5 is a bone fracture risk, so don't become too obsessed with weight.
Factor in extra recovery time. Bones, muscle, tendons, collagen and joints need time to recover from the impact of exercise, which becomes more important as we age. Type 1 collagen response peaks about three days after intense exercise, which is about the best time to work out hard again. Recovery from injury also takes longer as we age. If you rush your recovery, the chances are you won't return to your full potential. Type 1 collagen forms long fibres and is found in muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Avoid diet and fitness fads. One of the worst fads for joints was barefoot running, which has now passed. A recent study showed that vegans have a 43% higher risk of fractures than meat eaters, and the risk of hip fractures is more than twice. Poor diet especially during adolescence can compromise bone mass, which reaches a peak by age 18 to 20. Compromised bone mass at this age will last for life.
How has Covid-19 affected orienteering around the world?
Earlier this year, the IOF announced that most international orienteering events would be cancelled because of the pandemic and the focus turned to 2021 and beyond. However, despite constraints imposed by national restrictions on gatherings around the world, major orienteering nations still managed to minimise the pandemic's effect on national competitions and training. June and July saw the reemergence of competitions, training camps, and travel to some international events. But ..... soon after activities restarted, they ground to a halt!
Below are summaries of O-news from the major orienteering countries covered in the last newsletter. By comparison, and based on world data (see for example, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Covid-19 Dashboard, population estimates in the CIA World Factbook, consolidated information on Covid-19 tests, confirmed cases and deaths per million in Our World in Data) at the end of November, confirmed Covid cases per million of population (deaths/million in brackets) for Sweden was about 23,750 (650), Switzerland 37,220 (500), Denmark 12,870 (140), Norway 6,380 (59), and Finland 4,310 (70). Latest (11 December) information shows that some of these countries have had increases of 10-20% in total confirmed cases in the last two weeks!
Australian Covid cases are currently about 1,100 (36) per million and New Zealand 430 (5). For the USA, which, in addition to Sweden, has attracted most international attention because of both countries' generally hands-off approach to managing Covid, infection rates on 8 December were just under 46,000 (about 4.6% of the population) and death rates about 865 per million (under 0.09%). Surprisingly, the USA figures are only marginally higher than those current for Switzerland (4.2% and 0.07%), a country normally associated with healthy and more disciplined living .
Winter in Sweden brings snow, and a transition to ski orienteering. Although the country initially operated a relatively unrestricted Covid policy based more on personal responsibility, increasing government-restrictions began to dominate as the year progressed. Many events were cancelled, group outdoor training within strict guidelines was allowed, and indoor training only allowed if essential.
The country still managed to hold a number of major national competitions. Gustav Bergman became the first ever men's orienteer to have won all three major events (Sprint, Middle and Long) and was awarded Sweden's Orienteer of the Year for his efforts. Relative youngster, Sanna Fasth (age 22 and 2nd last year) was this year's women's Long champion.
The Swedish Orienteering Association received government compensation for financial losses caused by Covid amounting to the equivalent of about $A2million (all sports were compensated approximately $A89million) for the period July to September.
For more, go to O-news releases. Tip: in Windows use a Google Chrome browser, and right click to automatically translate from Swedish to English.
Although Switzerland overtook Sweden with Covid infections on a per capita basis, you would not have realised this when looking at national event results.
Women's and men's winners of the Swiss Grand Slam competition (Sprint, Middle and Long competitions held from August to November) were Simona Aerbersold and Matthias Kyburz. The Swiss Women's and Men's Long Championships were won respectively by Sabine Hauswirth and Daniel Hubmann, and Middle Championships by Simona Aebersold and Martin Hubmann. Joey Hadorn became the Swiss mountain running champion completing the 12.6km course with 860m of climb in an incredible 57:33.
Other Swiss O-news including reports of events can be found here.
Training and training camps continued within government constraints, such as social distancing, hygiene, group sizes, etc. The government limit on the number of people at outdoor gatherings was raised to 100 in July and rose to 200 in August. In September it was then lowered again to 50 and a few weeks later to 10. The number of competitors at an event became unlimited in October within the constraints of a maximum of 10 (50 for people under 21, until this number was then reduced to 10 in December) gathering in one area! Confused? The gathering limits were expected to remain until mid December. Under new Covid rules introduced in October, SportIdent items after an event were to be held "in quarantine" for 48hours.
Very few competitions had been held since publication of the September OSA newsletter with the main focus being on training programs. More Danish O-news can be found here.
The September-December period was characterised by event cancellations later in the period and a focus more on training. As reported in the last newsletter, Norway's Covid restrictions were more restrictive (and became even more restrictive as the months went by) than those applying in other Scandinavian countries. In October a third "crisis package" was announced by the government to compensate sports organisations for financial losses caused by Covid restrictions. The scheme was to be administered through the Norwegian Lotteries and Foundations Authority and, according to a government news release, amounted to a remarkable one billion kroner, or about $A150million!!
Some competitions were held under strict and comprehensive "corona" organisational guidelines, with the Finnish championships being in October. The guidelines had allowed events of over 50 participants to be organised but with no spectators. The guidelines included similar requirements to those applied in South Australia, plus others that reflected the larger number of competitors expected at Finnish events. More restrictive guidelines were issued in late November, when all outdoor sports events, which included training, in the Helsinki (the country's capital) area being suspended. However, individual training was still allowed and slightly less restrictive rules applied outside the Helsinki area.
The December edition of The Australian Orienteer carries a cover photo of WA's Henry McNulty and includes an account of his success at the Norwegian Sprint Championships, winning the Sprint and placing 4th in the Knock-Out Sprint, with maps from both events. We continue our celebration of Junior orienteers, this time in the eastern States. Steve Bird continues his coaching series on "How to Improve Your Orienteering". There's accounts and maps of both the SA and WA MTBO Championships including race descriptions by Ricky Thackray. We have some impressions of last year's Swiss O Week by a non-orienteer who tagged along with some very committed Victorians. There's an account of the very successful Sporting Schools program in Queensland; there's SPORTident news for you; some Nutrition advice, and the usual Spot the Difference, O-Spy, and Top Events sections.
The summer period is when the local orienteering calendar is mainly urban events held on Friday evenings. For the latest program information go to the OSA Event page. The confirmed program on 6 December for Adelaide and surrounds, Lincoln, Saltbush and Top End clubs is as follows:
Warning: because of Covid-19 restrictions, all events are subject to change or cancellation at short notice. It is important that you regularly check event details with organisers.
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