The World Games Explained: Orienteering

We are less than two years from World Games 2021 taking place in and around Birmingham. Many are likely unfamiliar with World Games sports, so Alabama NewsCenter explains what you can expect to see. Today, we are interested in orienteering.

Orienteering is a sport that combines racing and 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 checkpoints in order. Courses can range from forests to urban environments.

A standard orientation course consists of a start; a series of control sites marked by circles, connected by lines and numbered in the order in which they must be visited; and a finish. The control site circles are centered on the entity to be searched.

This functionality is also defined by control descriptions (a list that orienteers receive with their card). On the ground, a control flag marks the place that the orienteer must visit. To verify a visit, the orienteer uses an electronic “punch” using a finger with a chip inside which records his time at each checkpoint he visits. The path between the controls is not specified and depends entirely on the orienteer.

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

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

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

To learn more, visit:

Dino J. Dotson