The Hungarian Orienteering Federation celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend in Budapest. IOF President Leho Haldna was there to greet the 300+ crowd in the Special Celebration Gala. Although one of the 10 founding members of the IOF in 1961, the independent Hungarian Orienteering Federation was only founded 9 years later after several years of struggle with the National Tourist Sport Organisation and the communist regime. The first orienteering competition in Hungary was organised way back in 1925.
In his speech Leho Haldna emphasised the special role that HOF played and still plays in IOF’s life. Hungary has two individual World Champions – Sarolta Monspart in 1972 and Katalin Oláh in 1991 and 1995 and several other relay medallists. They organised the World Orienteering Championships in 1983 and 2009 in Foot Orienteering and in 2012 in MTB Orienteering. Several Hungarian orienteers played major roles in running the IOF organisation as volunteers: Sarolta Monspart as former IOF vice president, László Zentai as current IOF Council Member and Áron Less as IOF Foot Orienteering Commission Chairman.
The Celebration Gala was just the start of a whole host of anniversary events to be organised in Hungary throughout 2020. The most important IOF event this year will be the European Youth Orienteering Championships in Salgótarján, but efforts are being made to sufficiently increase participation in the World Orienteering Day activities, for which the IOF President also animated Hungarian coaches as part of a special conference.
Pictured from left to right: László Zentai (IOF Council Member), Leho Haldna (IOF President), Sarolta Monspart (1972 World Champion and former IOF Vice President), Áron Less (HOF Secretary General), József Bugár (HOF President)