Athlete Advisory Group Elections 2024

Elections to the IOF Athlete Advisory Groups (AAGs) for the next 2-year period (2024-2026) will be held from March 15th to 31st 2024. Below is information about each nominated candidate sorted per discipline (FootO first, then TrailO, SkiO and MTBO).

Elections will take place digitally. According to the Terms of Reference, voting shall be open to athletes who have participated in a World Championship or World Cup in that discipline in the previous 3 years prior to the date of the election. Eligible athletes will receive a link to an electronic form (in SurveyMonkey) directly to their email registered in Eventor. The form will be tied to the email to prevent multiple votes. The voting is open from March 15th to March 31st.  If you are eligible to vote but did not receive a link, please check your spam/junk mail folder. If you still can’t find it, please write us an email immediately to iof (at) Please add your IOF Eventor ID to the email.

Each AAG will have a minimum of 4 members. Candidates with the 5th and 6th highest number of votes (if applicable) are each elected to the AAG if they if they receive a vote from 50% or more of those that vote.


FootO: Eef van Dongen (NED)

I grew up in the Netherlands not knowing about the existence of the sport orienteering. In 2018, I did a beginners orienteering course while living in Switzerland. After moving to Norway I became a member in an orienteering club for the first time in 2019.Since orienteering is such a small sport in the Netherlands (~450 members of the federation), I understood in autumn 2019 that there would be a chance for me to represent the Netherlands at WOC2020. Since then, I have focused my training to prepare for international competitions, with a début at EOC2021, participating to WOC2021 through the IOF WOC Clinic and winning a bronze medal at WOC2022 in KO Sprint.


As a runner from a small nation, I think I can contribute to the AAG by showing another perspective. It is different to compete without financial support from a federation, not always having a Team Official to support you, and with limited means for training camps prior to international competitions.


Athlete Profile IOF Eventor 

FootO: Eline Gemperle (SUI)

Curriculum Vitae


I am 23 years old and a sprint-focused orienteer from Switzerland. My sprint prioritization became clear early on and in the past few years I have been able to develop in the U23 squad of the Swiss teamand also gain a lot of international experiences and celebrate first successes with an 8th place at the WOC 2022 for example. I’m also studying to become a primary school teacher and feel that my profession has given me a good understanding of human nature and the ability to find creative solutions. Being still quite young among the elite runners I hope to bring fresh energy into the Athletes Advisory Group with good friendships and connections to other nations. For those reasons, I feel that I am well suited to represent the interests of elite orienteers in the AAG. I enjoy supporting others and would like to have a positive influence on the future of our sport.

FootO: Gustav Berman (SWE)

Curriculum Vitae


Having competing internationally since 2008, I have a lot of experience and I really want to use that in a positive way. Having been a part of the FootO AAG since 2016,  I have seen the benefits of the recent structural changes in athletes representation within the IOF, but I have also seen that there is many things that still has to be worked on. I think that I have valuable input on how to work on athletes representation going forward with the experience I have. I love orienteering, and really want to work for the athletes to create fun, demanding, and fair competitions. Equality and sustainability aretwo of my biggest focus areas.

FootO: Thomas Curiger (USA)

Curriculum Vitae


After a successful career at the junior level, the transition to the elite level in 2017 provedto be challenging. The competition at the elite level is very high. The diagnosis of a long-term illness made my physical progress even more difficult. Nevertheless, I was able to achieve promising results at World Cup rounds. The COVID-19 pandemic also had a setback in my orienteering career. My motivation to train decreased, and I found myself in a downward spiral. After a physical and mental break, I prepared for my World Cup comeback in 2022, which took place at the World Cup Final in Davos. The World Championships in Switzerland has been the highlight of my career so far.


I am suitable as a member of the Athletes Advisory Group because I can empathize with athletes very well. I have experienced highs and lows, achieved top results and overcome injuries. I am friends with many athletes through my participation in many international competitions. As a representative of the USA, I would also have the opportunity to represent a (currently still) smaller orienteering nation. Thanks to my experience as a competition organizer, I am also familiar with the challenges involved in organizing an international event.

FootO: Pablo Ferrando (ESP)

Curriculum Vitae


I discovered the sport of orienteering when I was 10 years old. This unknown sport captivated me by combining running, mountains, forests, and using my brain. By the time I hit 16, I was all in, training hard and trying to qualify for international competitions. I love the experience of running through untrodden and uncharted forests, feeling like a wild animal.


Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to get more involved in other aspects of the sport. I’ve made several maps, set courses for competitions, plan the trainings for my club, organize activities for children and much more. Additionally, I’ve also been learning from what other clubs and federations are doing, trying to bring some of those ideas back home to make orienteering even better here. And lately, I’ve been also helping my regional and national federation. So when the opportunity to get involved with the AAG came up, it felt like the perfect challenge for me.

FootO: Jan Erik Naess (CAN)

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jan Erik. I was born in Toronto, and have lived in Calgary, Chicago and spent year in Norway and having been representing Team Canada for 9 years. Having grown up a $600 flight away from any European race and often a 6 to 8 hour car drive to the nearest local O-Meet, I know the adversities that athletes from small nations face.


In my previous term with the AAG, I advocated lowering the barrier of entry for small nations. We also accomplished giving athlete’s a larger voice on the IOF panel, and now have voting power on the board.


If you chose to vote for me, I promise to continue making the international stage more accessible for small nations. I envision doing this by fostering partnerships and creating an inclusive environment for all nationalities.

FootO: Brodie Nankervis (AUS)

I have participated in international level events since JWOC 2012, including WOC, JWOC, WUOC and World Cups. I have also been team coach/manager at JWOC and WUOC for Australia. I would like to be a member of the AAG to provide a non-European perspective on feedback provided to the IOF and any decisions made by the Athletes commission.

TrailO: Laura Elīza Lapiņa (LAT)

Despite having started trail orienteering only in 2018, I have gained significant experience by participating in every World Championship since then and consistently competing in numerous World Ranking events each year. As both an orienteer and a qualified physical therapist, my perspective enables me to better identify and address the unique needs of physically challenged athletes, ultimately contributing to the development of more inclusive policies and solutions.

TrailO: Pinja Mäkinen (FIN)

I want to be part of the Athletes Advisory Group to bring the perspective of trail orienteering athletes to IOF’s decision-making. I have thirteen years of experience in trail orienteering, including international top-level trail orienteering. In addition, I also have previous experience as a high-level Foot-O and Ski-O athlete, which allows me to bring a cross-discipline perspective to decision-making.

TrailO: Aaron Gaio (ITA)

Curriculum Vitae


Active orienteering participant since 1998, I am member of the Italian TrailO team since 2020; as a TrailO Elite competitor, I won 2 silver medals in relay and got some top15 places in last two years WTOC and ETOC. IOF adviser in both TrailO and FootO; have been active in SkiOrienteering and MTBOrienteering. Apart from that, I am an organizer of many events, mostly in roles regarding courses or technical aspects, nationally and internationally (in FootO; EOC2023-JWOC2025-WOC2026).


I am also responsible for regional committee of Trentino of the Italian Federation, working also on some inclusive projects for TrailO; member of the Alpe Adria Orienteering Group and Arge Alp.
Being a member of the Athletes Advisory Group would mean to put some experience into discussion; I find it inspiring to talk with other athletes and competitors before and after the competition and to review and hear feedback coming regarding events, rules and other decisions. I discover TrailOrienteering only in the last 4 years, but I am very keen in spreading its visibility and importance among fellow orienteers, institutions, partners, associations dealing with disabilities and so on…

TrailO: John Kewley (GBR)

Curriculum Vitae


I have been a keen Trail Orienteer since joining the GBR team in 2009 and have competed at all World Trail Orienteering Championships since then. I also regularly compete in the European Cup for TrailO (ECTO) and competed in all 2022 and 2023 events. As well as competing, I am also active in coaching, planning and controlling (event advising) for both FootO and TrailO events, was the IOF Assistant Senior Event Adviser at the 2016 European Trail Orienteering Championships and frequently serve on event juries.


I was formerly a top-level Mountain Orienteer with many top positions in European Mountain Marathons including winning the 2001 IOF World Marathon Orienteering Trophy in Spain; I was far less successful at Ski Orienteering although I did compete to Alpen Cup level. I have orienteered in 23 IOF countries and frequently compete in online events.


I chaired the IOF TrailO Athletes’ Advisory Group and served on the IOF Athletes’ Commission for the last 3 years and am keen to continue this work in the future.

TrailO: Arno Grønhovd (NOR)

I’ve been orienteering my whole life. Started with trailO in 2017, and have been competing internationally since 2018. I’ve organized trailO-events once a year since 2019. In my opinion trailO has developed rapidly since I joined and I hope that will continue. My motivation to join this group is to ensure that good suggestions from the athletes will be discussed and hopefully lead to further development of our sport. My main area of focus would be competition rules, how to organize events and new disciplines, but I usually have an opinion on most topics.

SkiO: Doris Kudre (EST)

I am a 26-year-old ski-orienteer from Estonia and have been competing internationally in ski-orienteering for 11 years. In the previous nomination period (starting from 2021), I was a member of the Ski-O Athletes Advisory Group and one of two representatives of Ski-O in the Athletes Commission. My enthusiasm for continuing in the Ski-O AAG remains high and I am motivated to keep contributing. Throughout the past years in the AAG, our focus has been on crucial issues such as gathering feedback from participating athletes after every major IOF event, sharing athlete perspectives on proposed rule changes, and communicating arising matters from athletes to IOF or vice versa.


My greatest drive to remain part of the AAG is to continue working on unresolved topics. I am eager to stay committed to our efforts, specifically getting athletes’ input on significant subjects such as competition formats and innovation in our sport. Effective communication and recruitment are crucial aspects in developing ski-orienteering as well. I value highly fair play, transparent and effective communication, and ensuring that the voices of athletes are truly heard.

SkiO: Satu Tuomisto (FIN)

I would like to be a member of the Athletes Advisory Group in SkiO because as an competing athlete I wan’t to be part of the development of the sport. I have been ski-orienteering about ten years and from that in international level seven years (juniors+seniors). I am part of the Finnish national team in SkiO so I have good connections to other athletes in national team and also to athletes outside the national team. I am already part of the similar kind of group that is developing the skiO in Finland.

SkiO: Jonatan Stahl (SWE)

My name is Jonatan Ståhl, I was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. When I was about 12 years old my dad took me to my first ski-orienteering competition, and ever since then I have liked the sport more and more. At about 15 years of age I moved to Mora to study and to train ski-orienteering at the sports gymnasium there. At the moment I am combining my elite carrier with a civil engineer education at Umeå University.

What I like most about ski-orienteering is the rapid decisions that have to be made whilst skiing at a high pace on technical narrow tracks. On top of that I also like traveling around in Sweden and Europe to compete at different venues and experiencing new places. I would like to be a part of the Athletes Advisor Group because I like to engage in the development of our sport. I am not afraid to raise my opinion, speak up for something that is unfair or come with suggestions. Some of the things I would like to work for is to:

  • Bring back the Long Distance and the Relay to the World Championship program
  • Always have a complete embargo over the competition area for a championship
  • Rework the U23 World Championships and U23 World Cup

SkiO: Lukas Deininger (SUI)

Curriculum Vitae


My name is Lukas Deininger, I’m a 25-year old ski orienteer from Switzerland, living in northern Sweden. Between 2013 and 2022 I had the privilege to compete in international ski-orienteering competitions. I had the pleasure to get so much experience in this wonderful sport and to build up a big social network with both orienteering and ski-orienteering people which I keep alive.


For the last three years, I have been a part of the ski-orienteering AAG. Together with my colleagues, we worked towards a good develop of our sport and stood up for the interests of the athletes. As example, we have been working for new and clearer map symbols as well as an improvement of the program and the disciplines.  As a video-journalist, I am also aware of the challenges, risks and possibilities of tv-broadcasting our sport which we are all working on a lot at the moment. I assume that I can contribute with my knowledge both as a ski-orienteer and a journalist towards a sustainable and good development.

MTBO: Karin Gustafsson (SWE)

Has participated in MTBO in Sweden since 2013 and my first WC was in 2017. Has participated in most international events since 2021. Has been doing orienteering all of my life, first foot-o and then MTBO from 2013. Also some occasional ski-o competitions.


l’m interested in questions regarding MTBO, and l’m not very shy telling my opinions.

MTBO: Jana Hnilica (AUT)

My name is Jana, I’m almost 22 years old, which also is how long I’ve been doing orienteering. I’ve grown up going to footO, MTBO and SkiO races with my parents and siblings. When I was 14, I joined the national MTBO and footO youth teams. My first international championships I participated in 2016 in EYSOC and EYMTBOC. Since then I’ve been at many international Championships, sometimes more, sometimes less successful.


In April 2017 I won a silver medal at the ISF World School Championships, a few months later a silver medal at the European Youth MTBO Championship. This was the time where I knew that I wanted to become really good in one of the disciplines. As I felt way more “home” with the MTBO-community, this was what I chose. Ever since then, I wanted races to be fair, hoped that everybody follows the rules and wanted to have internationally high-leveled races, so that MTBO would become more seen and appreciated in the whole world-wide orienteering-community. Now I would like to join the MTBO AAG to have the chance of improving our sport even further, together with a team of other athletes with similar goals.

MTBO: Vojtech Ludvik (CZE)

I’ve been part of the MTBO AAG for the last years and I would like to keep improving oursport and giving athlete’s point of view on different topics.

MTBO: Martin Peat (NZL)

My involvement in orienteering spans 20+ years, having started foot-o as a junior and represented New Zealand at all levels, most recently the World MTBO Champs in Sweden and the Australia-New Zealand MTBO Challenge last year. I maintain an active involvement in all facets of the sport having been involved in organising national championships, mapping, controlling, and coaching, together with competing. I was heavily involved in organising the 2017 World Masters Orienteering Championships and had a tenure on the Orienteering NZ Technical Committee. This diverse range of experience across the sport, and most recently in MTBO, means that I can bring a enlightened perspective to the Athletes Advisory Group.


Outside orienteering I work as a professional engineer and have been involved in the planning and delivery of global events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. As an athletes’ representative I am motivated to share learnings, promote and support initiatives that enhance MTBO and contribute to growing our sport. Coming from a smaller nation, I understand some of the unique challenges and opportunities presented to athletes outside Europe.

MTBO: Will Whittington (AUS)

I have grown up in an orienteering household in Tasmania, where MTBO is very small and I have had to make my own path to compete on the world stage. What motivates me to be a part of the athlete advisory group is that I feel athletes from the Oceania region can be left out of conversations around our sport. I also bring a different perspective and angle to discussions, as I am sitting outside of the European focus of the sport.

MTBO: Jonas Maiselis (LTU)

Jonas has been competing on international level since 2008, when he first time attended WJMTBOC in Poland. During more than 15 years of racing in every most important international MTBO competition, Jonas gained valuable experience which hallows to take part in quality discussion how our sport should look like now and in the near future.