Is there anything more exciting than half a million people practising orienteering at the same time? 500 000 participants at 5.000 events in 100 regions are the goals for World Orienteering Day 2019, which takes place between May 15th and May 21st. All events organised during those days can be registered as WOD events.
World Orienteering Day started in 2016 and it has been focusing on the challenge of working for the visibility and accessibility of orienteering among young people, helping to implement it at schools and making new countries join in the sport.
WOD is an important appointment for lots of orienteers who participate every year. In 2018, 358 735 people took part in WOD at 2213 different events in 81 countries. Since 2016, participants have increased more than 42%, a rise that proves orienteering is becoming more visible. According to Jenny Nilsson, WOD Project Manager, “a crucial success factor has been the approach of National Federations, where they made a focused effort to work on WOD, for example by having a national WOD strategy, participation numbers reflected their efforts in a positive way” The biggest surprise has been Egypt, a young IOF member, who managed to increase its participants in WOD last year by 123% compared to the year before and by 320% compared to 2016 figures.
WOD organisation wants to encourage to join in the event by providing ideas for your event in their website, offering the possibility of translating all the material. Spreading ideas is essential to continue making World Orienteering Day a big event, and Nilsson reminds about maze orienteering: “More than 100 of all WOD events were organised as a maze orienteering, a great opportunity to understand and learn orienteering in a simple way” After this success, WOD organization has forwarded a master map of Maze-O, so as to provide an example.
She also insists on the importance of this event for our sport, “It is an essential tool to get the brand of orienteering well-known among people outside it and to recruit new youngster to the sport” But obviously, the most important part of WOD are all the schools, clubs and enthusiastic orienteers who work on it to beat the world record year by year. So, let’s colour the world this year!