IOF High Level Event Seminar

For the first time the annual IOF High Level Event Seminar (HLES) was held online and saw a record attendance of over 100 from 5 Continents and covering all disciplines – FootO, SkiO, TrailO and MTBO.  Videos of the event are publicly available here The focus of the event is very much on World Cup and World Orienteering Championship level events – Scotland is hosting the Sprint World Orienteering Championships 2024 so the HLES is very much part of the run-up to this.

The session opened with a presentation on Fairness in Orienteering – somewhat ironically given the probable origins of Coronavirus there was an incident at the World Military Games in Wuhan 2019 that sparked this review.  Resources on the IOF website were discussed before moving on to aspects of the Event Adviser team – this is like super-Controllers.  Risk management on how to handle the cancellation and postponement of events was presented and the Danish team praised the Scots for allowing them to move their event to our 2022 slot.  GB’s own David Rosen (IOF Rules Commission) gave a very clear presentation on the two main punching systems.  SPORTIdent has largely replaced EMIT here but still has a significant customer base in some other nations.  David May (IOF FootO Commission) delved into the mysteries and mathematics behind the World Ranking System.

Virtual lunch was not provided and the afternoon started with the athletes’ perspective presented by Swiss orientering superstar Daniel Hubmann.  Of perhaps broader importance was the session on the Pandemic Chronicles by IOF Chief Executive Tom Hollowell – how will or can we return to the sport in 2021.  Henning Spjelkavik of the IOF IT Commission ran through the various digital tools that might help you including collaborative whiteboards and secure sharing of documents.  Forth Valley Orienteers Graham Gristwood (Technical Director for WOC2024) working with his commercial Ourea Events hat on looked at the comparison of mountain running and sky running to orienteering – how do we attract our future customers/orienteers?  There were final sessions on financing events – local authority/governmental support is universally critical for staging WOC and we have been fortunate to have long-lasting support from EventScotland and in the case of 2024 this will include the City of Edinburgh Council.  There was a final session by Tom Hollowell covering miscellaneous topics including a new IOF clothing partner and future events still seeking organisers.  All-in-all a very interesting day and worth spending time going back through the various topics.  

Report by Colin Matheson, Event Manager on behalf of Scottish Orienteering