During the month of April 2014, the SAOF compiled and submitted its year-end reports to SRSA on the grant we received for the 2013/14 financial year. Herewith follows a summary of the various projects that were undertaken during this period under this SRSA grant. Highlights from each of the six projects are presented below.
Individuals and Clubs who are interested to get involved in these exciting projects are encouraged to contact a member of the SAOF management committee.
Project 1: Expansion Plan
The SAOF’s Expansion Plan is the core element of our Strategic plan to Develop and Grow the sport in South Africa. This ongoing project is aimed at exporting orienteering to cities, provinces and districts other than those in which the sport is already well-established. At the same time there is a focus on continuing to the Growth and Development of our traditional base, which will help build capacity to enable expansion into new areas.
As well as developing material to facilitate achieving our objectives, we conducted and supported numerous activities in various Primary and High Schools in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Limpopo during the course of 2013-2014. These range from visits to individual schools, to supporting local schools leagues, to the provision of equipment and resources, as well as support to attend various high-profile events.
The Gauteng Schools League saw participation by 14 schools and a record attendance of over 210 learners at one of the events (over 310 in all). The annual Gauteng Schools camp was held for the 4th year running. We believe that such camps are great vehicles to create an interest in the sport. In addition, we continued to develop our resources made available to teachers and coaches.
Our efforts in Limpopo have seen the formation of the Polokwane Orienteering Club and the growth of a vibrant orienteering community at Mphachue Secondary School. A number of teachers and learners were afforded the opportunity to attend the 2013 Gauteng Orienteering championships as well as the Big Five O event. These opportunities have been important to sustain the enthusiasm of this group to continue to find ways to grow orienteering in their community.
Through this project we contributed to the 2nd Big Five O event. We believe that this event is very important for the development of orienteering in South Africa. It has the potential to develop into SA orienteering’s equivalent of the Comrades marathon, offering top-class orienteering and world-class competition to local orienteers.
Project 2: Strategic Maps
A strategic map is one that serves multiple purposes through the first few years of its life. These uses are aligned at our efforts to offer quality championship events, training facilities for our elite athletes and ultimately ideal venues for growth and development training camps.
During the last grant period, the following maps have been funded:
- University of KZN map – this has been used for events in the Durban area as part of our expansion activities in that area.
- The Eikenhof and Hawequas maps (Western Cape) were used in the 2013 (September) South African Orienteering championships.
- The Big Red Barn map will be used for the Gauteng orienteering championships in June 2014.
- The Hilton East and West maps will be used for the South African Orienteering championships in October 2014.
In the previous SRSA grant the project funded a number of the maps used in the 2nd Big Five O event. As mentioned previously, attendance of this event by a number of teachers and learners from Limpopo had a highly positive impact on our efforts to grow the sport in Polokwane and Mphachue, Limpopo.
In addition some of these maps were used for the 2014 High Performance training camp (see High Performance project).
Project 3: Long Term Coach Development
The SAOF has committed to develop its Coach Education pathway and align it with the SA Coaching Framework, which is being driven by SASCOC on behalf of SRSA. The first step was to train-up a number of coaches at Level 1 and Level 2 on the British Orienteering system. This was achieved when eight Level 2 and five Level 1 coaches received their qualification by the end of 2013.
The second step, which is ongoing, involves repackaging the British Coaching material into a form required for the SA Orienteering Coach education pathway. This step includes aligning the courses with SA’s National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and registering them with SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority). Once suitable service providers have been identified it will be possible to train more coaches to an internationally recognised standard.
There have already been short-term benefits of this project in that there has been increased coaching activity at all clubs as well as at a national level (See the High Performance Project).
Project 4: Electronic Timing (EMIT) Cards
As we continue to grow and as our older electronic timing equipment begins to fail, it is necessary for us to increase the amount of electronic timing equipment in South Africa. During this grant period we purchased 150 EMIT cards which are being used by competitors in the Gauteng Schools League and at Gauteng club events. These new cards were also used at the 2013/14 Big Five O event. The existing supply of EMIT cards in the Cape have been supplemented with older cards from Gauteng for use in their schools and club events.
Project 5: High Performance
Two elements of our High Performance plan were funded by this grant. The first was the payment of performance bonuses for our athletes who participated in the 2013 JWOC and WOC. Impressive debut performances and best-ever performances at JWOC saw a number of our athletes benefit.
The balance of the grant was used to fund a training camp for all of our squads (Senior – 6 athletes, Junior – 6 athletes and Youth – 9 athletes) at Kaapsehoop. This camp is in line with our strategy to provide opportunities for some of our most promising Junior orienteers to train in a wider range of technically demanding terrain.
This camp was nearly fully funded, including support for the HP manager, three Coaches and one assistant coach. This ensured that all the squads were able to receive the coaching focus that would be most beneficial.
Project 6: Mountain Bike Orienteering Development
For a number of years there has been a low level of Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) activity. In this grant period the opportunity arose to support a small-scale project to grow the activity level of MTB O in SA. It consisted of making a few maps (Van Gaalens Cheese Farm and B’sorah Farm, both in the Hartebeespoort area), setting up a few permanent courses in areas frequented by mountain bikers (Northern Farm, Johannesburg, and Groenkloof, Pretoria) and putting more effort into marketing and advertising.
In the last two MTBO events of 2013 there was an encouraging increase in the number of participants. What is pleasing is that the advertising efforts have resulted in a greater number of non-orienteering participants. It is hoped that continued support for this project will see further growth of this discipline.