At the cusp of the New Year, the third edition of the biennial Big Five Orienteering event will play out in the forest plantations around Kaapsehoop, Mpumalanga. As with previous events, South African orienteers will have the chance to test their mettle against a number of visitors from overseas. Competitors from over 13 countries, including from such far flung places as Latvia, Estonia, Canada and Australia will join participants from the orienteering giants of Scandanavia and Switzerland, attracted no-doubt by some quality orienteering, warm weather and the event location being near the gateway to the Kruger National Park.
The elite classes have attracted some of the worlds top orienteers, including a number with recent and not-so-recent World Championship medals. Two of the events have World Ranking Event (WRE) status and as such the elite orienteers have the opportunity to score some points towards their international ranking. For South Africa this is a great opportunity as many of our M21 and W21 athletes don’t have the chance to travel overseas and compete on the world stage.
But the event is not all about the elites. Competition in all the age classes will be promises to be fierce. Whilst the Big Five O event is small by the standards of many of the large multi-day European events, it is the biggest Orienteering event in South Africa. As such it provides local orienteers with an excellent exposure to the bigger world of orienteering. It is for this reason that the SAOF is very happy to support a number participants from our Polokwane orienteering club (POC). We hope their participant continues to provide motivation for POC to carry on with development efforts in the Lebowakgomo region of Limpopo.
In addition to five high-class orienteering events, the Big Five O this year includes a trail running series.
Daily updates and results can be found at the event website.