ORIENTEERING ACT A FINALIST IN INNOVATION CATEGORY IN 2020 CANBERRA SPORTS AWARDS

Paul Prudhoe2020 Archive

Orienteering ACT were recently selected as a finalist in the 2020 Canberra Sports Awards. The OACT submission details –

In 2020 Orienteering ACT adapted three forms of existing technology to improve community access to our sport and allow participants to return to orienteering in an efficient and COVID-safe way. Like so many other sports, all activity in orienteering was shut down from mid-March until the end of July 2020, but innovations proved very popular and allowed orienteers to join or return to their outdoor adventure sport in even greater numbers than before as the restrictions started to ease.

First, Orienteering ACT utilised the sport’s event software, Eventor, to require all participants to pre-enter events online. This provided multiple benefits for participants and organisers alike, a) allowing the association to know how many maps to print, b) facilitating capping of entries at whatever was the currently restricted maximum number for gatherings, c) securely capturing personal details for contact tracing, and d) letting competitors go straight to their event starts without having to gather at a registration desk or handle any cash.

Second, the association invested in radio transmission hardware so it could offer courses using contactless ‘air wave technology’ (known as SI Air), to enable any runner with an appropriate timing chip to run without touching any equipment in the field. It was pleasantly surprising that these measures quickly enabled a safe ‘return to play’ in maximum numbers.

Third, Orienteering ACT modified its popular suburban ‘StreetO’ competition as a ‘virtual’ offering, allowing anyone with a smartphone to complete an orienteering course near home at any time that suited them. This proved to be a great way to enhance community sporting experience and increase access and reach for the sport, by allowing new starters a low-risk introduction to the sport and enabling many people to engage with orienteering with their families and friends (once permitted), on foot, by bike or in wheelchairs, or even while just out walking the dog!

Congratulation to OACT on being nominated.