Orienteering is a sport in which competitor independently, with the help of map and compass, finds the prescribed order of the number of objects (control flag) on the ground and marked on the map. The main objective is to find all the controls in the shortest possible time. This is a sport in which are equally expressed orientation in space and the physical ability of competitors.
Competitions are held in various natural environments, but also in cities, parks. Competitions are usually single, but there are relay, then day and night, one day, two-day and multi-day, in summer and winter conditions.
The contestants are divided into over 30 categories, depending on sex and age (from 10-12 years, to veterans, 35-90 years). For top athletes there is an elite class involving only the highest quality competitors, but orienteering brings together sport and recreation in the category for everyone – Open.
Course lenghts ranging from 1-2 km for children aged 12 years (MW-12), up to 12 km for seniors (M21E).
Equipment for the competition is free choice and a very simple and consists of sneakers, shirts and trousers .Competitors during competition use special compasses for orienteering.
Orienteering originated in Scandinavia at the end of the last century in the Swedish army units. The first documented military competitions were held 1893. in Stockholm and 1897. in Bergen (Norway), and the first civilian 1900. in Oslo when it first appeared and the name of “orientation”. Until World War I events were few in number, while the first major event held 1919. in Stockholm, and gathered more than 220 competitors.
The first international competition held in 1932. in Oslo, as duel between Norway and Sweden, and the first national championship 1935. in Sweden. Orienteering becomes mandatory activity in Swedish schools at 1942., when along with athletics and swimming became the most widespread sport.
From European countries outside Scandinavia orienteering first begins to spread to Switzerland, where the first competition held in 1948. Shortly thereafter spread to other European countries, capturing above all: Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria, USSR, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, etc..
The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) was established in Denmark, 1961. The first European Championship was held in 1962. in Norway, and the first World Championship 1966. in Finland.
In our country orienteering started to develop since 1950. when the first competition held at mountain Fruska Gora. Initially the team competition was organized by the rules of the Mountaineering Federation of Yugoslavia. The first singles competition in orienteering on the territory of Serbia was held in 1975. (near Smederevo). However, the individual contest by IOF rules come to life until the early 80’s. The first Yugoslav championships held in 1981. in the vicinity of Zagreb. The first official performance of our team was in 1981. at the Balkan Championship in Romania, and in 1983. and 1985. we participated at the World Championships in Hungary and Australia.
After the collapse of the “old” Yugoslavia, 1993, Yugoslav Orienteering Federation was established. The successor of the alliance today is SERBIAN ORIENTEERING FEDERATION.