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The History of Orienteering in FISU

Orienteering is a particularly attractive discipline since it establishes a close connection between physical activity and nature. This is an immensely popular sport in Scandinavia and in North European countries. So it was not coincidental that the Finnish University Sports Association undertook the organisation of the first World University Orienteering Championship in Jyvaskylä, in 1978. The event had an undisputed success, involving 129 runners from 17 countries. Since then, 16 further editions have been held, with a continuously rising number of participants. The 2010 edition in Borlänge, Sweden, broke the record, with 256 athletes from 31 countries. Some championships require an inspirational setting to succeed, and this is certainly the case with orienteering. The Veszprem edition in 1996 was ideal from this point of view. France and Sweden took gold medals in the men’s short and classical distance respectively. Orienteering evolved from the Swedish offshoot of cross-country skiing that emerged in the 1840s. Used mainly for military purposes, it originated as a contest between shepherds, skiing from one point to another. The first rules date from 1900. Since then this sport has gained in popularity, especially as a school sport, even in countries of widely divergent traditions. For example, France – with its strong presence in Veszprem – discovered orienteering at the end of the 1960s, thanks to a Swedish compass salesman, who fell in love with the French countryside. After its launch in the Boy Scout movement, the sport was adopted by the military, finally coming into its own in the university sector. So that today, the sport is currently being supported by an enormous pool of 250,000 student participants. This was proved in the French city of Roanne where the World University Championship took place in 2000. After the success the sport had in the 1990s, almost 30 countries participated in the World University Orienteering Championships of the new millennium. The results pushed national federations to enter their best athletes, such as Dana Brozkova, Michal Smola, Larisa Stanchenko and Simonas Krepsta, who had also taken their medals during the senior World Orienteering Championship. The future of orienteering in the FISU World University Championships is on the right way.       


FISU Regulations

The orienteering competition has its own FISU Regulations following the most recent rules of the International Orienteering Federation (IOF). The FISU Regulations are always set up on the recommendation of the FISU Technical Chair and the IOF Technical Delegate in close cooperation with the Committee for Sports Regulations and approved by the FISU Executive Committee. In principle, the programme shall last five (5) days and include the events below.
Each country may enter a maximum of seventeen (17) persons of which twelve (12) competitors with maximum of six (6) male and six (6) female and five (5) officials.
Each country may enter in:

  • Long distance: four (4) male and four (4) female runners;
  • Middle distance: four (4) male and four (4) female runners;
  • Sprint distance: three (4) male and three (4) female runners;
  • Relay: two (2) men’s teams of three (3) runners and two (2) women’s teams of three (3) runners;
  • Mixed relay: one (1) team of two (2) female runners and two (2) male runners.




Individual Sprint Distance race

Individual Long Distance race

Individual Middle Distance race

Relay race

Mixed Relay race


Minimum Requirements for Orienteering 

With the orienteering CT approval, the Organising Committee must provide, for exclusive use, outdoor sports facilities in all competition and training facilities for men's and women's orienteering events. The IOF regulations must be followed.


Competition and Training Facilities

Type of Venue

Number of Venues

Changing Room Competitors

Changing Room TOJR*

Spectator Seating

Press and Media Seating

Outdoor Facilities


Gender Segregated





*TOJR Technical Officials, Judges and Referees

Next Events

2016 - 20th WUC Orienteering - Miskolc (HUN)


International Federation

International Orienteering Federation


FISU Technical Delegates






Previous Events

2014 - 19th WUC Orienteering - Olomouc (CZE)

2012 - 18th WUC Orienteering - Alicante (ESP)

2010 - 17th WUC Orienteering - Borlange (SWE)

2008 - 16th WUC Orienteering -Tartu (EST)

2006 - 15th WUC Orienteering - Kosice (SVK)

2004 - 14th WUC Orienteering - Pilsen (CZE)

2002 - 13th WUC Orienteering - Varna (BUL)

2000 - 12th WUC Orienteering - Roanne (FRA)

1998 - 11th WUC Orienteering - Trondheim (NOR)

1996 - 10th WUC Orienteering - Veszprèm (HUN)

1994 - 9th WUC Orienteering - Fiesch (SUI)

1992 - 8th WUC Orienteering - Aberdeen (GBR)

1990 - 7th WUC Orienteering - Pskov (URS)

1988 - 6th WUC Orienteering - Trondheim (NOR)

1986 - 5th WUC Orienteering - Miskloc (HUN)

1984 - 4th WUC Orienteering - Jönköping (SWE)

1982 - 3rd WUC Orienteering - Prague (TCH)

1980 - 2nd WUC Orienteering - St Gall ( SUI)

1978 - 1st WUC Orienteering - Jyvaskyla (FIN)

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