World Orienteering Day 2016 was a great success, achieving and surpassing our goals. However, this could not have happened without a lot of hard work from many people. So, firstly, thank you to each and every one of you who organised and participated in a World Orienteering Day event. The success of this great achievement is ours to share.
We noticed, on the World Orienteering Day website where we tracked participation, that there were orienteering activities going on in a number of countries and territories that are not, yet, members of the IOF. It is encouraging to know that orienteering is going on in so many places, and we look forward to welcoming new members to the IOF family.
The global reach of the World Orienteering Day project has made it a powerful marketing tool for orienteering globally. Orienteering is not known as mass-sport outside Northern Europe, and World Orienteering Day helps us to be seen in all parts of the world. In 2016, World Orienteering Day was noted and supported by the International Olympic Committee, and by IOC President Thomas Bach himself. Our World Orienteering Day activities are well aligned with the key objective of IOC Olympic Agenda 2020: engaging youth through sport.
Finally, It is time to look ahead to World Orienteering Day 2017. Following such a success as the first year of the project can be hard, but we should not be daunted by this. 2016, we showed the world just how much passion and initiative can be found in orienteers all over the world, and 2017 we have the chance to prove it again, and share orienteering with even more people. I invite all volunteers and activists in orienteering to support World Orienteering Day 2017 by organising events near their home. All events, even the smallest ones, are extremely valuable to reach our target: a continued global success.
//Leho Haldna, President International Orienteering Federation