Orienteering teenager Joe Dickinson will attempt to find his way in Finland at the beginning of next month, as he competes in the Junior World Orienteering Championships.
The 18-year-old will fly out to Tampere on Saturday to join the rest of the Australian team ahead of the competition, which starts on July 9.
Dickinson said he needed to allow enough time to familiarise himself with the unique terrain.
“I’ve never been to Scandinavia before, so I don’t really know what to expect,” he said.
“I’ve looked at GPS footage of the area, but it’s hard to tell what it’s really like until you actually set foot on it.”
Orienteering is a sport that requires navigational skills and using a map and compass to get from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, whilst moving at speed.
After starting in 2012, Dickinson has gone on to qualify for the 2015 and 2016 All Australian teams, as well as the Australian Bushrangers team that competed in the Oceania Championships in New Zealand earlier this year.
It was his strong performance in that competition that led him to qualify for the World Championship team, where joins 11 other Under 20s competitors.
Dickinson said the team will definitely have their work cut out for them.
“Over there it is a much bigger sport, so they have a lot more to choose from,” he said.
“It would be close to their biggest sport after soccer, so they will definitely be tough to beat over there.
“I’m not expecting anything in terms of results, I’m just happy to be included in the competition.”
I’m not expecting anything in terms of results, I’m just happy to be included in the competition.- Joe Dickinson
In between training for the championships, Dickinson has been passing on his skills to primary school children across the area.
An initiative of Orienteering Tasmania, the national Sporting Schools program involves accredited coaches running sessions at schools for a period of four to six weeks in order to introduce students to a sport.
The teenager has been working with coach in residence, Jeremy Genar from Belgium, to teach the sport to students at St Thomas More’s and St Anthony’s.
He said the kids in the area have responded well to the different aspects of the sport.
“I started out by introducing them to controls and symbols, which was followed by giving them a map and getting them to run around and follow the numbers,” he said.
“Last week, we gave them a short course to follow, and for the final week it is a longer one.
“They have all been doing really well with it, which makes it enjoyable.”
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