Goldseekers Orienteering will launch its Spring Park Sprint Series at CSU Orange in incredibly unique fashion on Friday night, the club is hosting Finnish guru Konsta Vanhanen and he’ll be on hand to cut the ribbon on the brand new competition.
Vanhanen was appointed Orienteering NSW’s scholar for the 2017-18 summer and has been in Orange for about a month now, after competing at the Australian Championships at Bathurst in September.
The 23-year-old has been coaching with Goldseekers and at schools around the region, along with helping identify and map new courses as well.
“Travelling down under has been a big dream of mine for a while now and it’s really great in Australia and in Orange, everyone is so kind here. One big reason I came was to get away from the cold Finnish winter,” he laughed.
“It’s been a lot of fun here so far, I’ve helped [Goldseekers] with some coaching and done a lot of mapping around the area for some new courses and the club has its new competition (starting on Friday night).
“I’ve also been at Canobolas Public School once a week coaching and teaching orienteering, it’s been a lot of fun.
“Coaching is really dear to my heart and I’m always eager to talk about orienteering with people.”
Vanhanen also explained the Goldseekers club is looking to branch out further into Bathurst, and he’ll be helping with that program as well.
The 23-year-old boasts some serious credentials too.
He’s a member of Finland’s mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) team and represents Ikaalisten Nouseva-Voima in foot orienteering, that side is a top 15 Jukola – one of the biggest events on earth – outfit.
He’s won medals at the Junior World MTBO Championships and finished sixth not long ago in the European MTBO Championship in France.
Although he didn’t perform as well as he would’ve liked in the Australian Championship carnival, he said he enjoyed it immensely and is now completely focused on coaching.
“I finished inside the top 10 once, but I struggled with the terrain a bit, I am used to Scandinavian terrain,” he admitted.
“But it was great fun, I enjoyed it. It’s just been regular, foot orienteering (in Orange) but I have got a bike here as well and I’ve been doing a lot of riding too, for my own enjoyment.”
Last Friday Vanhanen helped coordinate the Goldseekers Primary School Gala Day at Gosling Creek as well, where he set 10 different courses for the Orange and Molong schools competing.
Orange Public School finished first and second, the team of Ryan Ward, Ben Taylor and Sam Hannaford winning while Alexander Murphy, Harry Kukla and Tyler King came second.
St Joseph’s Molong finished third overall and was the first girls’ team in, Georgia McLean, Mia Fraser and Olivia Wright proving their talents.
Friday’s night’s opening leg of the Goldseekers Orienteering Spring Park Sprint Series kicks is at CSU Orange, the second leg is at Forest Road TAFE on November 17 and the third and final stage is at the Botanic Gardens on the 24th.
All three kick off at 6pm.