Deaf Orienteering

Deaf Orienteering

Deaf Orienteering shop.

There are plenty of deaf people that continuously train to become athletes so that they can compete in serious tournaments in the hope of winning awards. That is what the Deaflympics is all about.

This event, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, offers a wide variety of Summer disciplines where people that have a hearing loss of not more than 55 db in their better ear can compete. Obviously, sound cues cannot be used in any of the events because deaf people cannot hear bullhorn commands, whistles by the referees, or even starter’s guns. Orienteering happens to be one of the Summer disciplines that are featured in the Deaflympics. Because orienteering is all about using your navigational skills, deaf people are able to participate fully.

One of the advantages of orienteering is that it is pretty easy to practice since you only need a compass, map and proper attire for trekking through unknown terrain. There are also many different types of orienteering competition. Foot-orienteering is the most common but there is also mountain bike orienteering, trail orienteering and even ski orienteering.

Because there are no marked routes, orienteering puts your mental abilities to the test as well as your endurance. It is also about completing the course as fast as possible so you cannot spend too much time analysing the map given to you. But at the same time, you have to have very good map reading skills so you can quickly make the best decision about what path to take. Orienteering can be exciting in that sense since you have no idea what obstacles will be in your way until you actually encounter them. As you spend time going through the control points, you will realize that orienteering can be physically taxing.

You have to remember the general rules of orienteering so you understand the importance of strategy. All you have to do is visit the numbered control points listed on the map in the prescribed order. Flags or markers physically mark these points so you are essentially on the hunt for these control points. While you can go from point A to point B by just running along a comfortable trail, you may still lose to your competition even if you are running at a fast and consistent pace. Other competitors may use another route or shortcut to reach the point in less time. Of course there is a significant risk of getting lost, because you are not aided by a GPS device. You have to analyse the map well so you know which direction to take to reach that point. It is easy to get lost if you cannot accurately position yourself on the map. Once you know your position, the compass can do the rest of the navigating.

There are many deaf orienteering training programs online if you are interested in the sport. These programs will help you significantly if you are seriously thinking about competing in the Deaflympics. The Deaflympics is held every 4 years but there are other deaf orienteering events as well. The sport is very popular and if you experience it once, you can try something more challenging like night orienteering where you are equipped with a head lamp to navigate under more challenging conditions. Even if you are not a winner, orienteering can be a very satisfying and memorable experience.


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