11/10 was a field day, which started with a visit to Land and Housing – Cartography dept., looking for basic map of the interesting areas for orienteering maps.
After that, Jaroslav Kacmarcik – IOF GDC and Giulia Zenere – PWT Academy, together with Mr John Domah, Mr Vishal Luchmun, Mr Khaiysaar Ahmad Soopun and Mrs Hima Seeboruth of the Mauritius Orienteering Federation, visited the offices of the Ministry of Education.
Dr Reetoo Neeshti Director Health &Wellness, Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology and Liu Yuk Pat-Agathe Mary-Joyce, Ag. Senior PE Organiser, Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology agreed on the idea of introducing orienteering in the schools, and proposed to standardize its teaching system, following what Mr John Domah already started in his zone.
The third essential meeting of the day was scheduled with Mr. Hon Jean Christophe Stephan Toussaint, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Recreation.
Mr Toussaint fully approved the idea of implementing orienteering sport in Mauritius, both at a school level but also at a community level; supporting the goal to create community clubs as recreational activity all around the country and for all ages, pointing that it is a sport that also suits to families.
The Minister sustained the projects of Orienteering M for Mauritians and also for tourists, and embrace the plan of an international event next year.
A meeting was also held with Mrs Vyrum Pillay Munien, Officer at The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, a project by the Ministry of Youth which has a component like adventurous journey. The Officer was interested in enriching the Award with Orienteering to develop skills such as map reading and compass work, necessary to achieve the Silver Award which requires 42km walk in 2 nights and 3 days.
A final meeting in the Sport Ministry offices was with Mr Nagalingum Pillay Samoo, Director of Sport, who welcomed the delegation and assured to be ready for the proposed projects.
The delegation then continued to Moulin de la Poudre Forest to check the existing map to be implemented. The area looks interesting, flat, with clear forest.
Being in the north of the Island, a visit to Pamplemousses Botanical Garden was to be done. It is a popular tourist attraction in Pamplemousses, near Port Louis, and the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. It is populated with more than 650 varieties of plants among which are the famous Baobabs, the Palmier Bouteille, the ineluctable Giant Water Lilies, dozens of medicinal plants, a large spice garden and many more.
The venue is suitable for a sprint race and for some leisure time among its beauty.
The very long day ended with a meeting with Orienteering M in the evening, to discuss the short and medium term projects, the way to constitute officially the local Federation so to apply as temporary member of IOF, to implement orienteering both in schools and at a community level, and to support the organisation of an international 3-days event in november 2022. Are you ready?
On 10/10 a practical test for Cambridge International Examination was held in Bras d’Eau National Park for about 20 Educators.
Once again the PE were tested with Sport Ident System with the help of Mr Jaroslav Kacmarcik, on a course prepared by local course setters. After this experience, a short visit to the nearby beach was due.
In the afternoon, Jaroslav Kacmarcik – IOF GDC and Giulia Zenere – PWT Academy together with Orienteering M delegates visited Chasée La Rivière du Post, guided by the owner Mr Anaida Bhugeloo. The private area is a hunting ground with interesting open areas, tracks and forest.
Later on, enjoying the pleasant sunshine, the international delegates strolled in Palmar forest beach, an appealing area for a very fast sprint race, checking the tracks and the possibilities for an international race, as well as an area for school orienteering activities.
Saturday 09/10 Mr Jaroslav Kacmarcik – IOF GDC and Giulia Zenere – PWT Academy, conducted a workshop on Teaching Orienteering in Schools at MIE – Mauritius Institute of Education for more than 80 Educators of Physical Education and HEP Educators.
Some of the Educators already followed the online webinar of April-June 2021, some introduced Orienteering in their schools and also participated with their school activities in the World Orienteering Week this year. Indeed, it was the very first participation of Mauritius in the WOD: a great success!
Some other Educators participated for the first time to the workshop on Orienteering.
The workshop consisted in a theorical part in the morning, and a practical part in the afternoon.
The Educators were tested on a simple course using for their very first time the Sport Ident system.
All the participants received a certificate of participation, Mr Gilbert Quéland of Domain de Lagrave was also present to the certificates delivery.
A complete set of Sport Ident System, together with orienteering flags and stands were presented to the local Federation by Park World Tour Academy for their future use.
Orienteering M awarded Mr Jaroslav Kacmarcik and Ms Giulia Zenere with a trophy for the unflinching support for the development of orienteering in Mauritius.
On 08/10 Mrs Hima Seeboruth and Mr John Domah of Orienteering M guided Mr Jaroslav Kacmarcik of IOF – Global Development Commission and Ms Giulia Zenere of Park World Tour Academy, thanks to the facilitation of NPCS, to visit Black River Gorges National Park from the entrance in Pétrin (Black River) and on an easy track up to the first viewpoint.
The park and its nature look stunning, the tracks are wide and provided with brand-new signs, from here the nature is very exposed to sunshine.
There are four entry points to the National Park. This nature reserve provides over 60 km of trails of different lenghts and difficulty – the longest of 14km, waterfalls, pristine rivers, picnic areas, wide canyons and dramatic mountain ranges, together with two information centres.
Staying on the south-west part of the Island, the delegation continued its journey to Green Village – Le Morne to meet Dr. Bernard Baptiste, Head of Youth on the Move and Elderly programmes, responsible for the Outdoor Education.
Dr Baptiste guided us through Green Village, a fantastic venue. The idea is to implement the activities in the village with orienteering, and have an orienteering map to be used also for schools, together with a punching system.
The delegation continued to Black River Gorges NP from the south entrance. The park on this side looks totally different than from the north. Very tall and shady trees and stream, on an almost flat terrain with stones, makes it look gorgeous.
On 07/10 Mr Jaroslav Kacmarcik – IOF GDC and Ms Giulia Zenere –PWT Academy visited Domain de Lagrave, a deer hunting ground in the middle of the country.
Mr Gilbert Quéland, owner of the venue, fully supported the idea of hosting O-school competitions as well as an international O-event.
Domain de Lagrave suits all the requirements for a Middle Distance Orienteering race, being a mixture of open areas, forest, streams and paths. The venue is provided with a restaurant, as well as bungalows to rent.
The visit continued then to Bras d’Eau National Park, with a walk starting by the Entrance on Poste de Flacq, where lies the ruins of an ancient French sugarcane mill and the village settled around it, including a well.
The spot immediately catches the eyes because of the million lava stones composing the whole forest and the paths – being Mauritius created from a volcano.
In this site schools doing CI examinations conducted assessments on orienteering coursework in the last 4 years. The visit of the delegates was to prepare a map according to IOF standards, to be used for schools and trainings during the workshops.
Mr Jaroslav Kacmarcik, also IOF delegate of the Global Development Commission, and Ms Giulia Zenere, delegate of Park World Tour Academy, were welcomed by the Orienteering M, temporary Orienteering Federation of Mauritius.
The purposes of the visit were to develop orienteering as sport in the school system and find suitable venues for orienteering races, both for school competitions and for international events.
Mr John Domah leaded the operative team of Mauritius, and organised the very first meeting on the Island straight after the flight arrival of the international delegates on 06/10 with the Director of NPCS National Park and Conservation Service Mr. Kevin Ruhomaun and his staff.
The Director illustrated the huge work of Park management, endangered species recovery and conservation of terrestrial biodiversity and, being Orienteering sport so green and respectful of nature, expressed his interested in hosting orienteering events in the parks.
The focus was pointed mainly to 2 of the the 3 National Parks of Mauritius: Black River Gorges and Bras d’Eau.
Black River Gorges National Park is situated in the South West of the island, and covers an area of 6574 ha. It harbours most of our flowering plants, bird species and some reptiles which are native to Mauritius. In 1977, part of the BRGNP was designated Man and the Biosphere reserve, by the UNESCO.
Bras d’Eau is located in the North East of the island. It covers a total area of 497.2 ha and is mainly under Mahogany, Araucaria, Tecoma and Eucalyptus plantations. The name Bras d’Eau originated from the outline of the mass of water protruding in the land in the shape of an arm between Pointe Radeau and Belcourt Bay.
The visit to the Parks were scheduled for the next days.
In the last days, the first World Orienteering Day hit Mauritius for the very first time.
Many events were organized all over the country and hundreds of teachers and students were involved.
This success was made possible thanks to the great work of the new-born Mauritius Orienteering Federation, spreading the knowledge of Orienteering through a webinar held earlier this year, aimed to prepare dozens of Physical Educators to introduce Orienteering sport in their classes.
After this initial webinar of 10 lessons prepared by Park World Tour Academy in cooperation with IOF, a second webinar, prepared for a selected group of teachers, deepened the topic of map making.
Last week, when the schools were still on holiday, the Physical Educators gathered and trained together at the Quartier Militaire SSS (Girls).
During this week, with the resumption of the studies, the same PEs tested their students with orienteering activities. In the pictures and in the videos you can see the enthusiastic participation of many young orienteering beginners!
The cooperation between IOF, Mauritius Orienteering Federation and Park World Tour Academy intends first to develop orienteering in this beautiful country, and then to organize an International Orienteering event as soon as the Covid situation will allow it. Therefore, a first visit of IOF and Park World Tour Academy delegates is planned for the early October. During this visit, the PEs participating to the webinar will be trained in practice; another live seminar (including theory and practice) will be held for interested Mauritians, draft of maps will be finalized so the local schools could organize Orienteering events, surveys will be done to find the most suitable places for a future international Orienteering event, including map making according to IOF standards.
Last week Park World Tour, in cooperation with Global Development Commission of IOF and key stakeholders from Mauritius sporting community, began the online Orienteering Seminar with the first meeting.
Mr. Tom Hollowell, CEO of IOF, introduced the seminar and explained how to include Mauritius to IOF to 20 selected attendees, most of them are Physical Education Teachers, everyone willing to introduce or deepen the knowledge of Orienteering in the schools of their country.
Mr. John Domah moderated the seminar, where each participant introduced her/himself. Mr John Domah is a key person for this great journey of Mauritius to IOF, he participated to the O-Ringen Academy in 2019 and had been in contact with Park World Tour since then.
Ms. Giulia Zenere of Park World Tour Academy introduced herself, she will lead one of the lessons about Orienteering event organisation.
Mr. Jaroslav Kacmarcik took the speech to introduce the idea of Orienteering, some history, the biggest O-events, the history and successes of Park World Tour, together with the preliminary program of the seminar which will include knowledge about map making and how to introduce orienteering in the schools.
The group of Mauritius already started to work hard right after the first online meeting.
An online press conference with Tom Hollowell and Jaroslav Kacmarcik has been scheduled for the 1st of April;
the entries to the online seminar have been opened to all the people from Mauritius interested in knowing more about orienteering;
and in only one week already 85 people signed in through their website http://www.orienteeringmauritius.org/
The seminar will continue with a weekly schedule. Stay tuned!