Two major international orienteering competitions are coming to Tasmania in January and the University’s Newnham campus is set to play a starring role.

Some 900 competitors from around the world, including eight current and former world champions, will compete in the Oceania 2015 Championships and round one of the International Orienteering Federation’s World Cup 2015.

Featuring a range of categories, the events will be held in various stages at sites throughout Northern Tasmania and the East Coast, running from 2 to 11 January.

Though some 167 countries from Europe and the Asia-Pacific region will be represented, one competitor to watch is Hobart-based University of Tasmania alumnus Hanny Allston (pictured).

Allston became the first non-European to win a medal at the World Orienteering Championships when she took out the gold in the World Sprint Orienteering Championship in Denmark in 2006. She was studying medicine at the University at the time.

Speaking at the official launch of the event in Launceston last month, Orienteering Tasmania President Warren Moore said considerable attention would be fixed on Tasmania as a result of these events.

“While orienteering may be seen as a minor sport in Australia, in the heartland (Europe) it is a major sport,” he said.

“There are 75 nations now affiliated with the International Orienteering Federation. The focus of all these people and the international orienteering media will be on their national teams, who will be here in Tasmania in January.”

The 10 series of events will be held in Launceston, Diddleum Plains, Avoca, Swansea, Coles Bay and St Helens.

The Newnham campus will host the Oceania Sprint Distance Championships and the IOF World Cup event 1 – Sprint Distance on Saturday, 3 January, 2015.

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