The man in the middle – Jaroslav Kacmarcik

The orienteering world turns its attention next month to the first ever Orienteering World Cup event to be held in China. Certainly a big step for Chinese orienteering and for orienteering globally. And for Jaroslav Kacmarcik, the culmination of over 20 years working with the development of orienteering in China.

Anyone who has travelled to China together with Jaroslav knows that he truly is the “man in the middle”. Whether it be mappers, course setters or other organising personnel. Or athletes from any number of nations that have travelled with Jaroslav on the various Park World Tour trips to China over the years, Jaroslav always seems to have a flock of people around him. Jaroslav readily shares advice on aspects of the organisation or offers coaching tips to athletes independent of nationality or team. And quite often he has been at the core of the organising himself, checking maps and setting courses.

Jaroslav Kacmarcik began travelling to China in the latter part of the 1990s as part of the Park World Tour (PWT) organisation. At that time PWT was pretty much alone in developing the sport in China and there have been a few ups and downs along the way. For a number of years Jaroslav was pretty much alone in continuing to travel to China and promoting orienteering both locally and to international athletes.

“To be honest, the IOF interest and commitment to China only really came true about 3 years ago when President Leho Haldna and I made a trip to meet the Orienteering Association of China in Beijing” says IOF Secretary General Tom Hollowell. “We need to really be thankful to PWT and people like Jaroslav who have led the way. During that trip and a subsequent trip one year later the form and conditions for the first ever World Cup in China were set, and personally I am glad that even here Jaroslav was directly involved, and continues to be.”

During the World Cup Jaroslav is acting as an adviser to the organiser focusing especially on maps and courses to help the organisers meet the high standards of international competition.

“I am really looking forward to the World Cup and I hope everything runs smoothly”, says Jaroslav. ” I have tried to encourage Chinese orienteering to apply for IOF high level events for many years and am glad that this is finally happening. The first PWT trip was held in 1998 so this has been more than a 20 year adventure for me”.