Photos (from left to right): Tara Melhuish, Lawrie Brown, Marina Iskhakova
The presentation of Orienteering ACT Honours and Awards for 2021, deferred from November 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions, were conducted at the conclusion of the final Runners Shop Twilight Series at Narrabundah Hill on Wednesday 2 March 2022.
Services to Coaching. Tara Melhuish was honoured for her Services to Coaching.
During the first “lock down” in the ACT, Tara, along with a few others, organised some virtual training for the cohort of ACT juniors who would have competed in many events during this time. As restrictions eased, Tara set training courses in terrain to reinforce this training.
When Orienteering was able to resume as normal in 2021, Tara took on the official coaching role for the Blue Lightning “squad”. This involved planning and coordinating training activities each Saturday morning prior to the regular Junior League and Saturday Metro series of events. Not only did members of Blue Lightning undertake this training, but several family members became involved.
Tara produced some very challenging exercises for each and everyone. Enjoyment and appreciation of her efforts was reflected in the numbers of people attending these sessions. Tara has developed into a respected member of the Canberra Cockatoos and has used this as an inspiration for those up-and-coming juniors in the ACT. She has been selfless with her time and commitment to coaching this junior group and is a worthy recipient of the Award.
Jim Sawkins Award for Event Management. Lawrie Brown was honoured for his contribution to Event Management.
Lawrie has been instrumental in the setup of MapRun for the Street O crew on Monday nights. He has championed the new technology, been extremely patient with us all as he teaches us how to download the app and link our watches. Lawrie has developed multiple resources to help map setters build their first MapRun for wider use. During the lockdown it has been so good for our mental health to be able to get out and run an orienteering course as part of our one hour a day.
Aside from MapRun, Lawrie is a keen volunteer on Monday nights, often sticking around after he finishes his run to talk about orienteering with competitors and ways to improve their performance. His is always a friendly face and he is a great ambassador for orienteering.
Lawrie is a tireless promoter of and advocate for MapRun and has supported the President in accessing the OA Grant to support MapRun as well as resolving issues on technology and promotion. Lawrie has been the backbone of the MapRun series of events for over 12 months and the Event Management Award recognises Lawrie’s achievements for a series of multiple events.
Orienteering of the Year: Wehner Cup.
The Wehner Cup is presented to the Orienteer of the Year, based on the top scores in the ACT League. There were to have been 11 ACT League events in 2021, but the last two had to be cancelled, making the winner to be the competitor with the best five scores from nine events. This led to the first ever tie in the 31-year history of the competition. The joint winners were Grant Bluett and Matthew Crane, who both scored 670 points from a possible 677 points. It was Crane’s fifth win in the competition, but it Bluett’s first. The final standings are here. Neither was available to be at the event, so their children (pictured below) accepted the Wehner Cup on behalf of their fathers.
Audun Fristad Awards
The Audun Fristad awards are named after a former member of this Association. Audun is a Norwegian who loves his orienteering. In fact, he believed it is the greatest sport ever invented. In 1978 Audun almost took out the first “grand slam” of Australian orienteering. He contested the National Championships and every state championship except WA. Audun won all except the ACT Champs which were held at Kowen Scarp and in so doing he won the Australian Orienteer of the Year award with a record 29 points.
In 1978 Audun also introduced junior awards into the ACT orienteering community. These awards were intended to not only recognise excellence but also to encourage promising juniors. Each year he would painstakingly go through the year’s results to find juniors who he felt were worthy of his awards. This was in the days when orienteering events were usually only held on Sundays.
In 1983 the Association took over responsibility for these awards. They are now made solely as encouragement awards and a junior can only ever receive one. It has been our aim to recognise ten juniors each year – preferably five males and five females – however with junior boys far out numbering junior girls these days that is now no longer practical or appropriate.
In no particular order, the Audun Fristad Award recipients for 2021 are:
- Elye Dent
- Connor Dent
- Hayden Dent
- Joshua Mansell
- Oliver Bishop
- Alice Radajewski
- Sanda Halpin
- Ariadna Iskhakova
Orienteering Australia: Silva Medal – Orienteer of the Year 2021
At the conclusion of the OACT Awards, Darryl Erbacher presented Marina Iskhakova with the Silva Medal – Orienteer of the Year for 2021, which is presented to the Australian Resident competitor who accumulates the most points according to the criteria set out in Section 2.17 of the Operational Manual.