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2023 Audun Fristad Award Winners

Honours and Awards for 2023

The 2023 Orienteering ACT Annual Awards Presentation was held at the conclusion of the final Runners Shop Twilight Series event at John Knight Park on Wednesday 14 March.

Thank you to Valerie Barker and Susanne Harrysson for organising and hosting the awards, and to John Harding for providing the photos accompanying this story.

Audun Fristad Junior Encouragement Awards

  • Girls: Banjo Bluett-Jones, Layla Dent, Philippa Hallam, Mia Kluth, Tessa Radajewski, Alma Walter, Isobel Walter.
  • Boys: Angus Bishop, Zaf Bluett-Jones, Max Johnson, Arlan Leane, Ben Mansell, Patrick Maundrell, Mica Walter. 

A list of prior recipients can be found here.

Wehner Cup

2023 Wehner Cup Winner – Grace Crane

Grace Crane won the Wehner Cup for ACT orienteer of the year.

The top ten points placings for 2023 are:

1Grace Crane534
2Martin Dent530
3Jenny Bourne512
4Andy Hogg507
5Geoff Lawford504
6David Stocks503
6Matthew Crane503
8Owen Radajewski498
9Matthew Stocks492
10Paul de Jongh491

Services to Coaching Award

Ken Mansell

2023 Services to Coaching Award Winner – Ken Mansell

The International Olympic committee has the following on top of their description of a good coach:
A good coach is positive, enthusiastic, supportive, trusting, focused, goal-oriented, knowledgeable, observant, respectful, patient and a clear communicator.

Ken well and truly lives up to these qualities, in a very natural manner. He encourages young and old regardless of ability. He is positive and he makes participants want to come back. He is always there, eager to help, cheer someone on, encourage and support.

Several of us have seen him at SC-ORE, leading the briefing and welcoming every single child to the finish as they complete their individual courses. No matter the child’s place, time and speed, Ken sees them ALL, and in doing so, has made the day for so many children.

What many within OACT might not know, is that Ken not only does this for orienteering, but he also does it for many other organisations such as Little Athletics, Aquathon and Triathlon – and on top of that, he also does so at his children’s schools.

He has successfully run Map Mates, where parents were thanking him for, what they called, the impossible task of getting their kids involved in any sport at all, and wanting to come back for the next session!

Ken was a coach in last year’s Learn to Orienteer program, where he – with his enthusiasm and personal touch – made orienteering extra fun for – especially – our younger participants, and also for us adults – coaches and participants.

Ken did not have an orienteering background when he introduced his children, Josh and Ben, to the sport but he quickly adapted into the sport and has always given a helping hand without being asked. As soon as he had understood the basics, he was there, encouraging and coaching kids to learn to orienteer and to feel seen and to be a part of our community, a very important aspect of attracting and keeping participants.

When he had learnt a bit more, and his children were getting more independent on their courses, he started running courses on his own, still always happy to assist others when needed. Ken has shadowed numerous beginners. How many children and parents has Ken introduced to orienteering during his ‘only’ 5-6 years within the sport, we wonder.

Ken is a worthy candidate of OACT’s coaching award; he is positive, enthusiastic, and makes everyone feel seen. And, he helps provide an atmosphere around him that enables a coach’s most important task: to want people to come back and do it again!

A list of prior recipients can be found here.

Jim Sawkins Award for Event Management

Ian de Jongh

2023 Jim Sawkins Award Winner – Ian de Jongh

Over the past year, Ian has voluntarily applied his professional expertise to reprogram the Orienteering ACT website results page so that it can automatically display class based results and easily calculate results for OACT’s Twilight, Junior, and ACT league competitions. Ian’s new results page has enabled the adoption of a simplified course-based entry system which has greatly reduced behind the scenes event administration workload and made it much easier for newcomers to enter events.

For example, prior to this change, most Classic Series events would have 63 different entry classes available. With the new system, only 9 entry classes are needed; however, results can still be provided for all age and gender categories. This has made the work of our Eventor administrators and computer operators much easier, and made the Eventor entry process more intuitive for all participants.

In addition, Ian’s new series scoring calculator has replaced an outdated and temperamental legacy program. As well as being much more user-friendly, the new calculator can process results in a variety of formats, which allows club volunteers to use their preferred event software at any event without affecting series score calculations.

The new results page and scoring calculator will enable Orienteering ACT to continue providing high quality Twilight, Junior, and ACT league competitions, despite the retirement of stalwart administrators such as Bob Mouatt who voluntarily maintained the far more challenging previous system for many years.

A list of prior recipients can be found here.

Mike Cassells Award for Services to Orienteering

Marina Iskhakova

Fedor Iskhakov accepted the Mike Cassells on behalf of 2023 Winner, Marina Iskhakova.

Since arriving in the ACT from NSW in 2016, Marina has been an active member of Orienteering ACT as both an athlete, coach and event organiser, planner and controller for both foot and mountain bike orienteering.

Whilst Marina is now a household name when it comes to MTBO in the ACT, she started life as an elite foot orienteer. During her time in NSW, Marina was involved in event planning and controlling. Upon moving to the ACT, she jumped headlong into these and other opportunities when they presented themselves.

Marina has been involved in coaching for both foot and MTBO orienteering. She has made herself available on several occasions to impart her wealth of knowledge in foot orienteering to the junior cohort of OACT. She has organised and presented coaching clinics for aspiring MTB orienteers for the past 4 years.

Along with Fedor, Marina has been instrumental in the organisation and development of MTBO in the ACT since 2017. In the 5 years prior to this, and for several years before that, OACT managed to hold only one or two MTBO events each year. These events were organised by a few dedicated people.
Marina’s enthusiasm was pivotal in promoting MTBO in the ACT when it was in decline. She is, we believe, solely responsible for recruiting a willing bunch of 10 or more people, which she now labels the “OACT MTBO Team”, to co-ordinate and run MTBO events.

She has promoted MTBO to numerous groups throughout the Territory and beyond, attracting competitors of various abilities to try the sport, many returning time and again to compete in OACT MTBO events. Although there are usually only 3 events and State Championships (Sprint, Middle and Long distance) each year, she still manages to attract new people to MTBO and in some cases those who used to race years ago and are now returning to the fold.

Marina’s fastidious nature is borne out in her production of flyers, event programs and detailed budgets for all events. She has delivered, over the past 7 years, events of impeccable standard and has increased the standard and number of events held on the championship weekend from a single Long-Distance event to include Sprint, Middle and Long Distance. Marina also co-ordinates much of the mapping activity required to hold these events and increase the number of MTBO maps that are available in the ACT. She continues to serve as the Event Director for the forthcoming Australian MTBO Championships scheduled for October 2024 in the ACT.

On another level, Marina is also involved in organising and running the ACT Ski-O Championships held once a year at Perisher.

Finally, Marina is always willing to be involved with whatever activity presents itself to her be it coaching, organising, planning, controlling or participating in both foot and MTB orienteering.

Marina is indeed a worthy recipient of the Mike Cassells Award for Services to Orienteering.

A list of prior recipients can be found here