TA OK history

The orienteering club TA OK was founded by 13 orienteers on 7 December 1982, and was named after their employer, the Estonian Academy of Sciences. The first president of the club was Kalju Vaikjärv. The founder members still in the club are Rein Kask, Silvi Estorn and Ilmar Kirjanen.

In addition to co-ordinating orienteering activity in the Academy of Sciences, the club used to organise two competitions in 1980-90s: relay event for families and (ultra) long distance orienteering event. Both were rather popular. 30 families at the most took part in family relay events and more than 300 orienteers in long distance events every year. Family relay events were held on nine occasions: from 1983 to 1991. Participants were three-member family teams (grandparents, parents and children). The only condition was that one member would be female. The sequence of runners was to be decided by the team. The family relay was discontinued after 1991, due to the shortage of participants. The (ultra) long-distance events - TAOK marathons - were held 19 times between 1982 and 2001. The courses of marathons were planned shorter than for Estonian championships in ultra long distance so that they were acceptable for a larger number of participants. The TAOK marathon was discontinued in early 2000s and replaced by TAOK rogain.

In 1980s and 1990s the club organised also several major orienteering events:

· Soviet Union Veteran Championships (in co-operation with OK KAPE)
· The first Baltic Sea Games orienteering events (with Rakvere OK)
· Estonian Championships in night orienteering 1993
· Suunto Games 1996
· Championships of ESS Kalev 1998
· St. George's Night Event 1999 (with Harju KEKRSK)

In 2001, our club organised within the 100th anniversary events of the sports society "Kalev" a park orienteering event in Tallinn, Kadriorg.

In 2000, we organised the first rogaining event in Estonia. 54 teams with 150 competitors participated in the 8 hour rogain. The event was given a warm welcome by the participants. Year by year, the number of participants has steadily increased. From 2000, the rogain has become the annual key event of the club and a kind of trade mark of TAOK.

Number of participants in TAOK rogain events
Year Location Teams Participants
2000 Mägede küla 50 147
2001 Voose 82 216
2002 Ardu 90 245
2003 Kolgaküla 139 398
2004 Võsu 233 629
2005 Arbavere 300 763
2006 Kolga 357 914

Members of TAOK orienteering club are also actively participating in rogaining events themselves. Teams of our club have participated in the World Rogaining Championships (2002 Czech Republic and 2004 Arizona, USA), European Rogaining Championships (2005 Estonia) and North American Rogaining Championships (2005 British Columbia, Canada).

Members of our club have won several medals on Estonian orienteering championships both in youth and veteran classes. Over the last years, we are proud to have witnessed the breakthrough of one Estonian elite orienteer - Tõnis Erm. Tõnis has won the title of Estonian champion both in ski-orienteering and mountain-bike-orienteering and has shown good results at the World Championships in both disciplines.

In 2004 World Championships in ski-orienteering Tõnis Erm was a member of the Estonian team, reaching the 6th place in relay.

In 2005 Tõnis Erm won a World Ranking Event in MTBO in Slovakia. At the World Championships in MTBO Tõnis placed 7th in the short distance and 5th in relay. By the end of the season, Tõnis placed 4th in the MTBO World Ranking and was elected by the Estonian Orienteering Federation as the best mountain-bike orienteer in Estonia.

The year 2005 was very successful to the club also in area of organising o-events. For the first time in history the Estonian Orienteering Federation issued a special prize for the best orienteering competition of the year. The member clubs of the EOF elected as the best orienteering event of 2005 the Estonian Championships in sprint orienteering organised by our club in Rocca al Mare Open Air Museum. In total, we organized 8 different orienteering events in 2005. From this year, we are using the SportIdent (SI) system both for regular orienteering events and for rogain.

In 2005, a total of 300 teams with 763 participants took part in our annual rogain. According to available information, we believe that this was the biggest rogain event in the world.

In co-operation with the Estonian Union of Sports for the Disabled, our club is trying to promote in Estonia also trail-orienteering. In 2005 we have translated the IOF trail-orienteering rules into Estonian and have organised a trail-o event in Rocca al Mare.

Rocca al Mare map was the first sprint orienteering map in Estonia, drawn according to the IOF specifications for sprint orienteering maps (ISSOM). This map, drawn by members of our club, was voted 3rd in the contest of best orienteering maps in Estonia in 2005.

In 2006 Tõnis Erm won four Estonian Championships: all three individual gold medals in MTBO - sprint, middle and long distance, adding gold medal in ski-orienteering middle distance and silver in sprint.

At the 2006 World Championships in MTBO, Tõnis placed 6th in middle distance and 5th in relay. Furthermore, Tõnis was twice on the 4th place at the European Championships in MTBO, in the middle distance and in the ultra-long distance.

TAOK rogaine in 2006 hit a new record - the number of participants exceeded 900.