Estonia’s Leho Haldna has been elected as President of the IOF ©IOF

Estonia’s Leho Haldna has been elected as the President of the International Orienteering Federation (IOF), replacing the retiring Brian Porteous of Britain.

Haldna was chosen as the replacement for Porteous at the governing body’s General Assembly in Strömstad in Sweden.

Porteous, who had led the organisation for four years and had been involved with the organisation for over a decade, has decided to retire from the role.

The Estonian also has a long history of working with the IOF, having served as a member of the Council since 2002.

Haldna was appointed as a vice-president from 2010 to 2012 before he then became a senior vice-president.

He has also been member of the Estonian Olympic Committee 1994 to 2008 and President of the Estonian Orienteering Federation from 1993 to 2007.

The new IOF President has already targeted Olympic inclusion for the sport, claiming "foot orienteering has a chance and ski orienteering has a realistic chance" of gaining a place at the Games.

Leho Haldna replaces the retiring Brian Porteous as President of the IOF ©IOF
Leho Haldna replaces the retiring Brian Porteous as President of the IOF ©IOF

“Inclusion in other multi-sport Games are important steps on our Olympic path,” he said.

“Ski orienteering is a part of the Military Winter World Games [in 2013 and 2017] and the Winter Universiade [ in 2019], and foot orienteering is included in the World Games and the World Masters Games.

"Foot orienteering was also evaluated by the International Olympic Committee for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"Even though we didn’t make it this time, being considered is a really important step.

"Part of the journey towards the Olympics is continuing the work we are already doing to develop orienteering, and part of it is also developing our contacts with international sports bodies."

Haldna is targeting spreading the development of the sport through increased exposure of the sport’s major events on television, such as the World Championships.

"One of our areas of high priority must be visibility, I cannot stress this enough,” he added.

"There are two main areas of focus here.

"Firstly, we need to increase our event quality, including developing the TV broadcasts from our events.

"Secondly, we need to pay special attention to youth - this is incredibly important."