Thursday, March 30, 2017

Inga Dambe: "There is always something to learn, no matter how experienced you are"

With the WOC in the horizon, Inga Dambe comes to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's tribune to talk about the time she spent in Portugal, recently, preparing the season and the next steps towards Estonia.

I would start by asking you to introduce yourself. Who is Inga Dambe?

Inga Dambe (I. D.) - I was born in Latvia's capital, Riga. Currently I'm living in Finland, representing Paimion Rasti club. I’m involved in orienteering as an active Elite orienteer and, more recently, also as a map maker. As for my hobbies, I like photography.

How did you realize that Orienteering would be your sport for life?

I. D. - Together with my family, I was introduced to orienteering when I was 8 years old. We started taking part in orienteering series “Magnets”, in and around Riga, which were very popular at that time, gathering over 1000 participants every Wednesday evening. I did quite well, getting diplomas and prizes, and started looking forward to run more, also in other competitions. At the age of 13, I managed to win my class at the Latvian Championships for the first time. Fighting for every second, enjoying nature, seeing wild animals, competing, succeeding, managing the excitement, knowing that races are always different – that is what I like in orienteering.

You're a WOC “veteran”, having participated in the event since 2001. Can you remember your first WOC?

I. D. - Those were quite busy and challenging years. My first WOC was actually two years earlier, in Scotland. I had graduated from the University of Latvia with a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Sciences that year, and I was also working. Orienteering was difficult for me in Scotland, and I didn't get to the finals. But the good thing was that I had so much to improve, and I started training properly.

You were in Portugal a couple of weeks ago. How do you evaluate the time you spent here?

I. D. - Portugal is a perfect place to increase motivation for the upcoming season and to switch the training environment. I was here for eleven intense orienteering days, together with my club mates, taking part in the Portugal O' Meeting and the Aguiar da Beira O' Meeting. It was interesting to run in different types of terrains – from oak forests and pine dunes to stony and bushy hills.

What was the main thing you learned from the Portuguese experience, and that you will have to focus on to become an even better athlete?

I. D. - There is always something to learn, no matter how experienced you are. It's not just a matter of running here – you can lose time choosing wrong passages through the green areas, loosing direction zigzagging through the stones and thorns, not reading the map properly, or being too slow and cautious climbing stone walls and rocks. I found myself too much of a risk taker, I should have taken safer route choices. Sometimes it was quite a game of luck to find the best passage through the thorny growths. The most interesting race was the last one – the Long Distance in Aguiar da Beira. It would be quite interesting to run it once more.

So far, how is your winter season going?

I. D. - There have been ups and downs. The weather conditions for trainings were quite challenging this winter in coastal Finland. Since I train outdoors, I faced slippery and icy roads nearly every day. But quite often it was possible to run in partly snowless forests.

Is there any special meaning to be a team mate of the IOF World Ranking leader, Olav Lundanes, at Paimion Rasti?

I. D. - Paimion Rasti is more “international” than ever – we have Elite runners from six countries now. Everyone has his/her own approach and style of training, living, character. You can learn something from anyone. It is hard to be lazy if you look at the others, like Olav Lundanes, training. It will be interesting to see how this season will develop – we have good chances to succeed in the big Relays.

What are your goals for the season?

I. D. - My sights are set upon the World Championships in Estonia, and the World Games in Poland, where I have already been nominated to run. Other important races are the Relays with the Paimion Rasti girls – Tiomila and Jukola.

To compete in Estonia will be like competing “at home” ...

I. D. - My orienteering thinking has become more ‘Scandinavian’, as I have spent more time in Finland than in Latvia in the recent years. Latvia has a wide variety of orienteering terrains, and surely you can find similar terrains to Estonia. And, of course, you can find terrains that are unlike the ones in the World Championships, and that would be in my hometown, close to Riga. Succeeding in Estonia, in my opinion, will be crucial to take the best route choices, going straight or going around hills or marshes, taking paths whenever necessary. To have a good sense of direction and use the compass, especially if the features are indistinct, will also be very important.

What are your expectations for the World Cup round in Latvia, at the end of August?

I. D. - The terrains are very specific of the region, it will be a good preparation for anyone who is aiming for WOC next year.

Are we going to see you in Portugal in 2018?

I. D. - We’ll see. Portugal is a good choice for those who like to do orienteering trainings in winter in snowless terrains. It is perfect that there is a possibility to choose different types of terrains. You can practise forest orienteering, as well as urban sprint.

Do you have anything you'd like to add?

I. D. - Thank you for the high-level organized competitions. It was a real pleasure to run here in Portugal.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 PreO Hungarian Championships: Miháczi and Laáber got the gold

The Hungarian TrailO season kicked off last weekend with the accomplishment of the PreO National Championships. Zoltán Miháczi and Miksa Laáber got the titles in the Elite Open class and Elite Paralympic class, respectively.

Thirty-eight TrailO fans headed Érd, a city in Pest County, Budapest metropolitan area, for the 2017 PreO National Championships. First competition held in Hungary this year, the Championships took place in a former military shooting range, offering twenty four tasks, plus two timed stations, one before the start (four tasks) and the other after the finish (three tasks). Two out of 24 controls have been voided.

Set by Fruzsina Biró, well-known TrailOrienteer worldwide, the course was technically very demanding, taking benefit mostly from the vegetation features and also from Biró's expertise in designing several tricky tasks. In the Elite Open class, Zoltán Miháczi (TTE) managed to perform at the highest level, finishing with twenty two points and a two-point advantage over Ferenc Fehér (ZTC), second placed. Four points after the winner, András Komoróczki (SAS) achieved the bronze medal. Miksa Laáber (MER), another well-known Hungarian TrailOrienteer, did also a great course, getting the gold with 19 points. Anna Tóth (MER) finished second, seven points less than the winner. With ten points, Viktor Beke (SIR) got the third place. Zsófia Nagy and Viktória Toth, both representing DCS, were the winner in the Elite Junior Open class and Elite Junior Paralympic class, respectively.

To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Zóltan Miháczi talked about a “difficult course”, highlighting “Miksa Laáber's good result, with just three mistakes in the Paralympic class”. About his victory, Miháczi preferred to mention his recent participations in the Portugal O' Meeting and Lipica TrailO as “something that helped me, once it was the first TrailO event of the season for the other competitors”. Miháczi talked also about “the great pleasure to see some competitors from new territories” and finished with a word of hope: “Maybe next year, after many year, Hungary be able to be represented in the European Championships, in Slovakia, with a full team.”


Elite Open
1. Zoltán Miháczi (TTE) 22 points / 86 seconds
2. Ferenc Fehér (ZTC) 20 points / 174 seconds
3. András Komoróczki (SAS) 18 points / 281 seconds
4. Antónia Holper (TTE) 17 points / 59 seconds
5. Anikó Madarassy (BEA) 17 points / 83 seconds

Elite Paralympic
1. Miksa Laáber (MER) 19 points / 239 seconds
2. Anna Tóth (MER) 12 points / 377 seconds
3. Viktor Beke (SIR) 10 points / 296 seconds
4. Panna Réday (MER) 7 points / 359 seconds
5. Rita Sárai (SIR) 5 points / 438 seconds

Elite Junior Open
1. Zsófia Nagy (DCS) 14 points / 69 seconds
2. Dóra Nagy (DCS) 12 points / 183 seconds
3. Kinga Surányi (DCS) 11 points / 327 seconds

Elite Junior Paralympic
1. Viktória Tóth (DCS) 11 points / 324 seconds
2. Balász Hamvai (DCS) 10 points / 243 seconds

[Maps and photos courtesy of Zoltán Miháczi]

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Portugal City Race 2017: Rodriguez and Delgado won in Braga

Celebrating the Historic Centre National Day, the city of Braga, North of Portugal, hosted the second stage of Portugal City Race. Like in 2016, Maikel Rodriguez and Carolina Delgado were the winners in the Senior category.

Once again, the Clube de Orientação do Minho, the Municipality of Braga and the Portuguese Orienteering Federation took forward the Braga City Race's third edition. The event was attended by three hundred participants, distributed by Formation, Competition and Open classes.

Winner of the previous edition of the Portugal City Race, the Spanish Maikel Rodriguez (Budiñoraid) didn't feel difficulties in the Men Senior class, reaching the best partial in 16 out of 19 controls points of the course and finishing the 6.5 Km of his race with the time of 33:07. The remaining podium was also occupied by athletes from neighbouring Spain, with Ángel Soto (Aromon) finishing in the second place with more 4:12 than the winner and his teammate, Xoel Chamorro, being the third placed with the time of 37:35.

In the Women Senior class, Carolina Delgado (GD4C) performed also at a higher level. Winner of the first two editions of the Portugal City Race, the athlete reached her third victory in the Braga City Race, spending the time of 34:51 to cover the 5.3 km of her race and getting the fastest time in 12 out of 16 controls of her course. Raquel Ferreira and Daniela Macedo, two athletes who competed individually, finished in the immediate positions with more 3:00 and 6:22, respectively, than the winner.


Men Senior
1. Maikel Rodriguez (Budiñoraid) 33:07 (+ 00:00)
2. Ángel Soto (Aromon) 37:19 (+ 04:12)
3. Xoel Chamorro (Aromon) 37:35 (+ 04:28)
4. Vitor Barreiro (Individual) 39:23 (+ 06:16)
5. Luis Ferreira (AD Cabroelo) 40:09 (+ 07:02)

Women Senior
1. Carolina Delgado (GD4C) 34:51 (+ 00:00)
2. Raquel Ferreira (Individual) 37:51 (+ 03:00)
3. Daniela Macedo (Individual) 41:13 (+ 06:22)
4. Daniela Alves (AD Cabroelo) 43:41 (+ 08:50)
5. Sara Miranda (Amigos da Montanha) 49:12 (+ 14:21)

Further information and complete results at

[Photo: Clube de Orientação do Minho /]

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, March 27, 2017

José Enrique Barcia: "I have a feeling that something big is going to happen in Spanish Orienteering this year"

The Spanish Orienteering Federation has, since last 10th December, a new President, José Enrique Barcia. He is the guest of Portuguese Orienteering Blog, telling about his ideas and proposals, his dreams and ambitions for the four years of his term.

How did you feel accepting the charge of President of the Spanish Orienteering Federation for the next four years?

José Enrique Barcia (J. E. B.)
- I felt great, like everyone who loves things to which they are committed.What legacy did you receive from the previous governing body?

J. E. B.
- Spanish Orienteering Federation is very grateful to my predecessor in office. He and his crew have worked hard for our sport.

I believe that economic problems are your biggest concern and dealing successfully with them will be your main goal. What strategies have you made to move forward?

J. E. B. - Joaquim, look: it is not the economic problem that worries me the most; what worries me the most is the lack of recognition of our sport as what it is: a demanding, spectacular, very technical, very complete sport. The day we fit Orienteering into society - and I'm sure we will do it -, it will be the day our economic problems will finish. Summarizing, we have to work really hard looking forward to introduce Orienteering to our society.

How do you see the role of the Autonomic Leagues in Spain and its heterogeneity? Is Orienteering in Spain moving at different speeds?

J. E. B.
- Unfortunately the development of orienteering is not the same throughout Spain. Ideally, all the autonomies would be able to enjoy a strong and competitive League and that, effectively, doesn't exist. But I'm very confident that, during this period of 2016-2020, we will manage to create a Territorial Federation in each autonomy and then create territorial leagues strong enough to reach the level of the excellent Northern League and the exciting Southeastern League.

One of the considerations of your program is about celebrating the Spanish Orienteering Championships in two or three different stages, moving away from the traditional meeting time of the Spanish orienteering family during Easter. Has your proposal been well received?

J. E. B.
- Well, my proposal only set expectations higher among orienteers. In fact, Victor García did the same on his application proposal, so I can say that it has been very well received. How couldn't it be? From now on, we will have two great parties of the Spanish Orienteering and not just one!

Of course, not all of it are “thorns”. Would you like to say something about the “roses” of the Spanish Orienteering?

J. E. B.
- Working for the benefit of the sport that you love above all compensates the few bad moments.

MTB Orienteering, Adventure Racing, Rogaine, even Ski Orienteering are, in addition to Foot Orienteering, objects of interest of your "Program of Action and Considerations in relation to the Presidency of the Spanish Orienteering Federation”. However, there isn't a single word about Trail Orienteering. May I ask why?

J. E. B.
- Well, I can't tell you why. What I can tell you is that the Spanish Orienteering Federation and me, personally, are very interested in the development of Trail Orienteering. In fact, one of the first meetings we had, just after me becoming president, was held with the single goal of promoting Trail Orienteering and I have made some proposals in this regard.

How has the battle of the first 100 days of Presidency been?

J. E. B.
- I can't say, honestly, that I have been engrossed in any battle. I'm, in general, very happy with how things are going. I only hope that the Federative life treats me, along my term, as well as it has done up until now.

You've been to Portugal and attended the Portugal O' Meeting recently. What lessons have you learned from the experience?

J. E. B.
- I love the Portugal O' Meeting, the great organization, the great show that is developed, the level of competitors it attracts, the great choice of terrains that is made, the magnificent courses which, in general, can be enjoyed ... It is certainly one of the great events of European orienteering ... I would like to have something like this in Spain ... there are competitions starting to approach that level but we have not achieved such high standards yet. In short, the Portugal O' Meeting is a model to follow.

Are there any aspects that can be improved in the relation between the Portuguese and the Spanish Federations?

J. E. B.
- During the Portugal O' Meeting I met the new President of the Portuguese Orienteering Federation, having the chance to exchange views with him. We are both willing to work hard together with the goal of increasing Orienteering in the Iberian Peninsula.

Without asking you to dabble in futurology, how do you expect to see Spanish Orienteering after your first year of Presidency?

J. E. B.
- I have a feeling that something big is going to happen in Spanish Orienteering this year ...

I would ask you to share your greatest wish?

J. E. B.
- A wish... My big wish is to see the Spanish Orienteering on the front page of the sports newspapers ... and that, this year, news get to the “Marca”: the announcement that one of our runners has climbed to the podium.

[Photo courtesy of José Enrique Barcia]

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Danish Spring 2017: Maja Alm won all stages

After achieving victories in all stages, Maja Alm was the Danish Spring's greatest star for the fourth year in a row. At the men's side, Olav Lundanes won the forest races and Tim Robertson was the fastest in the Sprint.

“Spring premiere with an international touch”, the Danish Spring held its sixth edition along the weekend. Organised by OK ØST Birkerød and HSOK, 2017 Danish Spring was attended by more than 800 competitors and took place in some of the best orienteering terrains in North Sealand. The weekend kicked off with sprint Friday in Elsinore. Saturday was middle distance in Harager Hegn, and today was time for long distance in Harager Hegn/Gribskov North. All three races were IOF World Ranking Events, and parts of the Danish Senior League, Trimtex Cup and the Danish Junior League, Løberen League. Saturday and Sunday’s races were also a part of the Danish Youth Cup.

After a great win over Daniel Hubmann at MOC Sprint, two weeks ago, Tim Robertson (Orienteering New Zealand) showed himself in great shape, getting a 38-second victory on Søren Schwartz (FIF Hillerød Orientering) in the Sprint stage. The forest stages, on second and third days, had in Olav Lundanes (Paimion Rasti) the great winner, first in the Middle Distance over Andrey Salin (Savedalens AIK), by just nine seconds and then, in an epic 19,3 km Long Distance, by narrow 16 seconds over Fredrik Bakkman (IFK Göteborg).

Maja Alm (OK H.T.F. / Danish Orienteering Federation) did three good races, having in Cecilie Friberg Klysner (FIF Hillerød Orientering) her biggest opponent. Maja Alm's 20 second victory in the Sprint oppened the door to a successful weekend, with Cecilie Klysner being second and Svetlana Mironova (Russian Orienteering Federation) finishing in the third position. The podium on the second stage was the same, but Alm's advantage over Klysner was this time of 2 minutes. In the Long Distance, Alm stretched the advantage over the second placed to 2:47, with Emma Klingenberg (Faaborg OK) finishing in the third position.


Men Elite

1. Tim Robertson (Orienteering New Zealand) 13:37 (+ 00:00)
2. Søren Schwartz (FIF Hillerød Orientering) 14:15 (+ 00:38)
3. Andreas Hougaard Boesen (OK Roskilde) 14:18 (+ 00:41)
4. Jakob Edsen (Aarhus 1900 Orientering) 14:26 (+ 00:49)
5. Otto Sund (OK Trian) 14:32 (+ 00:55)

Middle Distance
1. Olav Lundanes (Paimion Rasti) 37:47 (+ 00:00)
2. Andrey Salin (Savedalens AIK) 37:56 (+ 00:09)
3. Søren Schwartz (FIF Hillerød Orientering) 38:00 (+ 00:13)
4. Tue Lassen (Faaborg OK) 38:46 (+ 00:59)
5. Otto Simosas (OK Trian) 38:53 (+ 01:06)

Long Distance
1. Olav Lundanes (Paimion Rasti) 1:32:45 (+ 00:00)
2. Fredrik Bakkman (IFK Göteborg) 1:33:01 (+ 00:16)
3. Arto Talvinen (MS Parma) 1:35:45 (+ 03:00)
4. Olli Markus Taivanen (NAVI) 1:37:07 (+ 04:22)
5. Tue Lassen (Faaborg OK) 1:39:15 (+ 06:30)

Women Elite

1. Maja Alm (OK H.T.F., DEN) 13:47 (+ 00:00)
2. Cecilie Friberg Klysner (FIF Hillerød Orientering) 14:07 (+ 00:20)
3. Svetlana Mironova (Russian Orienteering Federation, RUS) 14:32 (+ 00:45)
4. Malja Sianoja (Finnish Orienteering Federation, FIN) 14:34 (+ 00:47)
5. Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx, FIN) 14:48 (+ 01:01)

Middle Distance
1. Maja Alm (Danish Orienteering Federation) 30:23 (+ 00:00)
2. Cecilie Friberg Klysner (FIF Hillerød Orientering) 32:23 (+ 02:00)
3. Svetlana Mironova (Russian Orienteering Federation, RUS) 33:44 (+ 03:21)
4. Ida Marie Næss Bjørgul (Paimion Rasti) 33:52 (+ 03:29)
5. Hollie Orr (Halden SK) 34:08 (+ 03:45)

Long Distance
1. Maja Alm (Danish Orienteering Federation) 1:10:45 (+ 00:00)
2. Cecilie Friberg Klysner (FIF Hillerød Orientering) 1:13:32 (+ 02:47)
3. Emma Klingenberg (Faaborg OK) 1:14:00 (+ 03:15)
4. Hollie Orr (Halden SK) 1:14:14 (+ 03:29)
5. Marika Teini (SK Pohjantahti) 1:14:59 (+ 04:14)

Full results and further information at

[Photo: Bent Hjarbo / Danish Spring /]

Joaquim Margarido