Monday, January 16, 2017

Sandor Talas: “I'm not leaving the sport, just my official role”



After four years as MTBO Commission's Chairman, Sandor Talas announced last 21st December his resignation. It was an irrevocable decision, based on a “serious gap between the Council's and my view on the role of the MTBO Commission, the optimal path to develop this discipline, and our responsibility regarding the use of the limited time and enthusiasm of our volunteers”. To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Sandor explained the reasons that led him to take such an unexpected position.


Four weeks ago, you resigned from your place as MTBO Commission's Chairman. Was such outcome inevitable?

Sandor Talas (S. T.) - This was the final stage of a long process. During my four years as Chairman of the MTBO Commission I considered resignation multiple times. Only the plea and support of my friends in the Commission kept me going. I kept making compromises in order to be able to push ahead the cause of MTBO, but it was getting more and more difficult with each compromise.

In many ways the last drop was both a typical and interesting experience that recalled feelings from my youth in Communist Hungary. The Council introduced new, Olympics related tasks in the remit of the Commission: do annual evaluation of MTBO against the Olympic evaluation criteria (when even FootO is light-years away from the Olympic Games) and seek inclusion in the Youth Olympic Games (an event only for Olympic sports).

I tried to discuss with the Vice President responsible for the commission remits that it would be a waste of resources for the MTBO Commission to spend scarce volunteer time on this, and we should rather focus on the numerous development challenges of MTBO. The Vice President decided that it was a waste of time and resources to have a discussion, because these tasks should be the same for all commissions. He also wrote me, and let me quote this verbatim, because I would hate to twist his words: “All IOF Commission should be committed to the vision of the IOF, hence those Olympic Games related tasks can not be deleted in remits. If, however, MTBO Commission is not committed to our vision to be included in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I can raise this for discussion in our next Council meeting, and we'll see how to proceed.”

That reminded me of the style of low level Communist Party officials I met in the 80's in high school and at university. Maybe that is the reason why I am a bit more sensitive to this approach, especially in an amateur sports organization.


How hard was to take the decision of your resignation?

S. T. - As I mentioned, this wasn't a new idea. Passing the decision was a relief. Far less pressure when you don't have to bang your head against the wall or constantly thinking about how to get around artificial road blocks. Also, now I can speak my mind without the constraints of the position. In the meantime I have all the confidence that my friends in the MTBO Commission will continue the work without my formal membership. Of course, I will help them whenever it is required.

Did you have the support of all members in the Commission?

S. T. - Well, they didn't support my resignation. Some of them were quite disappointed when they heard that I did. I had long discussions to ensure them that I'm not leaving the sport, just my official role. But there was no disagreement between us that the approach of the Council made little sense. The only question was whether to stand up and debate it, or just nod quietly and forget about it. It's a viable alternative practiced by most commissions within the IOF structure. Say yes to the Council and forget about pointless tasks. After all, what can the Council do, if we don't do annual Olympic evaluation? Voice their demands louder? Fire all the volunteers? It was simply me, who just had enough of this comedy.

How do you evaluate your work in the Commission?

S. T. - I have always mixed feelings about my own work. We achieved a lot, but could have done more. The most important for me is that, now, we have a broad based international MTBO community. The MTBO elite was always closely knit with great friendships across teams. Now we have also a youth and junior community, not to talk about the vibrant masters group. Four years ago there were few in the MTBO Group on facebook whom I didn't know personally, while now I know probably less than half of the 1300 members. Numerous friendships formed across borders based on friendly rivalries and the shared joy of MTBO. For me that is the greatest achievement of an amateur sport like ours.

We have also achieved a lot in more tangible areas: the quality of major international events have improved; we have an official Youth and Junior European Championships; there is a new major event program with a full week competition for the World Championships. We also got the Masters World Series going, the unofficial Masters World Cup (the name the Council did not let us use). We also kept the rules evolving with the times. For example, we were the first orienteering discipline to allow the use of most GPS based devices. We have an accident an injury database for fact based analysis of athletes’ safety, and we were the first discipline to introduce regular event evaluation, four years ago.

Unfortunately, as an illustration of the weird situation within the IOF, the major achievement list would not be complete without the things where success came from stopping something happening. Escaping the threat of alternating World Championships or a World Championships every second year; avoiding mandatory 50% late fees on World Cups and World Championships; or fending off the “Olympic style” only top 3 on podium (instead of 6) prize givings have to be mentioned as achievements, no matter how sad it is.

There were major developments where we played little direct role, but I would like to believe that helped to catalyze events. MTBO has exploded in Sweden, we saw great activity in Latvia and Turkey, increasing interest in Spain and in the United States, just to name a few of the developments I was happy to see. Regrettably, activity in some countries has declined, Slovakia being the most painful loss, and some high potential countries like Norway could not get started. The list of my ideas that I could not get moving due to lack of energy or volunteers is too long to present here. Probably the idea of a handbook on organizing the first MTBO event in a new area is the one that comes back more often to my dreams.

How difficult can be the leading role in the MTBO Commission?

S. T. - There are many elements that come together in a role like that and all of them have their difficulty. Working with the commission members, organisers and event advisers is like herding cats: trying to get volunteers with limited time and many other professional and family priorities to accomplish tasks on time and deliver quality events. Trying to explain coaches and competitors that every solution is a compromise, no matter how strong they feel about their view, some others feel just as strong about different views.

I have to admit that the most tiring was just standing in the finish areas of major events, feeling responsibility for the outcome, hoping that everything works out fine, but having no way to influence it. On many occasions I had my entry to ride in the public competition, but by the time of my start I was so tired that could not complete my course.

The most frustrating was the lack of dialogue with the Council. Except for a single question of urgency (WMTBOC Long qualification rule in 2014) the MTBO Commission was never invited to discuss issues related to MTBO, or even asked questions to help the Council to make an informed decision.

How do you see the present moment of MTBO?

S. T. - I think that MTBO is riding to the right direction. That’s why I could afford to resign and stop making compromises. MTBO is a developing sport at a fairly early stage of development. The first World Championship was organized only 15 years ago. Compare that with 50 years for FootO. There are many development challenges and some growing pains. The elite sport is going through a transformation where there is a small but growing group of more professional riders, while the “tourists” disappeared from the World Championships and World Cups. The important thing is that the base is increasing. There are more youth and more masters involved. The latter is important also for the youth because of the logistical challenges of getting to events. I believe that the hearts and minds of masters is key to a faster development of this sport.

The biggest challenge is to break through the initial resistance of national federations dominated by FootO people who resist broadening the base of orienteering, often due to myopia or a concern that resources may need to be shared. There is a similar resistance that young orienteers experienced 50 years ago, when aging tourists resisted the idea that forests can be enjoyed while solving navigational problems running. Now aging orienteers resist the idea that forests can be enjoyed while solving navigational problems biking. Sweden is a great example that shows the latent demand for various forms of orienteering living side by side and broadening our community.

MTBO has the potential not only to attract bike oriented young people and keep masters in the sport who find running increasingly difficult. It can also spread orienteering into areas that are not suitable for traditional FootO for lack of forested areas or access issues. There is quite a bit of development potential in this area to be exploited.

Are the Olympics part of the problem or part of the solution for our sport?

S. T. - Olympics is a nice dream. The problem is that tremendous resources being spent on this dream, instead of development that would really benefit the sport. First, I am not sure whether the changes that would come with it would benefit our sport. The IOF leadership is fully focused on the money and fame that they expect from the Olympic Games, but it would bring substantial changes to our sport that I don't think most people would appreciate. Just have a look at the maps and courses of the World Games in Cali 2013 that was closest to a possible Olympic event. Is that type of low-quality park race what we want to call the pinnacle of orienteering?

The good thing is that we have practically zero chance to get into the Olympics. We could not even get on the shortlist of 8 candidate summer sports, neither in 2013, nor in 2015. In his in depth introductory interview, in September, Leho Haldna stated that “Foot Orienteering and Ski Orienteering both have a realistic chance of inclusion in the Olympic Games. […] Foot Orienteering was also evaluated by the IOC 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.” He forgot to mention that this time all the recognised International Federations were invited. 26 applied, including the IOF. It took the Programme Panel exactly 2 weeks from the application deadline to evaluate 26 sports and publish the list of the 8 they asked to make a presentation. One can imagine the depth of consideration orienteering received.

Was the invitation to apply an important step? Yes, but that was the result of 1977, when the International Olympic Committee recognised the IOF. Not much Olympic progress in the past 40 years since that achievement. Lets face it: we are in one group with billiard, bridge, korfball, sumo, and tug of war – to name a few sports that were also “considered” for Tokyo 2020, applied like the IOF, but did not make the shortlist. If you consider that billiard, sumo and many others are much more TV friendly (and thus Olympic) friendly sports, you can deduce our chances.

The bad thing is that the Council is not willing to face realities, and – as described above – just trying to intensify the Olympic effort. They claim that they have no choice, because the strategic direction and vision of the Olympics is set by the General Assembly. As usual, it is not mentioned that the strategic direction with the Olympic vision was proposed by the Council. Should they once honestly present how much effort and money was spent on the Olympic dream and associated activities with no meaningful result, and suggest a change of strategic direction, the General Assembly would approve the new direction just as well.

The fascinating thing is that when I talked to Council members individually, most of them gave the impression that they don't really believe that the Olympic dream would become a reality in their lifetime. Still, in public and especially as a Council, they support the official line. Did I mention that the situation reminded me of the Communist system I grew up in?


In what way are you going to stay close to MTBO?

S. T. - In what way am I going to stay away from MTBO would be a better question (laughs). I was already requested to keep presenting Event Adviser and Organizer clinics. Various organisers of upcoming major events asked for my help and advice “now that you are free”. I also got a call from an “MTBO missionary” to discuss development in a new country. All that in the past 10 days.

I plan to attend major events and meet people to discuss ideas. I will also advise the MTBO Commission whenever they ask for my views and insights. I would also like to work on some pet ideas like a guide on organizing the first MTBO event, and a guide on course setting. An interesting idea of doing online presentations for athletes on rules and jury cases just popped up. I hope that now, with less official obligations, I can find more time and channel more energies into meaningful tasks to help the MTBO community.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

S. T. - Not really, I think this is long and rich enough (laughs).

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 SkiO Tour: Khrennikov and Alexandersson were the winners



Eduard Khrennikov and Tove Alexandersson were the winners of the 2017 SkiO Tour, which called to Switzerland and Austria 56 Elite athletes from 9 different countries. Erik Rost and Mariya Kechkina got the second position while Stanimir Belomazhev and Alena Trapeznikova were third placed.


After the holiday break, the Ski Orienteering season returned in Switzerland and Austria with the 2017 SkiO Tour. Scoring for the IOF Ski Orienteering World Ranking, the event took place from 7th to 14th January, attracting to the Rhaetian Alps many of the discipline's best experts, for six stages of great, demanding Ski Orienteering.

The two initial stages took place in Davos, with the Russian Mariya Kechkina and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson sharing triumphs in the Women Elite class. Then, the SkiO tribe moved up to Fideris, still on Swiss soil, for the next two stages. Alexandersson performed greatly, reaching her second win and getting the overall lead of the SkiO Tour in the end of the third stage. Alena Trapeznikova, from Russia, was the winner of the fourth stage, but Tove remained first placed in the overall standings. For the last two stages, the ski-orienteers crossed the border towards Sulzberg, in Austria. Here, Mariya Kechkina reached her second victory in the Tour, setting in eighteen seconds the disadvantage to Alexandersson.


Heavy snowfall in the 6th stage

The last stage would be decisive, but... there was a heavy snowfall and the organizers were forced to postpone the start for several times. When the start was finally given, the initial format (chasing start) had been changed into a mass start, the distance had been shortened and, in the end, the organizers decided do not count the 6th stage to the overall standings. So, Tove Alexandersson reached a tight overall win with 3:18:57, Mariya Kechkina being the second placed, just 18 seconds after Alexandersson. Alena Trapeznikova reached the third placed, finishing 2:40 after the winner. Just one word to the Swedish Magdalena Olsson, 2nd placed in the second stage, the only one out of the top three able to reach a place in the podium in one stage.

In the Men Elite, the Bulgarian Stanimir Belomazhev was unbeatable in the three first stages, always followed by the Russian Eduard Khrennikov, but in the fourth stage he wasn't able to reach better than the 5th place, losing a fifty five-second advantage overall and seeing Khrennikov getting the lead. In the fifth stage – that would be the last one -, the Swedish Erik Rost was stronger than anyone, reaching the second place overall, 2:07 after the winner, Eduard Khrennikov. Belomazhev finished in the third place overall with more 3:32 than the winner. Third placed in the third stage and second place in the fifth stage, Andrey Lamov finished fourth overall, 1:22 away from the podium.

Overall results

Men Elite
1. Eduard Khrennikov (Russia Orienteering Federation) 3:22:30 (+ 00:00)
2. Erik Rost (Alfta Osa OK) 3:24:37 (+ 02:07)
3. Stanimir Belomazhev (Bulgarian Orienteering Federation) 3:26:02 (+ 03:32)
4. Andrey Lamov (IFK Mora OK) 3:27:24 (+ 04:54)
5. Martin Hammarberg (Sundsvalls OK) 3:28:30 (+ 06:00)
6. Andrey Grigoriev (Krasnoyarsk) 3:32:08 (+ 09:38)
7. Peter Arnesson (Bottnaryds IF) 3:34:04 (+ 11:34)
8. Sergey Gorlanov (Russia Orienteering Federation) 3:36:48 (+ 14:18)
9. Linus Rapp (IFK Mora OK) 3:39:48 (+ 17:18)
10. Mattis Jaama (Varska OK Peko) 3:45:35 (+ 23:05)

Women Elite
1. Tove Alexandersson (Alfta Osa OK) 3:18:57 (+ 00:00)
2. Mariya Kechkina (Russia Orienteering Federation) 3:19:15 (+ 00:18)
3. Alena Trapeznikova (Russia Orienteering Federation) 3:21:37 (+ 02:40)
4. Anastasiia Kravchenko (Khabarovsk krai) 3:30:28 (+ 11:31)
5. Tatyana Oborina (Russia Orienteering Federation) 3:30:37 (+ 11:40)
6. Antoniya Grigorova (Bulgarian Orienteering Federation) 3:47:29 (+ 28:32)
7. Emma Bergstroem (OK Vargen) 3:59:25 (+ 40:28)
8. Daisy Kudre (Varska OK Peko) 4:05:57 (+ 47:00)
9. Andreya Dyaksova (Bulgarian Orienteering Federation) 4:23:25 (+ 1:04:28)
10. Doris Kudre (Estonian Orienteering Federation) 4:32:05 (+ 1:13:08)

Full results and further information at http://www.skiotour.com/index.php/en/.

The Portuguese Orienteering Blog would like to thank you Andrey Lamov and Stanimir Belomazhev for their help to clarify the “cancellation” of the 6th stage.

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, January 13, 2017

Two or three things I know about it...



1. The Spanish Orienteering Federation has just published the final calendar of events for this season, which includes 12 Foot orienteering events, 12 Sprint events, 8 ultrascore-rogaine events, 6 MTBO events and 6 Adventure Races events. As for the FootO, the first event – WRE 15th Costa Blanca Trophy - will take place in Santa Pola (Alicante) on 4th and 5th February. The season lasts until the last weekend of November, when the 2nd Ciudad Rodrigo Trophy will be held. In the meantime, the the Spanish Orienteering Championship WRE, in Miraflores (Madrid), as usual during the Easter period, will attract the attention. Full information at http://www.fedo.org/web/ultimas-noticias/2646-calendario-fedo-de-2017.
2. The Finns Tuomo Istolahti (Kangasala SK) and Tiia Miettinen (MS Parma) were the winners of the 9th Madeira Orienteering Meeting, respectively in Men and Women Elite classes. Organized by the Clube Aventura da Madeira and divided in two Middle Distance stages, the event took place last weekend, with the presence of 138 orienteers from regional clubs of Madeira Island, some continental athletes, as well as athletes from Finland, France and Russia. Istolahti achieved comfortable wins in both stages, finishing with a 6:42 overall advantage over Nelson Baroca (CA Madeira), second placed. Tiia Miettinen did the same as Istolahti, winning clearly in the two days and leaving the second classified, Sónia Silva (GDE), at the distance of 21 minutes. Full results at http://mom.camadeira.com/.

3. It’s time now to vote to the IWGA Athlete of the Year 2016. For the poll, the International World Games Association selected sixteen candidates from sixteen different sports and representing twelve nations. Between the nominated, there's a Water-skier from the United States, a Karateka from Egypt, a Sumo-wrestler from Mongolia, a Roller-skater from Italy, a Floorball player from Finland or an Orienteer from Sweden. We talk about Tove Alexandersson, a 24-year-old athlete, that has had a fantastic orienteering season. She was crowned World Champion in both the Long and Middle Distance at the World Orienteering Championships on home ground in August 2016. She also claimed the Long and Middle Distance titles at the European Championships in the Czech Republic in May. For the third year in a row, Tove won the overall World Cup in Orienteering. In the 2015-2016 season she also won the overall World Cup in Ski Orienteering. Her year has gained her a nomination as Female Athlete of the Year in Sweden. To give your vote to Tove Alexandersson, you just need to enter the IWGA webpage at http://www.theworldgames.org/the-iwga/athlete-of-the-month/36-athlete-of-the-year-2016. Until 31st January, you may vote as many times you want but... just once a day!

4. “To analyze, study and understand the sport tourism from all points of view, inclusive, transversal and universal form”, such was the aim of the Universal Sport Tourism Summit 2017 Costa Blanca, which took place in Alicante, Spain, from 9th to 11th January. The event had presentations of some of the most representative and the most prestigious names in the organization of sporting and tourist events internationally, bringing their ideas and energizing and consolidating the sector. Simon Gravelling, from the Olympic Games organization, Michel Filliau, Senior Advisor to the President of Sportaccord or Jens V. Holm, IMGA's CEO were some of the speakers. All information available at http://universalsportstourism.com/.

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christian Spoerry: "The focus has to be in event quality and not in new formats"



The transition into retirement can be filled with fear and anxiety but this is not the case of Christian Spoerry, to whom everything seems to be flowing quite smoothly. He talked about a weighed decision to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, reviewed his career and analyzed the current SkiO moment.


I would start by asking you to introduce yourself. Who is Christian Spoerry?

Christian Spoerry (C. S. )
- I was born and grew up in Switzerland, a bit outside of Zürich, in a non-orienteer family. I started my sports career in xc-skiing, in a very active ski-club. At the age of 15, I tried ski-orienteering as a complement. After high-school, I moved to Umeå, in Sweden, to combine my university studies with my sports career. After five years of bachelor and master studies I went on with doctoral studies.


How hard was it to take the decision of retiring from the high competition level and how are you dealing with your “new life”?

C. S.
- The transition has being quite smooth. I'd already decided, two years ago, that the
 2015/2016 season would be the last one on international level and since I have always combined my sportsmanship with studies and work, I was well prepared. I still like to train - even if I have reduced the training time from 15-20 hours to about 5 hours per week -, and I still compete in a few races.

The first record in your IOF Eventor file is from a “free of punching” race in Vålådalen, Sweden, at the age of 17. Do you still remember those moments?

C. S.
- This was my first race in Sweden, when I was an exchange student for six months at the Ski-orienteering high-school in Mora. I started out in ski-orienteering inspired by the successes of Remo and Boris Fischer, from my ski-club, at the Junior World SkiO Championships. After having skied my first international races in the Czech Republic in 2002, I realized that I should improve my orienteering skills and applied to Mora Skigymnasium in Sweden. I met 
many good friends there who have also been some of the hardest competitors throughout my career, such as Erik Rost and Andrey Lamov.

What's the most beautiful part of being a top orienteering skier? And what's the most difficult part?

C. S. - First of all, ski-orienteering is just a great sport and it's really fun in those moments when you’re able to navigate at full skiing speed on bumpy tricky tracks and still feeling that everything is under control. I also like to attend the competitions with the team, meeting friends and going to places that, otherwise, you’d never visit, such as Schuchinsk in Kazakhstan, Rusutsu in Japan, Lake Tahoe in California or Dospat in Bulgaria.

The most difficult part was not being
 able to compete on my level in nearly half of the seasons, due to airway problems with allergic asthma and recurrent infections. Luckily, I got cured from these troubles and I could compete without medication during the last four years.

Could you tell us some of the most pleasant moments along your career?

C. S.
- The most pleasant was definitely to finish second in the Long Distance at the European SkiO Championships 2015, on home soil, in Lenzerheide. It was a big relief to finally reach the podium after many years of hard work, especially after a knee injury in spring 2015. The medal in the Relay at the World SkiO Championships 2007. in Moscow, came a bit earlier in my career to provide the same joy, even though it’s always nice to win with the team. The worst moments were when I got lost...


During your career, you surely met all the strong names of our sport. What was your most impressive rival?

C. S. - Erik Rost, because he is very consistent and hardly ever makes a mistake. Peter Arnesson's golden week in Kazakhstan 2013 was also very impressive.

How has Ski Orienteering evolved in the last ten years? Is it going in the right way?

C. S. - Many things have improved. The international race calendar, for example, is planned earlier and with GPS and TV production we get more visibility. Unfortunately, there’s still lots of mistakes in the organizations, with a real impact in the competition’s fairness. It’s very important to have excellent IOF Event Advisers when the organizers are a bit unskilled. At the same time, organizers in the Nordic countries have a lot to learn with the small SkiO countries with regard to creating a good atmosphere. I believe the focus has to be in event quality and not in new formats. I really like the way the World Cup is established, where you have to show good skills in very different types of terrains and track-systems.

I would ask you to comment on three particular topics: “Doping”, “Olympics” and “Environment”.

C. S. - Having my background in life science, I’m very interested in doping issues. The global sport is definitely in a big crisis and, given all scandals, even I start questioning myself about the purposes of professional sport. I hope the lack of money has protected us so far from doping, even though we have had one known doping case in Ski-O. I, myself, have only been tested once during my sports career and that is, of course, far too little.

To be part of the Olympic Games would, for sure, be great and would make it possible to spread our sport. I think to get there we should focus, besides lobbing, on event quality and try to keep the spirit and fair-play of our sport.

Even if global warming is apparent and winters get shorter, there has never been a cancelled international competition because of lack of snow during my international career. International competitions should be concentrated between January and March, when snow conditions are still good. Big problems are, of course, the training possibilities and national competitions in many countries. Uncertain snow-conditions demand a high degree of flexibility from both organizers and competitors.

If you could go back in time, would you choose a different sporting life?

C. S. - I would maybe start earlier with foot-orienteering, trying to improve myself as a youngster in it. There are many other outdoor sports I would have liked to have picked up, but I don’t regret to be focused on ski-orienteering.

What's the best advice you can give to the youngsters who are trying the SkiO for the first time?

C. S.
- Have fun and, if you like it, go hard! In a small sport as ski-orienteering you might have to fight and organize a bit yourself to get the right premises. For sure you’ll get the chance to meet many friends and travel to special places, as well as taking part in a great sport.

The new season is starting now. What will you miss the most from “the good old days”?

C. S. - I will miss the preparation training camps and the feeling of being in really good shape when skiing. How will I feel like, following the international races online instead of being part of it, I don't know yet...

[Photo: Martin Jörg]

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Portuguese FootO Cup Vitalis 2017: The opinion of Filipa Rodrigues



With just three days left to the start of the Portuguese Foot Orienteering Cup Vitalis 2017, the Portuguese Orienteering Blog invites Filipa Rodrigues, a young athlete who is making her debut in the Elite category, asking her to analyze the circuit.


At 11 a.m. next Saturday, the 15th Orientation Meeting of the Center will start in Lagoa da Ervideira. This will be the first of the twelve rounds of the Portuguese Foot Orienteering Cup Vitalis 2017. A circuit that will extend over almost 11 months and, as in the previous four years, will end with the Absolute National Championships, in Mora, in the first weekend of December.

This season's calendar includes one more round than the previous year and its geographical distribution privileges the Center of the Country, where half of the events will take place, as well as the Alentejo region, that will host four events. The North of Portugal will receive the visit of the Cup's “tribe” just once, during the Male Iberian Championships, while the remaining round will cross the border towards Toledo, in Spain, where the Female Iberian Championships will take place. But the “asymmetries” of this edition of the Portuguese Cup aren't just geographical and the calendar, itself, is divided into two distinct moments, with the first eight rounds extending until the first fortnight of June. Then, we'll have a three-and-a-half-month “vacation”, returning on the last day of September for the first of the final four rounds.


I expect a good performance throughout the season”

Still enjoying a season of great achievements – winner of the overall Women Junior ranking of the Portuguese Cup 2016, Iberian Champion in all distances, a first international presence by participating in the JWOC 2016, in Switzerland, and a brilliant second placed in the Absolute National Championships -, it's quite anxious that Filipa Rodrigues, representing ADFA, awaits for the start of the competition. Which is understandable, since next Saturday's stage will represent her debut in the Women Elite class.

Regarding to goals, Filipa is cautious: “I expect a good performance throughout the season”. She explains that “with the rise up to the Elite category, the competitiveness has grown big and great athletes like Raquel Costa or Mariana Moreira will surely be in the lead, but I hope to improve next to them and we will see how it works.” Confident in her abilities, she adds: “I've been working hard, especially since it's not easy to combine training with studies. But I've managed to improve my skills and this is due to my coach, Pedro Duarte, and to the rest of my training group, to whom I leave a special thank you. If I'll be able to manage things like I've done until now, it's possible that I will be selected to the World Orienteering Championships. Let's wait and see”, she says.


I'm looking forward to the Portugal O' Meeting”

Looking at the Portuguese Foot Orienteering Cup Vitalis 2017, Filipa Rodrigues chooses three events in particular: “I'm looking forward to the Portugal O' Meeting, for being an event of excellence that brings to our country many athletes and because it will be very interesting to compare my current shape in relation to my adversaries in an international level, considering that I hope to reach top results in the World Championships, in the future. Another event that I find relevant is the Aguiar da Beira O 'Meeting, taking place in some of my favourite terains, and I also wait anxiously the Female Iberian Championships, because the results achieved last season motivate me to do great again in the next one”.

Finally, some opinions on the Portuguese Cup's calendar as a whole: “I think that we should have more events, but the scheduled ones seem to be quite promising. There should be more races in June and perhaps a few in July, regarding the preparation of both Elite and young athletes, as most of the international competitions take place in the Summer. As for the geographical distribution, I would prefer Northern terrains, but all the terrains are important for the practise of Orienteering”, Filipa concludes.


Date Event Place Organizer
1 14-15 Jan 15th Centro Orienteering Meeting Leiria COC
2 18-19 Feb Beira Litoral O' Meeting BLOM'17 Coimbra Ori-Mondego
3 25-28 Feb Portugal O' Meeting POM'17
Alter do Chão, Crato
and Portalegre
GD4C
4 04-05 Mar Aguiar da Beira O' Meeting ABOM'17 Aguiar da Beira Ori-Estarreja
5 22-23 Apr National Championships Relay & Middle Vendas Novas ADFA
6 20-21 May National Championships Long & Sprint
Constância and
Abrantes
CLAC
and COA
7 03-04 Jun Female Iberian Championships Toledo Toledo-O
8 10-11 Jun Bairrada O' Meeting BOM'17 Buçaco CAB
9 30-01 Oct Male Iberian Championships Montalegre .COM
10 28-29 Oct 5th Costa Alentejana O' Meeting Odemira
CN Alvito
and COALA
11 18 Nov Ori-Mondego Trophy Figueira da Foz Ori-Mondego
12 01-03 Dec Absolute National Championships Mora CPOC

Joaquim Margarido