Sun, color and plenty of excitement and fun. Portugal’O’Meeting 2012 started under the best expectations. In the map of Sra. Do Crasto, north of Viseu, Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli were the strongest among all runners.
It started this morning the 17th edition of Portugal’O’Meeting, the most important regular Orienteering competition carried out in Portugal. Around 1800 runners from 30 countries – two thirds of them from other countries – booked their place in Sra. do Crasto, for a Long Distance event full of challenging options.
Among Men Elite Class, Thierry Gueorgiou confirmed to be the stronger candidate to victory, winning the competition. The French runner did the 27 controls of his course (12,1 kms) in the time of 1:08:06, leaving behind Suisse runner Fabian Hertner and Swedish Mathias Millinger.
For Thierry Gueorgiou, this was not the perfect race: “I did a big mistake on the 3rd control were I lost a few minutes, lost my rhythm, and then I had to try to recover it.” The french runner, leader of the World Ranking liked the maps and the diversity of options in the courses, and he is already thinking on the races of tomorrow and Monday: “It will be two races of Middle Distance, two fast courses were there is no management of energy. It will be full speed and then will see”.
Strong return of Simone Niggli
Simone Niggli showed at Sra. do Crasto the reason why she is the best orienteer of all time. In her fourth consecutive presence at Portugal’O’Meeting (in the last 3 editions, she won 8 of the 12 stages), Simone Niggli didn't give a chance to her adversaries, wining in 1:04:04 a 9 kms race (19 control points). Behind her, at a distance of short 15 seconds, was Annika Billstam (Sweden), number 2 of the world ranking, and the swiss Rahel Friedrich.
In the end, Simone Niggli share her oppinions: “It wasn't a perfect race, I made a lot of big mistakes losing five minutes overall. But it's a return to the competition after a long absence and it was very good to start again like this at the Portugal O’ Meeting.” Confessing she felt physically well, the athlete waits now for “even more beautiful terrains and less mistakes in the next days”.
Portugal O’ Meeting returns tomorrow at the map of Sra. do Crasto to the Middle Distance race. The afternoon will be dedicated to Sport for All, with Trail-O races (specially for reduced mobility) and Adapted Orienteering activity (specially for mental disability), taking place at the centre of the city of Viseu.
More information and complete results at http://www.pom.pt/en/.