In a sunny day, the Lord of Paths (direct translation of Sr. dos Caminhos) blessed Portugal O’Meeting. High quality terrains, lots of emotions and the best competitors in the World made of this major POM day a big happening. Thierry Gueorgiou and Lina Strand reached the top positions on their classes.
Just like the previou years, the third day of PortugalO’ Meeting was the most important. Counting to the World Ranking of Orienteering, the Middle Distance race received almost two thousand runners of all ages among them the best runners in the World. Adding to the good maps and courses, we got a colourful sunny day and an excited Arena, applauding runners going trough the spectator’s control or ending their courses.
The world ranking decided the start list order, anticipating an emotional ending to this day’s race and reality didn’t stay behind expectations. The fight for victory lasted till almost the last second of the race with Tierry Gueorgiou and Lina Strand clearly beating their rivals. With a time of 33:51, Gueorgiou repeats the victories of the previous two years on the main courses of Portugal O’ Meeting, increasing his leadership on the World Ranking. Just behind, with more 1:26 and 1:49, stood the Suisse Daniel Hubmann and the Norwegian Olav Lundanes. Lina Strand won the Women Elite with a time of 37:55, beating the Suisse Simone Niggli and her country mate Lena Eliasson by 0:27 and 0:30.
1º Thierry Gueorgiou (France O' Team) 33:51
2º Daniel Hubmann (Swiss O' Team) 35:17
3º Olav Lundanes (Halden SK) 35:40
4º Mathias Kyburz (Swiss O' Team) 35:59
5º Oleksandr Kratov (Orievents Team) 36:28
1º Lina Strand (Göteborg-Majorna) 37:55
2º Simone Niggli (Swiss O' Team) 38:22
3º Lena Eliasson (Domnarvets GoIF) 38:25
4º Saila Kinni (Tampereen Pyrintö) 42:08
5º Céline Dodin (France O' Team) 42:56
“Probably the best terrains in Portugal”
“I’m very pleased with my race. When I looked at the map, I understood it was a fantastic terrain and I tried to do a good race. I tried to be always focused, reading the map frequently and it was a clean race with only a few hesitations. It was great running here in these terrains, probably the best in Portugal”. It was with these words that Thierry Gueorgiou commented his victory today. Passing the idea that this region has unique qualities for Orienteering, Thierry Gueorgiou says that these are fast and technical terrains although the low visibility in the forest. He ends stating that “Portugal O’Meeting has a level of organization just as a World Championship and with all the World best runners. It will be a pleasure to be back because terrains like these are always enjoyable.”
Lina Strand, the winner of the Women Elite wasn’t expecting to win the race. About her race she told: “I felt good. I did a nice start, had a good flow on the running and the orienteering but a few controls before passing the Arena I caught the runner that left before me and got overconfident and made a small mistake. On the last part of the race, I knew that Simone Niggli did a mistake and I tried to keep focused till the end and I did it. For the Swedish runner, her goal is to qualify to the team that will represent the strong Swedish team on this year’s World Championship. I’m betting on the Middle Distance, and winning it here gives me confidence for the future. I leave Portugal very happy.”
Tomorrow, last day of the competition on the “chasing start sistem”, Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli will start first. Will they be the first to arrive?
All information about the Portugal O' Meeting 2012 at http://www.pom.pt/en/ or at your Portuguese Orienteering Blog.
(Translated by Luis Santos)