Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Portugal O' Meeting 2012: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli win and convince

What a great atmosphere at the end of Portugal O' Meeting 2012! Almost two thousand participants celebrated around the Sanctuary of Sr. dos Caminhos, in Sátão, applauding Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli, the winners of the event.

Since 2000, when the Portuguese Orienteering Federation decided to devote four days in this festive season to the largest regular event in Portugal, that the period of Carnival is synonymous of revelry for our sport. In the meanwhile, the prestige of the event has been cemented on the quality and variety of our terrains, in the goodness of a mild climate and in an excellent capacity of our organizations. This raises the Portugal O' Meeting, in the words of the current leader of the world ranking, Thierry Gueorgiou, "at a level of a World Championship".

In a stage that saw Philippe Adamski take the victory, Thierry Gueorgiou was precisely who led to the best set of the four races, turning himself into the winner of the Men Elite class. After winning the first and third stages, Gueorgiou confirmed his enormous favoritism, reaching his second major triumph in the competition after winning in 2007, in S. Pedro do Sul. Thierry Gueorgiou's most direct opponent was Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland), number 2 of the World, and the podium was completed with Scott Fraser (Great Britain), thanks to a remarkable performance today.

In the Elite Women class, the winner was the best runner of all time, Simone Niggli, from Switzerland. Behind her, stood the vice-leader of the World ranking, Annika Billstam (Sweden), and a surprising Rahel Friedrich, representing the Swiss Orienteering Team. Simone Niggli opens and closes the Portugal O' Meeting with two great victories, and this is the fourth time that the athlete wins the one that is considered the greatest international competition of the Winter season.

An investment with a guaranteed return

Among the Portuguese, Tiago Romão (ADFA) and Joana Costa (GD4C) won this last stage, but Joaquim Sousa achieved the highest score overall in the Men Elite class, while Joana Costa won the Women Elite Class, thanks to a great race in the las day. The good results of the two athletes of Orienteering Club of Centro seemed to be fundamental to the victory by teams of this Portugal O' Meeting 2012.

But, in this event, not only the big stars shine highly. Also the little "starlets", made of people from eight to eighty years old, bring colour and joy. This was again clearly evident in the excitement that everyone embraced the challenges made of maps and compasses. A contentment that spread throughout a region so well known to welcome the participants, what represents an investment with a guaranteed return.

The Portugal O' Meeting will be back in next year's Carnival, for four days of the best Orienteering. The responsibility for organizing the 18th edition will be up to ADFA and will take place at Idanha-a-Nova, from 09 to 12 February.

Everything to follow at http://www.pom.pt/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

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