The 9th edition of the European Orienteering Championships EOC 2012 and the 3rd edition of the European Trail Orienteering Championships ETOC 2012 are about to begin. The cities of Orsa, Falun and Mora, in the heart of Sweden, will receive a competition that runs between the 13th and 20th May and will bring an among of 483 athletes, representing 33 countries.
The first major competition of the season is about to begin. It is on Sunday that the Championships EOC / ETOC 2012 will start, calling to Sweden 387 athletes from 33 countries for the pedestrian event and 96 participants from 13 nations to compete in Trail Orienteering. The epicentre of the competitions is located in the historic copper-mining town of Falun, in the Dalarna region of Sweden.
The vast and varied program of the European Orienteering Championships extends over a week, with the titles of Sprint, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Relay in dispute. The European Trail Orienteering Championships will take place at the weekend of 19th and 20th May, being preceded by the European TempO Trophy, on Friday, May 18th. The three individual finals of the pedestrian competition constitute the first three races in this year’s World Cup programme.
Tiago, Miguel e Paulo are already in Sweden
Tiago Aires, Miguel Reis e Silva and Paul Franco, three of the five athletes of the Portuguese national team, are already in Sweden since May the 5th, having participated in the prestigious Tiomila. In the company of the well known Ionut Zinca, the "three musketeers" headed Mora on Monday, in order to adapt to similar terrains of the competition. To Orientovar, Paulo Franco said that the terrains are "composed mostly of forest, rich in details of relief, swamps and rocks, with some areas that are very similar to the typical terrains of Marinha Grande, but with less visibility."
Despite the very strong competition, the mood within the team is quite high. "We have been training every day with map and we can see that some areas still have snow, which implicates from us another factor of adaptation," says Paul Franco. About the snow on the maps, our interlocutor reveals that "there has been talk about the best way to address this situation, since it may influence the results facing the inevitable tracks in the snow." Talking about the goals, there is no need to hide the game and to reach the final in each distance is in the heads of our athletes. Orientovar knows that Miguel Reis e Silva and Tiago Gingão Leal want to be in the Sprint final, Paulo Franco and Tiago Aires are more confident in Long Distance and Middle Distance finals and Manuel Horta believes in a presence at the Middle Distance final. At the Relay, the target is to reach the top 20.
Portuguese National Team will be completed tomorrow
Tiago Gingão Leal and Manuel Horta will join the group tomorrow, being accompanied by Grigas Piteira and Manuel Dias, the latter two to participate in the EOC Tour, a competition that promises to keep the attention of something like 5000 participants.
There is considerable media interest in these championships and the Sprint final, Middle distance final and Relay races will be transmitted live by Swedish TV, with edited extracts shown in sports programmes in several other countries. The EOC and ETOC organisers have just published Bulletin 4, containing a wealth of information about the races and venues. Everything to follow in http://www.eoc2012.se/.