Friday, June 29, 2012

Krešo Keresteš: "I'll try harder next year"




Krešo Keresteš is today's guest of Portuguese Orienteering Blog. He is a Cartographer, will be 42 this year and lives in Trzin, near Ljubljana (Slovenia). There you are the impressions of one of the biggest names in trail orienteering panorama, with five participations in WTOC and a gold medal in the Open Class at WTOC 2007, in Ukraine.


For how many years have you been doing trail orienteering?

Krešo Keresteš (K. K. ) – My first competition was the O-ringen in 1999, although I had already tried the O-ringen in 1992 in Sweden. I was very much involved in footO at that time, but the real impulse was my friend Niko Čižek, who is disabled and wanted to know what orienteering is. He was willing to try trail orienteering at a big event and we did some training before the O-ringen. So, we were very well prepared. He won in B Class. I was on 8th place in the Elite Class, so it was a good start. It took five years to organize the first trailO event in Slovenia and from then on I have been involved in the organization of trailO events every year.

And why did you start doing trail orienteering?

K. K. – Actually it was an opportunity to be more competitive, more than any other aspect. I also do foot orienteering, but I have better results in trail orienteering.

What do you find in trail orienteering that can help those who do foot orienteering to improve their skills?

K. K. – I can see that many youngsters and also some more experienced orienteers are not so good, because they don't know a lot of things. Why? Because we have to solve the problems at distance, trail orienteering is from this view technically more demanding that foot orienteering. Therefore, in trail orienteering we have to study many things that, in general, foot orienteers solve with their speed and because of that their coaches don’t know exactly if they did a mistake or not. I believe that also top foot orienteers do many things to improve their skills. Some of them also do trail orienteering when it is possible. Trail orienteering can provide them skills to recognize the terrain on the map and vice versa, to know something more about maps, control descriptions and gain some experience with the compass and other measuring methods, so of course trail orienteering can help foot orienteers to improve their skills. Also tempO is a discipline where speed of decision making is crucial as in high speed foot orienteering. So, trail orienteering and tempO could be very good training for foot orienteers.

How is trail orienteering in Slovenia?

K. K. – Some people don't recognize trail orienteering as a sport, but it is officially a sport supported by the Slovenian Orienteering Federation, as any other orienteering discipline. Actually this year we are the only national team to compete at Championships, we don't have a foot orienteering nor a ski orienteering not even a mountain bike orienteering team, except for a junior footO team.

How many competitors do you have in front of you?

K. K. – In trail orienteering it becomes different year after year, but I could say around fifteen at the moment. Usually we compete alongside with Croatian and Italian athletes in our common CRO-ITA-SLO TrailO Cup. According to our work and results we have also some foreign competitors in our club competing in footO and also trailO.

In these particular World Championships, what was the best and the worst for you?

K. K. – The competition was interesting. I cannot say that my map reading was not perfect, but I did two mistakes on the second day. I can still hope to be between the best. I'm a little bit disappointed with those mistakes, because I worked hard before the Championships to get good results. It's normal that everyone here wants to be a World Champion, but I guess it will be hard to be between the Top 5. Some of the control points were very clear, but some others were very detailed. We could see that some features were not in the right position in the map and that would prejudice our answers. The best part was that I got more international experience, which was very important. As you know, I already won the Championship once, so I'll try harder next year.

TempO or TrailO?

K. K. – Both disciplines are important for trail orienteering to develop this sport. My motto is that only a second could be a difference between the winner and others and therefore I have to do anything to be the best. In the past I put many efforts to improve my results at timed controls and I think that this is also my strength. Therefore I can expect good results in tempO. My result at World TempO Trophy this year was very bad, but I have good reasons for that.

Portugal will organize ETOC in 2014. Do you intend to be on the competition?

K. K. – As a competitor, I have Finland in my mind at the moment, where WTOC 2013 will take place. It is true that I didn't compete at an ETOC yet, but Portugal could be a good start. I think that the organizers in Portugal already know that, for a good organization of trailO events, you need three things: willing people, good terrains and perfect maps. I am sure that the first two you already have, so now it is time to do the maps together with the course planners. This is the most important for trailO events.

For how many years more are we going to see you doing trail orienteering?

K. K. – That depends on how our Federation will support us, but I hope I'll be able to compete in the next years' Championships. I don’t do trailO just to compete at the Championships. I am organizing and course setting nine trailO events in Slovenia this year. Anyway, I will do my best to stay in the Slovenian national team as long as it will be possible.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zdenko Horjan: "TrailO is young enough"




Zdenko Horjan,
41 years old, lives in Zagreb, Croatia and is a programmer. There you are, in brief, the ID card of someone who claims that
will be in Trail-O “as long as I can see good enough and move or someone can push me in a wheelchair”.


I would like to start asking you for some good memories that you keep until now.

Zdenko Horjan (Z. H.) - The best memory is my first silver medal which I won at WTOC in Olomouc, Czech Republic. That was my first WTOC and nobody expected anything, so it was a big surprise. Then again, at WTOC in Trondheim, Norway, it was very exciting when we realised that our team could win a bronze medal. We didn't really expect to win a medal in Norway with all the Scandinavian teams present, but we did it. :-)

Can we talk about "evolution", when we look at the past ten years of Trail-O?


Z. H. - Yes, of course. Many things have changed: some rules, control settings... And some new interesting things came up, like TempO. In my opinion, most changes were good and some were not, but that is how evolution works. And I think this process is still going on, because TrailO is young enough and there is plenty of room for further development.


What impressions do you keep from these World Championships?


Z. H. - I think it was pretty hard, especially because the map wasn’t so perfect in some parts, but it was very interesting and nice tasks.

The best and the worse of WTOC 2012 was…


Z. H. - The worse thing in Trail Orienteering is when you have some complaints and you have to cancel a control point which affects the results. I don't like when that happens, but I know it is very difficult to make a perfect map with which everyone will be happy. And the best is to be here and meet so many nice people. And also the accommodation, where all the teams stayed at the same place and competitors were able to meet, share experiences or just hang out together after the competitions, was perfect!

How is it, to do Trail Orienteering in Croatia?


Z. H. - We are still a small group of people and therefore we have problems with organizing more TrailO events, but we cooperate and compete a lot with Slovenia and also with Italy, so this way we are improving and that is how we managed to get some good results at international level. We’re growing slowly, but we’re on the good way.

How can we get more people doing Trail Orienteering?


Z. H. - I think that for those who know Orienteering already - and I’m talking mainly about Foot Orienteering -, they think that Trail Orienteering is a little bit boring, there is not enough adrenalin. Maybe TempO is good for them. And for people from outside Orienteering, it’s a little bit hard to explain them the rules, how to read maps, all the details and the tricks of Trail-O. So it can be really difficult to start to enjoy the sport and to have their attention, but we should keep trying and not making too difficult tasks for the beginners at the competitions.

And you, how did you start?

Z. H. - I was in Foot Orienteering since I was 19 years old, but I was always more interested in maps and less in running, so when I saw the first TrailO demonstration in Croatia in 2004, I immediately liked it a lot and I am in TrailO ever since then.

In July we'll have a new President at IOF. Would you like to leave him a message?


Z. H. - Well, I know FootO has much longer history, but it would be very nice if IOF (at all levels, from President down to all national federations) would treat all four disciplines at least equally, and even nicer if you could give younger orienteering disciplines a little bit of extra care and help them to develop, instead of treating them as unwanted child.



What would you say to the people to come and try Trail Orienteering?


Z. H. - Come and try. At the beginning it could be a little bit hard to get to know the sport, but later I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guntars Mankus: "TempO was the best part"




His name is Guntars Mankus, he is 41 years old, lives in Saldus, near Riga and he represented Latvia at the World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012, in Scotland. The Portuguese Orienteering Blog has talked to him and here is the result of a pleasant interview.


Is this your first time in a World Trail Orienteering Championships?

Guntars Mankus (G. M.) - This is my second World Trail Orienteering Championships. Last year I was in France and I also have experience on few European Championships before, so I’m not an absolute beginner. But still it's my third year in Trail Orienteering and from that perspective I think I still have a lot to learn.

How did you start in Trail Orienteering?

G. M. – I started in Foot Orienteering – basically speaking, I’m still in Foot Orienteering – and definitely Trail Orienteering is not my best discipline. I’m doing all kind of disciplines in Orienteering. I do Foot Orienteering and I was second in Latvian ranking in M40. I also do Mountain Bike Orienteering and Adventure Racing. Unfortunately, I am injured since April and so I concentrated more in Trail Orienteering this year.

And what about your performances here. Are you happy with your results?

G. M. - I’m not happy, definitely. I expected to get better results because I did a lot of competitions this year, once in Norway and twice in Sweden. The results there were better than here, so I can’t be very happy. But, of course, we have the terrains that we can say that are here completely different from Scandinavia.

The worse and the best of the WTOC 2012?

G. M. – This is just my personal opinion, of course, but this was one of the worse competitions I’ve done. About TempO, I’ve nothing bad to say. TempO was the best part, for me. It was very challenging, the problems were very well chosen, we had a good visibility and it was quite equal for wheelchair users. I made a good result but I was very slow. I made only one mistake but I had the slowest time between the top competitors. But then, specially on first day, there were many places with a bunch of flags located on the same feature and it requires more the measuring than the map reading. Even if the Guidelines of the IOF say that the most important part should be the map reading. I think that the course setter nearly forgot it on the first day. On the second day, there were really more problems that required map reading and, from that point of view, the course was much more interesting. There were still very strange check points that I didn’t understand – I can remember, in the beginning, a depression with three check points and two thickets, that was something which I cannot understand - , but it was much better on second day, indeed.

How is it, doing Trail Orienteering in Latvia?

G. M. – We are a small group of competitors and we have about twenty regular participants in our races. Let’s say that almost 50% in Paralympic Class, a little bit more in the Open Class. We have ten to fifteen events per year and we have some local ranking, so there are regular activities. Not always but sometimes, of course, the maps and the check points are not perfect. In Latvia, not going anyone else outside, it’s hard to be prepared for high level events like the World or the European Championships. And that’s why I try to practice abroad, at least in one or two events, like I did this year.

Are you going to stay in Trail Orienteering or, after the injury, you’ll return to Foot-O and to Adventure Racing?

G. M. – We never know. It will depend on the other things I do in my life. It depends on my job, it depends on my family and it depends on the season. I’m still not satisfied with my performances in these last two World Championships. Last year, in France, I was in 4th position after the first day and I lost a lot on the second day. Also after these World Championships I’m not really satisfied. I’m still thinking that I’ll be in Trail Orienteering maybe one more year, searching to have some better results. But it’s like a never-ending process and then you come again (laughs).

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WTOC World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012: Diary (V)




June 09th. For the first time in the World Championships, the day dawns airy. It's possible to uncover a few pieces of blue sky, the temperature is mild and the wind does not blow.


1. June 09th. For the first time in the World Championships, the day dawns airy. It's possible to uncover a few pieces of blue sky, the temperature is mild and the wind does not blow. Who refers to Dundee as "the sunny corner of the UK" knows what they're talking about. Especially after seeing the damage that the storm caused for the last hours in Wales.

2. In the final trip by Mini-Bus on the way to Tentsmuir, we have again Lyn West for company. From a new, particularly constructive exchange of ideas, I retain an advice: "Evaluate how many volunteers you will need for an event and multiply that number for two. At the times when you need most, there are always those who will not appear. For as valid as their reasons are!"

3. I feel and live intensively this last day of the World Championships. A certain nostalgia makes the forest look more beautiful than ever. The birds, in their chirping, build true symphonies and the sea, only to listen, suddenly opens up before our eyes. It's impressing the fact that we are so many around there and that we can't hear a single noise. It appears that everyone is walking on tiptoe, not to disturb the concentration of each other. In fact, it doesn't even have anything to do with the reality of our athletes, our courses, our country!

4. I am the first one to complete the race, which provides me a trip to the sound booth to say a few words. There stays my thank you to the organization that so well welcomed us, to all those who worked for these World Championships to be successful and to all of those who wanted to share with us something of how much they know. And a wish: That we meet again soon, around an ideal called Trail Orienteering!

5. It is true that the result was the one that interested the least, but I confess I expected to have done much better on this second day. Later I will realize that there are mistakes that pay dearly and I'll confirm that, in an event of this nature, beyond the mastery of techniques and an adequate strategy, the experience is the key.

6. Unlike me, Ricardo is very happy. He rose one place in the ranking and, for him, the World Championships eventually composed. The coffee we drink, while we animatedly discuss our options, tastes deliciously. We decide to have another. I arrive to the tent and I must say that this was the best coffee I drank during my stay in the UK. The lady is thankful for my words, while she tells me that now she only has one cup of coffee. Well, it's better one than nothing. It's prepared at the time. It is instantaneous, two spoons of powder are enough and there's just need to add hot water. Instant coffee, a Mokambo or something, the best coffee of this trip. Who knew!?

7. The rain makes the Awards Ceremony suffer a slight delay. It's time to celebrate the winners and to give them their deserved homage. Stig Gerdtman and Ola Jansson give a tasty double victory to Sweden, repeating precisely the same result, achieved two years ago, in Trondheim. Finland wins by teams. Britain, host of these World Championships, takes in Ian Ditchfield a lonely presence on the podium. Norway turns out to be the big loser of the Championships, failing for the first time in its history, to classify any athlete in the first six places.

8. We return to the ultimate act of these World Championships. The Closing Ceremony is again a time of great dignity, scoring by handover to Finland as the country which is organizing the next World Championships. It follows the banquet, with much fanfare and excitement, wine with the meal, sauces made from whiskey and live music. Celtic resonances music, on the loose in West Park, danced in perfection by people in skirts!

9. The living rhythms break off suddenly to give way to a plaintive ballad. The wheelchairs now tread the makeshift dance floor in front of the Auditorium stage. Lulled in the music, Chris James and Marina Borisenkova whirl around each other, playing what will be, for me, the most beautiful moment of the World Championships. Absolutely sublime!

10. Because everything has an end, it is time to say goodbye. Of the World Championships collects the experience, the conviviality, camaraderie and a rich set of ideas about the immediate future. From the conversations with Owe Fredholm, Knut Ovesen and Roberta Falda I take a couple of recommendations for the work on the European Championships in 2014. From my experience with Ricardo, our bonds of friendship are strengthened and I'm sure I can count on him for the future. By 2013, in Vuokatti!

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WTOC World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012: Double victory to Sweden




Mild weather and a green charming forest gave the tone for a second and decisive day of high quality races in the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2012. Ola Jansson and Stig Gerdtman showed why they are two of the world's best athletes in this as difficult as exciting sport and repeated the feat of 2010 in Trondheim (Norway), offering to Sweden the second "double" of the history.


Tentsmuir and it's delicious forest were the scene of the final round of the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2012. The race once again brought together the leading experts to a decisive course by offering them 23 challenging control points and two timed controls. The course took place on the map of Tentsmuir East and was distributed by two sections, the first in a distance of 1.75 km and the second with 0.5 km, to a maximum time of 135 minutes in the Open Class and 150 minutes in the Paralympic Class.

The map proved to be up to a competition of this importance and the participants were unanimous in praising the work of the course planner, Brian Parker, and the entire organizing team. The only repair arose from competitors in the Paralympic Class, mainly due to poor assistance in moving in a wheelchair, highlighting the disadvantages already obvious in relation to the Open Class. This situation would lead even to a formal protest from the Danish team, which would not be considered upheld.


The "tri" of Ola Jansson

In Open Class, the Ukrainian Vitaliy Kyrychenko was the great protagonist of the journey, reaching the full twenty-five correct answers and in the excellent time, in the sum of the two timed controls, of nine seconds. Having started this journey one point away from the trio Rusanen - Gerdtman - Ebright, Kyrychenko benefited the mismatch of his most direct rivals, having finished with the same points as Stig Gerdtman (Sweden). Due to Gerdtman's highest speed in the timed set of points on both days, the Swedish got the world title by the difference of 40.5 seconds. In third position it was possible to see another athlete from Ukraine, Sergiy Stoian, with one point less that the top two. In equality in terms of points with the third place, but with 8.5 more seconds in the timed controls, the German Christian Gieseler occupied the fourth position, while the British Ian Ditchfield and the Dutch Mark Heikoop, ranked in this order, occupied the remaining seats of honour.

In the Paralympic Class, Ola Jansson was again the most accurate, this time alongside the Finnish Pekka Seppä. Seppä turned out to be better in the timed controls, but the point of disadvantage brought from the opening day turned out to be decisive in the final schedule. Jansson thus becomes the first athlete in the history of the Championships to reach three gold medals, after Västeras (2004) and Trondheim (2010). World Champion in 2011, the Russian Dmitry Kucherenko had a disastrous entry in this last days of course, failing the two timed controls and definitely compromising their aspirations regarding the revalidation of the title. He would come to recover through the race, but the damage was done and the bronze medal didn't satisfy him for sure. World Champion in 2005 (Aichi, Japan), the Lithuanian Evaldas Butrimas was unable to take full advantage of the mismatch of their direct opponents and the best he could do was holding the fourth place brought from the previous day. With only two failures on the final day, the Croatian Ivica Bertol and the Finn Kari Pinola concluded its participation in the WTOC 2012 in 5th and 6th positions, respectively.


Finland wins the team competition

In the Team Competition, Finland reached a tasty triumph, repeating the result of the previous World Championships, in France, and with the same elements. Lauri Kontkanen, Antti Rusanen and Pekka Seppä staged an excellent race, finishing with a total of 72 points and 91 seconds. The second place fell to Sweden, with Stig Gerdtman, Ola Jansson and Marit Wiksell achieving the same number of points as the winners but with the 57.5 seconds more making all the difference. In third position, with one point less than their most direct opponents, ranked Croatia (Ivo Tilsjar, Ivica Bertol and Zdenko Horjan), thus reaching for the fifth consecutive time the podium of a World Championships.

Heard by Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Stig Gerdtman, the new World Champion, began to reveal that "it was very frustrating to have missed one of the two timed controls at the outset. From there, things got complicated and it was a tough day but now I'm very happy." As for the secret of this victory, the Swedish athlete confesses "not knowing for sure", but wishes to classify the terrains of this second day as "very interesting". As for the future, "going on this way" is all that Gerdtman has to say at the moment. Ola Jansson also proved to be delighted with his third world title, stating that the secret of the victory lay in the "great performance on this second day."


Portuguese mismatch

As for the Portuguese athletes, they failed again in the decisive day of course. Joaquim Margarido didn't go beyond the last position in the Open Class, dropping two places on the General and ending the World Championships on the 60th and penultimate place, just two points ahead of the Hungarian Tünde Forstreuter. Ricardo Pinto was better on this second day and the 10 points reached earned him into the 32nd place in the Paralympic Class. All in all, the athlete has risen one place from the previous day, ending his debut participation in 32nd place.

Total results, maps, solutions and other information at http://www.scottish-orienteering.org/wtoc2012


Joaquim Margarido

WTOC World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012: Day 1, the Usual Suspects




The World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2012 din't have the most auspicious starting. A protest from the Finnish selection upheld by the jury led to the avoidance of the first control point, spotting the first day of competition. Problems aside, the journey was dominated by the "usual suspects".


20 control points, two timed controls, 2.3 km way, 132 minutes maximum time, 36 athletes in the Paralympic Class and 61 participants in the Open Class. These were the numbers for the first day of the 9th World Trail Orienteering Championships. The race took place at the Tentsmuir NW map, near the south coast of the scottish city of Dundee, on a cold and windy day but - contrarily to what was feared – without rain.

Brian Parker, the course planner, made everything to minimize the deficiencies of a map that, for many of the competitors, failed to match a World Championship. Got it largely - or else he wouldn't be one of the leading experts in Trail-O - and thus, we were able to appreciate a good number of very demanding points, with an extraordinary technical cut that, taken together, allowed to screen those who may maintain their legitimate aspirations for a podium places.


Bitter struggle

In the Open Class, the Finnish Antti Rusanen, the Swedish Stig Gerdtman and the North American Richard Y. Ebright took the lead with a set of 20 right answers each and separated by only 29 seconds. Ebright's performance would even be called exceptional, if he had not been "penalized" by the cancellation of point 1, after the jury had considered the protest of the Finnish selection proceeding. At just a point away from the trio were nine athletes, including the Swedish Marit Wiksell, winner of the 2012 World TempO Trophy and the Italian Remo Madella, Director of Trail Orienteering course that was part of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2012, in Viseu, last February. The negative surprises came from the Swedish Martin Fredholm and Croatian Ivo Tilsjar and Zdenko Horjan, all of them already bringing medals from previous editions of the event and who ended up hopelessly compromising their aspirations into a new presence on the World podium.

As for the Paralympic Class, the result set would prove to be quite weak compared to the Open Class. The percentage of correct responses in five out of the twenty-one control points did not exceed fifty per cent, showing a layout of courses and a scoring that penalized the athletes in wheelchairs. Still, the Swedish Ola Jansson, winner of the recent Europeans, show how he was considered one of the favourites, taking the lead with 18 points. With the same number of points but with more time spent on the timed controls, ranked the Russian Dmitry Kucherenko, world champion in title. They are the ones who depart in front for a decisive journey, one point away from the Finnish Pekka Seppä, the Swedish Inga Gunnarsson and the Lithuanian Evaldas Butrimas.


Portuguese in the end of the lists

Formed by Ricardo Pinto and Joaquim Margarido, the Portuguese team was not very well. In the Paralympic Class, Ricardo Pinto had an excellent start, achieving five correct answers in the first seven points. The truth is that, until the end, the athlete would only get a couple more points, finishing in 33rd place between thirty-six competitors. Joaquim Margarido would be sensational in the timed controls, where he reached the fourth best performance, just two seconds away from Hanka Straube (Germany), but during the race he would come to limp, getting only ten correct answers and coming to the end of the first day in the 57th position among 61 competitors.





Results, maps, answers and photos at http://www.scottish-orienteering.org/wtoc2012/day1

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, June 17, 2012

WTOC World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012: Diary (IV)




June 8th. Terrible sleepless night. The wind and rain, I mixed them in my dreams with maps and compasses. And gigantic plastic bags to shelter Ricardo.

1. Terrible sleepless night. The wind and rain, I mixed them in my dreams with maps and compasses. And gigantic plastic bags to shelter Ricardo. I go out to have breakfast and it seems that my worst fears are not confirmed. The weather is less harsh than I thought and, at least for now, it does not rain. Only the wind blows hard, putting a note of winter on this second Thursday of June, at the threshold of summer.

2. The World Trail Orienteering Championships are about to start. I lay one last look at our stuff, confirm the starting times. Ricardo is one of the first ones to leave, when it's 10:09 a.m.; I will leave at 10:44 a.m. We have a long day ahead.

3. The trip to Tentsmuir is made in the company of the Hungarian team. We travel in silence. And in silence, after our arrival, we would refer to the coziness of a warm tent, filled with Japanese and Americans. We look at the IOF flag, shaken by the wind. We try to guess its direction. Has someone brought a compass?

4. With Anne Braggins, I confirm that Ricardo will be assisted in moving in his wheelchair during the race. The Director of these World Championships welcomes me with a smile and I reply to her curiosity that we already won our medal and that the amount of knowledge that we collect every day is golden. She tells me about her "staff", about the many unavailable ones and working in minimum. They have a very closed “staff” of about ten people, other ten very near and they are, in total, 72 people working in this organization, 50 of which are here full time. I see this as a message. Portugal prepares the European Trail Orienteering Championships in 2014 and we can't delay much longer the start working.

5. I travel by mini bus to the start. Almost there, a fright: I forgot the control card in the backpack. Irish is my traveling companion and soon he reassures me by saying that I won't be the only one to forget it and that the organization should have more cards at the starts. Indeed!...

6. I hit the first two timed controls and spend 15 seconds only. The World Championships couldn't have started in a better way. As the race goes on, I start to realize that all athletes have their own strategy of addressing the various points. Marit Wiskell doesn't move too far away from the decision point, yet Lauri Kontkanen circulates around the points, just like Ivo Tilsjar. Remo Madella almost goes around the whole forest to check his answer in point 4. As for me, I don't know wether I must stay or go. I go!

7. The race runs fine to me. Although I take as right the answers given in three or four points only, I feel that perhaps I got more than fifty percent of correct responses. I do not mistake a lot. Out of the 22 points that made this first day race, I hit 11. Actually I hit 10, since there was a voided point by the organization and in which I had given a correct answer. I don't feel frustrated, it was a great experience, though my desire to be among the 50 best in the world has gone completely downhill.

8. Ricardo is inconsolable. After the excellent performance at the Model Event, the seven earned points leave him "on the verge of a nervous breakdown." I tell him that, like me, he has everything to learn and nothing to prove. But I understand his disappointment, his grief. He tells me that tomorrow he will take revenge on this result less successful. But how? He did what he could and tomorrow he'll do it again, because this Trail Orienteering thing is not something you learn in 24 hours.

9. We take the early afternoon to get to know a bit of Dundee. It is a friendly tiny town, with a good pair of commercial streets, pedestrian only, museums, galleries and a commercial space of excellence, right in the center of the city. An adapted public transport network leaves me very pleasantly surprised. Among the works that revolve the entire waterfront of the Tay, the RRS Discovery, the first ship to be built specifically for scientific research, unfolds, imposing. This is where we board now and, under the command of Captain Scott, reach the South Pole, on that distant January 17th, 1912.

10. The Trail-O Meeting today is marked by the announcement of a voided point, the very first one. The complaint came from Finland and was based on the incorrect placement of the flags. In Trail Orienteering, everything has to be right and, incidentally, there was a tree "out of place". But the negative aspects do not end here. It is considered that the map is not up to a World Championship level, the course setter offered several “bingo” points, as Lauri Kontkanen would call them, and the paralympic athletes had seen their courses very hindered not only by the inadequate assistance of young people without preparation, but also by the poor placement of some points in terms of their visibility. On the second day things were to run much better, but the stain in the Championships, that one, there is no way to make it disappear.

11. Lying behind us the hardships of the first day of course, we have dinner at the table of the Polish. Ágata Ludwiczak is a paralympic athlete who has a complaint. The assistance given to people in wheelchairs, by kids aged 14 and 15 years, was not the best. Of course this was a fantastic experience for the young people, it is obvious that they constituted a resource of unquestionable value to the organization. But if the disadvantage of progressing in a wheelchair is a fact, here it became even more evident. Ágata thinks that they should have participated in the Model Event and, in a wheelchair, they should have done the race pushing each other. The idea is brilliant, and in similar situations, we should put it into practice in Portugal. For Ágata, the ideal is that the youngsters are replaced by the military: Tall, strong, in uniform!


Joaquim Margarido

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lyn West: "A Catalyst to Encourage the Development of Trail Orienteering in Scotland"




It was a matter of luck the presence of Lyn West at the mini-bus that took us to Tentsmuir, to the Model Event. Beside me, in the front seat, the President of the British Orienteering was an interlocutor by excellency, giving an idea of what is being done at the level of the Orienteering in the lands of Her Majesty.


How do you see the present moment of the British Orienteering?

Lyn West (L. W.) - Orienteering is on a turning point. The orienteers are all getting older and we need to attract more young people into our sport, but young people want slightly different things to the older generation. They are not prepared to travel the same distances to get the events, so we need to bring Orienteering events closer to the population. Urban Orienteering is a very good way to doing that. We are now having successful city races. We need to develop Orienteering in parks, to get families involved, because the volunteers that keep the sport going have got to come from the next generation.

And can we see, yet, many people involved in those events?

L. W. - It's starting to improve, but we need to do a lot more work. And we need to focus very much on producing the type of Orienteering that the families, the young people want, rather than just producing the same old events, week after week.

What are you doing with Orienteering in the scholar system? Do you get some kind of support from the British Government?

L. W. - Yes, but the support of the Government is moving away from supporting Orienteering in schools. So, founding for Orienteering from the Government is moving much more towards concentrating particularly on the fourteen to twenty five age group, outside of the educational system. Orienteering has been hugely successful in schools. A very high percentage of schools offer some form of Orienteering. We run a lot of training courses for teachers. But it is getting those children to move from Orienteering in school into the club scene and events outside of the school. The evidence of having so many people exposed to Orienteering at school is that when you talk to young adults, they've often done a bit of Orienteering, they've enjoyed it and they like the idea of trying it again. In particular, if they need a social set up. In the United Kingdom, we don’t have the same club base that a number of European clubs have, so there is no way to meet and we need to create that atmosphere.

Is Orienteering well distributed all over the United Kingdom ore there are some parts of the territory where the sport is not as well developed as you would like it to be?

L. W. - I’m talking very much in terms of England, because founding is channeled through an organization called Sport England and they only found projects in England. Sport Scotland found a number of very successful projects in Scotland. They have slightly different targets for their founding than England, but there’s a lot of very good development work going on here, in Scotland. Wales is very difficult to get any founding from the Welsh parliament and the clubs are trying their best but it's a very small scale. In Northern Ireland there is a lot of support for the development projects. There are a very few orienteers, relatively speaking, but they are doing some very good work to develop and increase participations.

We are now in the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2012. How does the British Orienteering Federation see this event?

L. W. - We are very excited to be holding the World Trail Orienteering Championships. Yesterday, the Opening Ceremony… I thought it was fantastic to see so many people from so many countries here in Scotland. It made me very proud.

How is the British Trail Orienteering going on?

L. W. - Trail Orienteering is mainly confined to England and all the officials, the planner, the controllers, they’re all English. We had to bring expertise from England up to help the Scots. We hope that this will be a catalyst to encourage the development of Trail Orienteering in Scotland.

In 2015 we will have here the World Orienteering Championships, both in Foot-O and in Trail-O. How do you see, at this distance, the event?

L. W. - One of the most exciting days in my life was in France, last year, when the winner was announced. Then, the next day, we started to realize how much work we needed to do. Four years to the event seems a very long time, but we realized it wasn’t. Dave Peel was appointed Event Director, he was the big Director, there was also a committee and they are now putting in place the various groups to do the work to get things done. It will be the best World Championships ever when you come into Scotland, in 2015.

The British Federation gave their support to Brian Porteus, to suite Åke Jacobson as the President of the International Orienteering Federation. Why Brian?

L. W. - Brian Porteus has been the British Orienteering nominated member on Council for a number of years. He is the Vice-Presidente currently and he is standing for election to be President. British Orienteering Federation have nominated him so we very much support his campaign. I think that Brian has a huge amount to offer to the international orienteering community. He is very keen on development of Orienteering throughout the world. He has been very much involved in regional development. Outside of Orienteering, he has huge experience on sports development. It's his business, so he understands the sporting community worldwide. I think he would be able to provide excellent leadership for the International Orienteering Federation. As we move forward, maybe one day we'll achieve our goal at the Olympic Games. We think he would be the best candidate to succeed Åke Jacobson.

I would ask you to make a wish for these World Trail Orienteering Championships.

L. W. - I think my first wish is that we don't get anymore rain (laughs). Apart from that, being serious, I hope that all the competitors, however they perform, enjoy their courses, enjoy the experience, and that we have a very worthy champion stood award the medals at the end of the week. I'm confident that, with the work the organizing team have done, we will achieve that.

Are we going to see you in Portugal, in 2014, during the European Trail Orienteering Championships?

L. W. - I've not been to Portugal yet, it's something that I must correct. I have had a couple of goals of Trail Orienteering and it's very difficult. I was surprised how difficult it was. So, I'm not sure I'll be good enough. But it would be a nice dream.

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, June 14, 2012

WTOC World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012: Diary (III)




June 07. Model Event, a great opportunity to boost the morale after the discouraging results in the TempO World Trophy.


1. Model Event, a great opportunity to boost the morale after the discouraging results in the TempO World Trophy. " United Iberia, in fortune and adversity," would say my friend Roberto Munilla and I could not agree more with him. But, before the trip to the much sought Kinshaldy Picnic Park, an unpleasant grizzly day, but without rain. At least for now!

2. Roberto followed by car directly to the Model Event and his vacancy at the Minibus is occupied by Lyn West. She sits in front of the vehicle, between the driver and a young Japanese. I jump from my place and install myself next to the President of the British Orienteering Federation, after to evacuate the Japanese. Our conversation on the way to Tentsmuir will be recorded. For later transcription... and share!

3. Let's go then to the Model Event. Wind and sea as background. The course has 10 points, complemented by two timed controls. First of all, I confirm what Roberto already told me. Although they are good for Foot Orienteering, our compasses are not suitable for Trail Orienteering. They should have the scale graduated in millimetres. Later I will realize that a good basis on the map is important, also as the extent of the ruler. The larger, the more measured are the "sights" that are taken from them. And to use a loupe like Ivo Tilsjar does, perhaps is not a bad idea at all!

4. I assist Ricardo, helping him in the progression. Where he stops, I stop too. I help him moving from one side to another for him to make the best decision. In the meantime, I'm studying my own map and taking some photos of the points and one or another competitor. At the end of each section, we compare the answers. I explain to him my assurances, expose the reason for my doubts. We disagree on a good pair of them. I recognize I failed control three due to a poor reading of the signs. And had he done good decisions? At the end we will know who is right.

5. Us three - Roberto, Ricardo and I - sitting at the "table of judgments." All in all, I gave four right answers, Roberto six and Ricardo eight. Curiously, we hit all the control points in some very interesting times. Roberto says I am a "forger of diamonds", referring to Ricardo and expressing his admiration for practising this sport for three months only. Eight out of twelve, who knew? Great Ricardo. Thanks to his knowledge, intuition and, most of all, he didn't make it complicated. I am very proud of him, I'm very happy for him. I expect that tomorrow the surprise is even greater!

6. The afternoon is used to know the region a little. We drove straight to St. Andrews, in whose University, with nearly 600 years old, Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, graduated. Besides this phenomenon of popularity, the University of St. Andrews is among the top twenty in the world of Arts and Humanities. Besides the excellent quality of teaching and researching, it has an extremely stimulating academic environment and teachers - many of them true references - that interact and actively participate with the students.

7. A stroll through the centre of St. Andrews takes us to meet a city that moves on an axis between two avenues, whose width softens the buildings austerity. There is also the Cathedral with its wonderful St. Rule's Tower, the Castle, the sandy beaches and the golf courses. Yes, St. Andrews is the home of the Golf, with a first historical reference dating from 1552. Moreover, the Golf is everywhere, at the stores, in the church (where they sell three balls for a pound) and even in the cemetery.

8. It seems that many teams had the same idea as we did. We come across in the streets with the Czech and the Norwegian, we lunch at the restaurant next to the Polish. Restaurant where, incidentally, we ate very well and for a correct price. To join my steak, I had for company a very delicate and feminine wine, a very New World Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon. Roberto is still rolling his head as how I discovered that the wine was... Australian!

9. The return is made along the coast, stopping for short visits to Crail and Anstruther. The afternoon falls and the rain seems to increase its intensity. The forecast talks about storm in southwest England, and it's moving in our direction. The race tomorrow is another increased concern. We are still far from Dundee and the Trail-O Meeting is in twenty minutes. Roberto tries to drive a little faster, but the narrow road does not let him. It's really amazing how Portugal has extraordinary roads when compared with those here. But are not precisely all these excesses that we're paying now? And with interest!

10. We had dinner back at the table of the Danish. And again I gather from Søren Saxthorp a couple of important lessons. He tells me that his wife did the same course as we did, but with different descriptions of the controls. A course made easier thanks to the wiles of the description. How haven't I remember this before? I no longer need to worry about making a course to the Elite and another for beginners. The two courses may be just one, with the same number of points or not. In this case, I must only be careful to mark the number of each station with different colours: Blue for the Elite, yellow for the beginners. Thank you, Søren!

[Check out the photos of the evening in St. Andrews at https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/108054301526873509793/albums/5753786359892685169]

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marit Wiksell: "I've been waiting for this victory"




A bright young athlete named Marit Wiksell was the winner of the TempO World Trophy 2012, last Wednesday, at Camperdown Park (Dundee, Scotland). For the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, she left some ideas in a short interview, sharing some ideas about her brilliant triumph.


You were the winner of TempO World Trophy 2012. What did this victory mean to you?

Marit Wiksell (M. W.) - It is important for my confidence to beat all these older guys and also that I can be on top. I have done very well in TempO in Sweden, but I was on fourth place both on World TempO Trophy 2011 in France and on the European TempO Trophy 2012, earlier this year. I’ve been waiting for this victory and finally I got it!

Where is the secret?

M. W. - I can think very fast and make fast decisions, which is important in TempO. First thing I do it's try to see where the flags are and then try to look for a safe feature, which I search for on the map and relate the position of the flags to that feature.

I know you've practiced, in the early years, Foot Orienteering. Why did you change FootO for TrailO?

M. W. - I think that TrailO it's more fun. I like the maps and the map reading but I don't like running so much. When I was younger and running FootO, I ran to slow since it was more fun to read all the details on the map. That’s why TrailO suits me very good.

Someone told me that you were team mates with Tove Alexandersson and some times you beat her?

M. W. - Yes. It was when I was ten years old (laughs).

TempO or TrailO?

M. W. - I think them booth, really. It's hard to choose one of them, but in TempO you have to think really fast and make faster decisions and in TrailO you can spend much more time to figure out the answer.

How can we get more people for TrailO?

M. W. - I think that is a very hard and important question. We have to get more people to try doing TrailO. I guess a lot a people think that TrailO is only for disabled people but I'm sure that if they try, they'll figure that it's not like that, at all.

When we look at the podium at the World TempO Trophy 2012 and we see you, Guido and Martin, we can see that, in fact, this is also a sport for youngsters, don't you think?

M. W. - Yes, it is. It's important to show that some young people as us, do well in TrailO.

Would you like to make a wish for this WTOC 2012?

M. W. - Of course, I want a medal!


Joaquim Margarido

WTOC World Trail Orienteering Championships 2012: Youngsters dominated TempO World Trophy



Camperdown Park, one of the most popular green spaces by the people of Dundee, received the TempO World Trophy 2012. Integrated in the program of the World Trail Orienteering Championships, the event took place under very unpleasant weather conditions, with the rain and the wind being two of the biggest players of the day. In the end, Marit Wiksell was the winner, followed by two other young athletes, Guido Michelotti and Martin Jullum.


Rain, wind and low temperature marked the TempO World Trophy. Considered the “Sprint” of the Trail Orienteering, the TempO had the last opportunity to show itself in an unofficial way, since the next World Championships in Vuokati (Finland) will have the TempO as an official discipline and will set the first World Champion of its history.

Spread over eight stations along a circular path, with three questions per station, the TempO World Trophy put to the focus into the technical quality of the athletes, in the capacity of interpretation of the terrains, but especially in their fast decisions. After all, everything is played in the sum of times, with each wrong answer penalizing 30 seconds. Therefore, speed and precision are the key for achieving the best result.


Marit Wiksell, the special one

After the 4th place in Falun, in the recent European Trail Orienteering Championships ETOC 2012, Marit Wiksell (Sweden) was a brilliant winner with a total of 220.5 seconds and two wrong questions. With just a wrong question, but with more 43 seconds spent in the total of the 24 questions, the Italian Guido Michelotti tipped with the second place, while the Norwegian Martin Jullum was third, 47.5 seconds away from the winner. The Czech Tomáš Leštínský has managed to hit all the issues, but ended up being penalized for the time spent in each of the decisions, staying just ten seconds away from the podium. On the end of the table, among the 62 participants, we can see Joaquim Margarido with 12 correct answers and a total of 818.5 seconds in the 58th position, while Ricardo Pinto was ranked 61th with 10 correct answers and 909.5 seconds.

The Awards Ceremony took place in the evening, during the Opening Ceremony of the World Trail Orienteering Championships. One of the biggest moments of these Championships was attended by the Lord Provost of Dundee, Cllr Bob Duncan, Brian Porteus, Vice-President of the International Orienteering Federation, Lyn West, President of the British Orienteering Federation, and Donald Grassie, President of the Scottish Orienteering Association.

Results and other informations at http://www.scottish-orienteering.org/wtoc2012/tempo

[You can see here the photos of the TempO World Trophy and the Opening Ceremony]



Joaquim Margarido