North, South, East, West. From tomorrow and over four intense and stressful days, the way of 1665 athletes from 28 countries ends at Idanha-a-Nova, in “raiana” region, close to the border with Spain. It's the Portugal O 'Meeting 2013, unavoidable event of the Foot-O's winter season, meeting point of the best world specialists.
The Portugal O 'Meeting 2013 is arriving. When the clock marks 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, the athletes will begin to flow towards the forest, opening the first of four days of competition with a Long Distance race. After that, it's a whole program with so much exciting as absorbent, with two Middle Distances (one of them, at the third day, counting for the world ranking), two urban Sprints and one stage of Trail Orienteering. Everything will end like it starts, with a decisive Long Distance race that will allow to point, finally, the big winners of this 18th edition of the Portugal O 'Meeting.
In the female sector, the Swiss Simone Niggli gathers all the favoritism. The athlete waived the stages of the opening round of the World Cup 2013, which took place in New Zealand, starting her season in Portugal at an event “which always promises high-competitions and great terrain”, she says. After the victories at the POM 2002, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the best athlete of all times prepares to reach the fifth victory at the event, but she must count with strong opposition from names like the Swedish Annika Billstam, the Danish Ida Bobach, the French Amélie Chataing or the Finnish Sofia Haajanen.
In the Men Elite class, it seems that the fight will be much more intense, with the Swiss Matthias Kyburz, the Norwegian Olav Lundanes and the French Thierry Gueorgiou to make the main attentions fall down upon them. Lundanes performed very well in New Zealand and it seems that he should start from the 'pole position', but he will run only two of four races and he's automatically away from the victory overall. Kyburz needs to show that he isn't only an exceptional sprinter and Gueorgiou wants to prove that the bad times that moved him away from the fight to the European and World titles in last year are definitely outdated. But there are also names like the French Philippe Adamski, the Bulgarian Kiil Nikolov or the Russians Dmitry Tsvetkov and Valentin Novikov, among a few others, and a surprise can happen.
A word also for the organization of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2013, which will be sign for ADFA. Regarding to the previous years, the event record a slight break of participation, which Mario Duarte, the Event Director, relates to “the difficult economic situation and the fact that the government has withdrawn the holiday on Tuesday of Carnival”. This responsible reminds that “it would be enough to attend the same number of Portuguese that POM had in the last year to have no breaks. It's as simple as that!” But with more or less athletes, the event will provide some major technical challenges in very beautiful terrains, with Monsanto, “the most Portuguese village in Portugal”, for background. Which raises a desire that Mario Duarte summarizes in one word: "Enjoy!"
From today and until the next 12th February, all the attentions focused in Idanha-a-Nova. Everything to check at http://www.pom.pt/en/.