Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli, of course!

Ending a very well succed campaign, Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli did what they do best: to win! They were the big winners of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2013, fully demonstrating why they are the best orienteers ever.

Bathed by the light of a glorious sun, the fabulous Arena of POM 2013 in Cidral (Idanha-a-Nova), was even more lively and bustling as ever. After all, the end of the biggest Foot-Orienteering event in Portugal was fast approaching to the end and all the participants, totaling over 1600, wanted to conclude on the best way. As the days progressed, the strength were running out, but everyone knew that the time of the big decisions had come.

The Women Elite’s race opened the final day of the Portugal O’ Meeting this year, with Simone Niggli starting in the chasing start as the first competitor on the Long Distance. Her lead of 8:45 before her most direct opponent, Annika Billstam, was a huge one. In the end, Simone Niggli would even extend her lead, being the fastest of all the participants with a time of 1:06:22 and winning for the fifth time (fourth consecutive) the Portugal O ‘Meeting. Next finishers were Annika Billstam and Amélie Chataing, with over 11:37 and 12:48, respectively, after the winner.

Afterwards, Simone Niggli didn’t hide her satisfaction: “I’m really happy. The four races were very good and techical. Today I made one mistake, otherwise the race was very good, I performed well.” When asked which day she liked the most, Simone replied: “Actually I liked most yesterday because it was also the most important race. Today it was quite a touristic race because you went on the top of the hills and I could also appreciate the views.” But the season is only just starting and Simone Niggli has a long way to go to Vuokatti, Finland, to the World Championships: “I will continue with my preparations, since the important races are far in the season, but I can say that my next major goal will be the Nordic Orienteering Tour.”

“This is my place!”

In the Super-Elite Class, Thierry Gueorgiou was, as Simone Niggli, a winner more than anticipated. The French was again the best in the race, finishing with a time of 1:12:15. Philippe Adamski was the runner-up in the race, with just over 45 seconds after his countryman and teammate, managing to pass the Swede Albin Ridefelt in the final standings and reach the second step on the podium. Ridefelt was ranked third after losing 4:57 today to Thierry Gueorgiou.

“Portugal O’ Meeting it’s always a very high standards and you know that you’ll never be disappointed”, Thierry Gueorgiou said, and added: “For me, POM is also a check point, breaking the winter in two parts. I’ve been doing quite a lot of good trainings before and I hope to do the same after. It’s a way to get a little bit more in competition mood.”  Asked which moment marked this POM 2013, the athlete didn’t even need to think: “The moment I like the most is always the same. When you come to the competition arena and you discover such fantastic hills, you already know that it will be a fantastic day for orienteering. It was the same in Monsanto, when you see the villlage with the castle on the top, then you know that it will be very special. When you’re really passionate and you like this kind of challenges, you stop the car in the arena, you look around and you say to yourself: This is my place!”

Overall Results Day 4 (Times Elite)

1º Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 3:25:17
2º Philippe Adamski (Kalevan Rasti) 3:34:48
3º Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 3:36:46
4º Tue Lassen (Vaajakosken Terä) 3:45:26
5º Milos Nykodym (Kristiansand OK) 3:47:51
6º Doug Tullie (TUME) 3:48:28
7º Matthias Kyburz (Swiss Team) 3:49:35
8º Alexey Sidorov (AngA) 3:49:43
9º Andreu Blanes (Colivenc) 3:52:15
10º Hector Haines (Individual GBR) 3:52:23

1º Simone Niggli (Swiss Team) 3:13:40
2º Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 3:25:17
3º Amélie Chataing (Kalevan Rasti) 3:26:28
4º Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) 3:26:50
5º Celine Dodin (HVO) 3:31:28
6º Svetlana Mironova (Hellas) 3:33:55
7º Emily Kemp (Individual CAN) 3:36:02
8º Riina Kuuselo (Individual FIN) 3:37:22
9º Anastasia Tikhonova (MS Parma) 3:38:59
10º Sofia Haajanen (Individual FIN) 3:44:30

Joaquim Margarido

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