At 21, Albin Ridefelt is already a star rising in the dome of world orienteering. Today we back off two months in time, reliving the conversation held in the Portugal O' Meeting's aftermath. Past, present and future summed in three words: work, talent and ambition!
How do you see your third place overall at the Portugal O' Meeting 2013?
Albin Ridefelt (A. R.) - I'm really satisfied. Even though I've made some mistakes, it was a pretty good competition. In the last day my legs were really tired, I couldn't keep up the way to speed and Philippe [Adamsky] was stronger than me.
And what about the event?
A. R. - The Portugal O' Meeting is a great event, with good courses and really good maps. It's always fun to come down from Sweden, where is cold, and run these great terrains with technical orienteering. It's the perfect way to start the season.
Was it your first time at the Portugal O' Meeting?
A. R. - I was also here last year, but I was far down in the results. I know, since I came in the last year, that it's a very good competition and I felt that I had to go this year too. For me, Portugal O' Meeting is a very good way to go down and get some good trainings at the start of the season and getting into the technical flow.
Did you expect to do such good races here?
A. R. - No, I didn't. I knew that I had done a really good winter training so far, but I couldn't expect that I would be so high up with those very good guys. I'm really satisfied.
For those that don't know who is Albin Riedefelt, please tell me, who are you, Albin?
A. R. - I'm still pretty young, I'm from Uppsala, in Sweden... yeah (I don't know)... I have run some competitions for Sweden, with some pretty good results, but I think – hopefully – you'll get to know me better in the future (laughs).
At what age did you start doing orienteering?
A. R. - I started very early. In the beginning I was more of a football and some other sports guy, but my father was an orienteer and finally I became an orienteer too, and I'm really satisfied with that choice.
When did you discover that you wanted to be a top elite runner?
A. R. - Maybe when I was 15 years old and I went to the Orienteering High School and that's when my real training started, I must say.
Do you have an idol in this sport?
A. R. - Yes, in the beginning it was an athlete from my club, Mats Tröeng, a very good runner. But I also like Thierry [Guergiou], I'm watching him and he always inspires me. These are the two biggest inspirations for me.
What does Thierry have that you don't?
A. R. - I think that he is faster than me. And, of course, he is very good technically. I believe that I'm not so far from him in the technical way, but I need to work my speed, definitely.
After the Portugal O' Meeting, what have you done?
A. R. – I’ve been to some more training camps in southern Europe, but mostly tried to do good basic training at home in Uppsala.
A. R. – Unfortunately there are still quite much snow in Sweden with a lot of cancelled competitions, now I just hope for some warmer weather and the snow to melt. My main focus now is 10Mila and the Silva League-series which takes place in april-may here in Sweden.
When are we going to see you in IOF World Ranking's top-10?
A. R. - Well, I don't know. My dream goal is to run the WOC this year, in Finland, but it will be hard to get a place in the Swedish box. In three years, we'll have the WOC in Sweden and I can see there my long term goal. Maybe at that time.
But in the meanwhile we'll have Finland... and a medal... (!?)
A. R. - Ooooh... a medal!... To get a medal, that will be very hard. In a couple of years, maybe.