Monday, May 13, 2013

Me and my School - Angelika Maciejewska: "I run; therefore I am!"

Me and my school” intend to be a regular feature in the Portuguese Orienteering Blog. Drawsko Pomorskie, in northwestern Poland, is the starting point of our first visit, guided by Angelika Maciejewska, double gold medallist in France, at EYOC 2012, and the winner of the Long Distance race in the last World School Orienteering Championships ISF, in Algarve.

Who is Angelika Maciejewska?

Angelika Maciejewska (A. M.) - My name is Angelika Maciejewska. I was born on 16th January 1996 in Wałcz. I have two great sisters, dear parents... and (I cannot forget), at home, when I'm studying, with me is my cat. And in the garden jumps a nice rabbit. :) I live in Drawsko Pomorskie but my club, UKS Traper, is located in Złocieniec, a small town near Drawsko Pomorskie. I spent my childhood in Złocieniec. I'm interested in science and fashion. I try to do many things... I'm always laughing, so I'll have a lot of great stories to tell to my grandkids about my life. :) Often after races I read biology, which is my favourite subject at school. :) Sometimes, me and my friends imagine and invent many different designs for clothes. That's a lot of fun! I don't have a favourite music group or singer. The main thing is this: if the song has a nice rhythm, then I like it. So... I like Pop and, sometimes, Rap. Right now, my favourite song is “Cisza”, which was created by Kamil Bednarek. My favourite movie is “PS: I love you” and “Jutro pójdziemy do kina”. Like almost every girl, I enjoy romantic comedies. :) Generally I like different movies. Some of my favourite movies are also war movies or connected with History... I just don’t like Science Fiction. I think that it's unrealistic and simply boring. I like all food, but I love vegetables and fish. Black olives, rice and lots of salads are welcome to my plate. :) ... and sweets? Yummy! I can eat a big bar of chocolate with my best friends. I always say that “I will be sweet and never fat”. :)

Would you like to present your school?

A. M. - My city isn’t large and my school as well. I go to ZSP in Drawsko Pomorskie. I’m in biological-chemical class. I have 5 boys and 23 girls in my class. My teacher is Mrs. Sylwia Tomaszewska. She is a Chemistry teacher. Unfortunately, orienteering isn't a popular discipline in the academic life but all teachers and friends assist me in my career. Most of students believe that it isn’t a sport... They say: orienteering is just for fun! They don’t know how extreme this sport is, I think. One day, a lady said: “Orienteering is a sport for intelligent people.” :) I really like this definition.

How did you meet Orienteering?

A. M. - I started to train orienteering in 2005. When I ran the relay Youngsters Polish Championships (this was my first relay in category W10), I found only two controls (and there were eight controls). It was terrible! Then my first teacher said: ”You're weak and you should change of sport. You'll never be a good runner”. But, luckily, my coach Aleksander Burzyński didn’t agree to it. I started to train very hard... So, my adventure in orienteering has begun. All thanks to my best trainer around the world, Aleksander Burzyński! :)

Is it important in your development as an orienteer, the relation between you and your school?

A. M. - My school secures very good conditions to training. When I am on the sports camp or in a competition, the school's headmaster is very lenient with me. This is great because I have the chance to combine orienteering and studies. My classmates were the ones who helped me to recover from my arrears. I never forget that I am primarily a student and learning is important too. :)

When did you decided to take Orienteering seriously?

A. M. - I decided to take orienteering seriously when I had a lot of problems in my life. Then I wanted to prove to other people that I can be successful. Orienteering gives me the strength... How Haruki Murakami wrote: "I run; therefore I am”.

Looking at your curriculum, we can see, at least, four gold medals in international competitions, two at the ISF World School Sport Orienteering Championships (Primiero and Algarve) and another two in France, during the last EYOC. Can you tell me what these titles meant to you?

A. M. - These titles meant that I am following a good route. These medals confirm my sentence that "my coach is the best on the world". I'm optimistic and positive looking on the past... And, of course, I believe in the same for the future.

Talking about the last one, in Portugal, I would like to know your opinion about the competition.

A. M. - In general, the competition was very good for me. The organization was solid. The sun, high temperature and high hills - I love to run in these conditions. I think the maps were really great in a technical way. It is true that, after the Long Distance race, I spent four hours taking the spikes of my legs! But it was worth it :) My accommodation was in a great place because I could get to the sea in a few minutes. Thank you for the great time!

About the future, what do you expect to be?

A. M. - I think that orienteering is always half of my life. Health is very important in the life of every athlete. After EYOC I had a lot of injuries. Fortunately, I got back to training. Now I train and I'm happy with every step... at last I love it! If my health is good, I look forward to a very positive future as a professional orienteer. So, my main goal is to combine sport with education and the future with family.

Would you leave a message for those who always wanted to know about Orienteering, but are afraid to ask?

A. M. - Honestly? Since the last year, I'm not afraid to run in the forest. Yes, it's true that this is an extreme sport, but the memories and impressions after the races are amazing. Orienteering is more fun and everyone should try this!

Angelika Maciejewska in brief


  • The best definition of Orienteering is... Your thought must be as fast as your legs!
  • To practice it you just need... a great coach (my coach, for example :), great ambition and the will to fight
  • The major difficulty is... concentration
  • Essential in my bag is... compass, SI Card and orienteering shoes (instead of lipstick, I prefer to wear a compass in my handbag because I never know when there will be an occasion for running :)
  • An extraordinary moment of joy was... my first medal in life (for small competitions in Poland)
  • I'm a big fan of... Thierry Gueorgiou (I was hoping to see him on the EYOC in France, but he wasn’t there) and Justyna Kowalczyk (like her, I love plushies-donkeys... because they are stubborn. I use this attribute in pursuit of the goal:)
  • My major goal in the future is... a gold medal at the World Orienteering Championship (a lot of work is waiting for me :)

and my school

  • I see my teachers as... friends who help me in different situations
  • My colleagues say that I am... helpful and creative
  • To combine study with sport is... hmmm…quite hard. Sometimes I sleep four hours a day, but in some cases it's worth it :)
  • I look to the world... through rose-coloured spectacles. I'm very optimistic
  • The biggest social problem... maybe the lack of acceptance among students (?) Fortunately I don’t see this problem in my class
  • The personality I admire the most is... my coach Aleksander Burzyński ! :)
  • In the desert island, I just needed... my (the best) coach... a piece of paper and a pen to draw a map of the island :)

Joaquim Margarido

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