Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Me and my School - Dane Blomquist: " I have met my best friends orienteering, I have spent the best times of my life orienteering (...)"

For the second moment of the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's new feature, we travel to England to meet Dane Blomquist. Let's see what stories he has to tell us about him and his school.

Who is Dane Blomquist?

Dane Blomquist (D. B.) - Hello, my name is Dane Blomquist. I was born in Rinteln, Germany on the 2nd October 1996 as my dad worked for the British army in Germany. My family and I moved to England a year later and we moved around until we settled in a town called Frimley close to Guildford where the World Cup 2005 was staged. My family consists of me, my two sisters, who sadly do not orienteer anymore, my mother who also does not orienteer but will support me through thick and thin, my dad who first introduced me to the sport and has for many years taken me to events and still enjoys competing as well and my dog Jasper who sleeps on my bed every night. My interests are obviously orienteering and running but I also like to play football now and again. Out of sport I like to go out with my friends. My favourite music is Indie Pop and my favourite artists are Miike Snow and MGMT. I love watching movies, especially action films or thrillers, and my favourite at the moment is “Gangster Squad”. However I find that if I am anywhere near a TV when a good movie is on I’ll have to sit down and watch it. My favourite type of food is Italian.

Would you like to present your School?

D. B. - I attend Tomlinscote School and 6th Form College in Frimley; this is my last year at the school before moving up to the 6th form college. My school specialises in modern foreign language but also has a great sports department. I study lots of different subjects at the moment but my favourite has always been Geography. Like most schools in Great Britain, my school focuses on football, athletics and rugby however we are one of the few to have a small orienteering team. Most people in my school have to do orienteering in PE and do not like going out in the winter cold therefore they do not find Orienteering very fun and most complain it is not a real sport just a ‘treasure hunt’. Through me though my friends can see that orienteering is a real sport and do enjoy supporting me. I believe that orienteering is one of the best sports around and I hope that a larger number of people can come to realise this in the future. However I have hope when a random teacher speaks to me after the World Schools Championships and says ‘I find Orienteering to be better than running because it involves the mind as well as the legs’ I didn’t even know that he knew what orienteering was.

How did you meet Orienteering?

D. B. - My dad got me and the rest of my family into Orienteering, he started in the army. I can always remember Orienteering or being at an Orienteering event when I was young. Walking around the string course with my parents or cheering my family in. My first course alone was on my local area, I remember getting totally lost and then my sister ‘helping’ me out but actually sending me in completely the wrong direction.

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

D. B. - My school has always taken an active role in sporting me. They have funded my trips to the World Schools Championships and have always let me have the time off school even if they did not agree with it.

When did you decided to take Orienteering seriously?

D. B. - I started taking orienteering seriously around 4 years ago when I had my first opportunity to race for England, before I played football and ran for an athletics club while attending orienteering events now and again but not taking them seriously. I started working with my coach Colin Dickson 3 years ago and he has been key to my development in Orienteering and as a person. Since then I have progressed further and further and my enjoyment of the sport has risen as well.

What opportunities Orienteering brought to you until now?

D. B. - Orienteering has brought me a wealth of opportunities! I have met my best friends orienteering, I have spent the best times of my life orienteering, I have been able to travel around the world and meet so many different people.

Looking to your curriculum, we can see the gold medal in the Middle Distance of the ISF World School Sport Orienteering Championships 2013 (Algarve). Did you expect the title?

D. B. - I felt in good shape entering into the competition and I love orienteering on areas like the Middle Distance was held on but I was not expecting to get onto the podium let alone win. So I am extremely happy to win the title. It’s great to have my first gold medal in an international competition.

Talking about Portugal, I would like to know your opinion about the competition and how important can be an event like this in the young orienteers' life.

D. B. - The event was a great experience and I loved every second of it. I’d like to thank everyone involved as the event was a great success, it was planned extremely well and I loved having the local community helping out, our guides were extremely helpful and they got on really well with the whole team. The Hotel where we stayed was great and I loved being so close to the beach plus having the pool to relax in. I believe these competitions are extremely important in the development of the young orienteers’ life it’s something to aim for, work for and enjoy. These competitions are the roots for champions to grow from.

About the future, what do you expect to be?

D. B. - I have a lot of plans for the future and there is a lot of things that I would like to do. I want to keep on progressing as an orienteer and keep my enjoyment in the sport. My long term goal is to one day be the World Champion. Away from sport I would like to go to University and see where life takes me from there.

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

D. B. - Don’t get me wrong orienteering is a challenging sport both physically and mentally. However it is a sport for everyone, it doesn’t matter about age, gender or capability. Once you get into it all that matters is that you have a map in your hands and a control to be heading for, be it the first control at your local event or the last control at the World Championships.

Dane Blomquist in brief


  • The best definition to Orienteering is... a sport combining navigational and physical challenges.
  • To practice it, you just need... a compass and a lot of determination.
  • The major difficulty is... your legs can carry you but your mind might not be able to catch up.
  • Essential in my bag is... my lucky necklace and all my other orienteering equipment.
  • An extraordinary moment of joy was... finding that one control you have been trying to find for the last 10 minutes - don’t deny it, we’ve all done it!
  • I'm a big fan of... Thierry Gueorgiou I have met him before and his autograph is on my wall but my nationally I am a fan of Yvette Baker.
  • My major goal in the future is... to become the World Champion!

and my school

  • My school is... a lively place.
  • I see my teachers as... interesting.
  • My colleagues say that I am... loud.
  • To combine study with sport is... difficult, a balance has to be found.
  • I look into the world like... it’s my oyster.
  • The biggest social problem is... discrimination.
  • The personality I admire the most is... my dad.
  • In the desert island, I just needed... Joe Woodley and Will Rigg.

[Photo: World Schools Championship Orienteering,]

Joaquim Margarido

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