By winning the Middle Distance's courses, Emily Benham and Valerii Glukhov were the biggest protagonists of the second day of the European MTB orienteering Championships 2013. Portugal was also big today, with Davide Machado and Carlos Simões registering top-level results.
Portugal did a great presence on the second day of the European MTB orienteering Championships in Zamosc, Poland. Today's program consisted on a Middle Distance race, in Panska Dolina's map, in forest terrains with good road network, moderately hill and muddy here and there, with 17.6 km to M21 Class and 14,1 km to W21 Class.
João Ferreira was the first portuguese to start and the final result was something less than expected, standing in 40th place among 61 athletes, with a time of 71:41. Daniel Marques, the National Technical Director, said that “João [Ferreira] was unlucky, entered baddly on the map and losing more than two minutes for the first control and at the middle of the race had a string of fatal errors in a particularly technical route.” Asserting that João Ferreira “is on a good shape”, Marques don't hesitate in stating that “João will redeem himself from this less positive day to make a contribution to the team tomorrow in the Relay race and then doing his best on the Long Distance.”
To make history
Carlos Simões should be particularly pleased with his performance, especially for someone who brought modest expectations, without putting the bar too high but with “the goal of entering the first third of the table at one race”. Well, this was the race and the result was a fantastic 14th place with a time of 58:18 and less than one minute from the top-10. A record that leads Daniel Marques stated that it was “a world-class results and that comes reward the dedication of this veteran athlete to the sport.” In a difficult terrain, Marques reveals that “Carlos had the company of the Lithuanian Petras Andrasiunas and Regimantas Kavaliauskas during a large part of the race, circumstances which do not affect his performance and he could managed the effort very well, after a regular race that led to an excellent result.” In conclusion, Daniel Marques says that “the aim of the first third of the table was reached with tranquility.”
Finally Davide Machado, the last portuguese athlete to start today and who, on arrival, recorded the 7th fastest time among all, with 53:55 and more 4:02 than the winner, the Russian Valerii Glukhov. One historical result for the portuguese MTB orienteering in the European Championships as the best ever achieved in this important competition. On the performance of Davide Machado, Daniel Marques stated that “it was a race at his level, with two or three controls where he lost some time, but always keeping the concentration and enforcing a very strong pace from the start until the finish.”
On his last words, Daniel Marques reveals "satisfaction with the behavior and performance of the team, even more that knowing there is still much European to do and we all are committed to continue giving our best.” Tomorrow, in the Relay, Portugal will present the following order of athletes: João Ferreira (1st leg); Carlos Simões (2nd leg); Davide Machado (3rd leg). The goal, Daniel Marques does not hide, “is to make history and reach the 6th position.”
“It's been a long time to wait for a gold”
With a high level performance, the Russian Valerii Glukhov was the big winner of the men's competition, recording the time of 49:53. Ranked 11th in the world, Glukhov rises for the first time the podium of a major international competition and then with a gold medal on his chest. The Finn Pekka Niemi was second with more 1:38 than Glukhov, while the 3rd and 4th positions went to athletes from Czech Republic, Jiri Hradil and Marek Pospisek, 1:53 and 2:22 over the winner, respectively. The World Champion of Middle Distance in title, the Finnish Samuli Saarela, settled in the 13th position. At W21 Class, the British Emily Benham was absolutely unstoppable, hitting the Competition by a comfortable margin. On arrival, the athlete would register a time of 47:43, against 49:56 of the Swedish Cecilia Thomasson and 51:07 of the Finnish Ingrid Stengard, the former European Champion of Middle Distance and Vice-World Champion in the same distance.
To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Emily Benham did not hide his satisfaction: “I had a really great race. It was almost perfect. I lost 30 seconds in the muddy section in the middle of the long route to the 4th control, and I stopped twice in the technical section to confirm my place. But these stops only lost two seconds. I knew to have a good race I had to be really accurate in the last part of the course. Not try anything special, just plan ahead, know where to go at the next junction and find the controls.” As the conduct of the race, Emily remember: “I caught Scaravonati early in the course, and it was reassuring to know she was behind, hopefully also knowing where we were going! When I later caught Kaminska and Barlet I knew it was a great race, but I couldn't let it distract me. Instead I spent more time looking at the map to make sure I maintained focus. I had a small miss on the path to the last control, but I straight away knew the direction was wrong, so cut back to path I needed. I must have taken the long shortcut as I came out at the last control.” And the last – and very emotional! – words: “To be honest, I can't believe its the gold today. I had a great race and kept focused all the way, but there's usually someone faster! It's been a long time to wait for a gold, so I'm really pleased with the result. To be 2 mins 19 clear of 2nd and more than 3 mins ahead of 3rd is an added bonus!!”
[Photo: Daniel Marques]