Friday, July 19, 2013

WTOC 2013: Portuguese on high wheel

For the second time in its history, Portugal has attended the World Trail Orienteering Championships. Despite the modesty of the results, the four athletes present in Vuokatti showed some truly interesting notes that allow to design a bright future in this particular discipline.

From July 7th to 14th took place in Vuokatti, Finland, the 10th edition of the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2013. Held in parallel with the World Orienteering Championship, the Precision event was attended by 92 athletes, allocated on Open and Paralympic Classes, together representing 19 countries. After the premiere in 2012, at the World Champs in Dundee (Scotland, UK), Portugal repeated its presence in the largest world exhibition of Precision Orienteering by aligning two athletes in the Open Class - Alexandre Reis and Joaquim Margarido - and two in Paralympic Class - Diana Coelho and Ricardo Pinto.

The courses took place in forest terrains, with a varied cutout relief, excellent visibility and depth of field, calling for a thorough reading of the contour lines and an overview the most accurate as possible. With sections “one way” involving an assessment of anticipated problems, "traps" to peek at every turn and the tiniest details acquiring an unusual importance at the decision moment, the competition proved to a need unique, appealing to the technical qualities of the participants, their timing and their maximum concentration.

Portuguese, one by one

It was under this premise that portuguese athletes have evolved over two days of competition for a total of 45 points, including six timed controls. "Scoring twice" its presence in the World Championships, Joaquim Margarido and Ricardo Pinto reached percentages above what they had achieved a year ago, in Scotland, the first to reach a total of 24 points (twelve on each days), which earned him the final 51st place in the Open Class. Ricardo Pinto concluded its participation in Paralympic Class in the 31st place with an amount of 20 points. Failure to properly manage the time of race eventually proved fatal to Joaquim Margarido. The athlete recorded on both days an excellent early test, but that was diluting the rapid flow of time to finish somewhat bleak, especially on the second day. Already Ricardo Pinto corrected on the best way a less positive entry in the Championships, achieving a motivating performance on the last day.

Newcomers in the PreO high wheels, Alexandre Reis and Diana Coelho eventually surpass the expectations. As Ricardo Pinto, Diana Coelho also demonstrated an extraordinary evolution from the first to the second day, which allowed her to skip a few holes on the table to settle in 32nd place in Paralympic Class, with 16 points total. As for Alexandre Reis, turned out to be a special case in the context of the Portuguese participation, since he is the responsible for mapping and course setting of the next European Trail Orienteering Championships, to be held in Palmela (Portugal), in April next year. So it was in dual quality as observer and athlete that he was in Vuokatti, demonstrating since the beginning a technical strong "muscle" and an innate talent for Precision Orienteering. The 18 points by the end of the first day speak for itselves, particularly given that were achieved in impressive time of just over one hour. The athlete would again be identical provision in the decisive day, finishing in 34th place with a total of 34 points. Portugal also had the opportunity to have a presence in the team competition, finishing in 14th place with a total of 42 points and leaving behind only Hungary with 39 points.

TempO of our discontent

The final day of competition was voted the "timed" variant designated TempO, a kind of "PreO Sprint" and consecrated its first World Champions ever. With the competition restricted to three athletes per country and Alexandre Reis racing "out", was under Joaquim Margarido and Ricardo Pinto that fell the responsibility of representing Portugal in this particular competition. The Portuguese were unable to overcome the qualifying series, finishing on 48th and 52nd position, respectively. In a competitive model identical to the World TempO Trophy 2012 (eight seasons with three problems each), Ricardo Pinto finished with a score of 763.5 sec (8 correct answers). Despite having hit two more problems than his teammate, Joaquim Margarido failed to do better than 898.5 seconds since he was too slow making the decisions.

Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic shared between them the gold. Finland finally take advantage in the final accounts, with Jari Turto winning the PreO competition and Pinja Mäkinen getting better in TempO. The Czech Jana Kostova was the winner of the PreO competition in Paralympic Class, while Sweden (Martin Fredholm, Stig Gerdtman and Michael Johansson) snatched the gold in the team competition. Croatia and Denmark also reached the medals, in the first case thanks to silver in the team competition and in the second case the mercy of the bronze won both individual (Søren Saxtorph, Paralympic Class), and collectively.

Joaquim Margarido

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