Monday, September 09, 2013

Fiona Bunn: "I couldn't imagine my life without orienteering!"

Who could suppose that behind a so delicate figure, stood a great champion. That's what Fiona Bunn showed at the ISF World School Orienteering Championships 2013 where, after a demoralizing start, knew to turn around and rip up the tastiest title of her career so far. Let us find out a little more about her.

Who is Fiona Bunn?

Fiona Bunn (F. B.) - I am 14 years old and I live in Abingdon, a town in the south of England near Oxford. Apart from orienteering, I also like to do cross country, athletics, gymnastics and play the piano. I don't have a specific favourite song, but I like most pop (as long as it isn't Justin Bieber or One Direction!) and I like to play piano songs by Ludovico Einaudi because they are so relaxing and sound amazing!

Would you like to present your school?

F. B. - I go to St Helens and St Katharines school in Abingdon which is a girls school. I often find it difficult to combine academic work with orienteering and athletics as I am so busy every weekend with races and training but somehow it works - I just don't get much time to relax! Everyone at school is supportive of orienteering, and they always ask me questions about what it is because they want to know more about it, but some people don't think it is a real sport! Now I have won the World Schools this year though, they respect it more as an international sport.

How did you meet Orienteering?

F. B. - I first started Orienteering when I was very young because both of my parents orienteer. I used to really enjoy the "string course" and sometimes went round with my teddy bear when I was younger! I did my first proper course when I was about 5 with my mum following me round to make sure I didn't get lost, and it developed from there.

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

F. B. - My primary school didn't really make any difference to my orienteering, my parents made the main difference- making sure that I enjoyed being outside from an early age and that has been the driving force behind my development. However in recent years I would like to thank my school for letting me take time off for competitions and being so enthusiastic about my achievements.

When did you decided to take Orienteering seriously?

F. B. - I started to take orienteering seriously when I joined the SCOA junior squad ( South Central Orienteering Assosciation) and I saw how the older athletes trained and what they had achieved, and that set me a target to aspire to. I have also benefited from the Lagganlia training camp which has taught me about how to train to a high standard.

What opportunities Orienteering brought to you until now?

F. B. - Orienteering has made a huge difference to my life. I have travelled all over the country to events and even this year been abroad to Portugal for the World Schools championships which was one of the highlights of my career as I met so many athletes from other countries and cultures, and made good friends with others from England. I have made many friends with similar interests to me as orienteering events are very social and you meet loads of new friends. I couldn't imagine my life without orienteering!

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

F. B. - At the ISF World Schools Championships, I was aiming for a top 6 finish on at least one of the days. It was my first international orienteering event, I didn't know what standard everyone would be, I hoped to be first English finisher and I had competed against people from Scotland, but I had never competed against anyone else before. I was disappointed to make a huge mistake on the Middle Distance, and I cracked under the pressure of competing in an unfamiliar environment, but I was very pleased that I managed to learn from my mistakes and come back to win the Long distance. I knew I was capable after seeing who made the podium on the Middle distance, but certainly surprised to win by over three minutes! It was the best feeling in the world to win and to stand on the podium and I am so proud that I managed to overcome my difficulties on the Middle distance and bounce back for the next 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.

F. B. - I LOVED Portugal; I thought it was very well organised and had such a lovely atmosphere. I liked the way the event was focused on the social and cultural side as well as the actual competition as it made it a much more interesting experience. I think that the World Schools competition makes a big impact on a young orienteer and has certainly changed my life, it was an unforgettable experience and great for a first international competition as it is more relaxed. It has certainly inspired me for the future!

About the future, what do you expect to be, both professionally and orienteer?

F. B. - When I am older, my ambition is to win the World Championships! That is a long way off now, and in the meantime I would like to compete for England/Great Britain again, and gain more experience at orienteering so I stop making mistakes. For a job, I don't know yet. I am still young, but I think I would like something to do with science and maybe related to sport, like a Sport Scientist or a Physiotherapist

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

F. B. - I would say, just try it out! That will show you exactly what it is, and it is a fun experience that anyone can try, it is suitable for anyone, just take it at your own pace, and develop from there!

Fiona Bunn in brief

  • Best definition of orienteering is... an individual challenging sport like a cross country race with a map
  • To practice it, you just need... determination to succeed and a compass
  • The major difficulty is... don't get carried away and run faster than you can navigate
  • Essential in my bag is... compass, shoes, water, socks
  • An extraordinary moment of joy was... at the World Schools on the podium
  • I'm a big fan of...Thierry Gueorgiou and Fionnuala Britton (the cross country european champion in 2011 and 2012)
  • My major goal in the future is... to be World Champion! (which should be everyone's aim!)

and my school
  • My school is... interesting
  • I see my teachers as... people who want the best for us
  • My colleagues say that I am... lively
  • To combine study with sport is... not very relaxing
  • I look into the world like... yolo! Treat every day like your last, life is an adventure
  • The biggest social problem... greed (leads others to poverty)
  • The personality I admire the most is... my granddad, he is so supportive of everyone and I love him
  • In the desert island, I just needed...a trampoline and some friends!

Joaquim Margarido

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