For the second time in this year, the Portuguese Orienteering wears its best suit to receive an international event entirely directed to the youngsters. After the unforgetable World School Sports Orienteering Championships ISF, held in eastern Algarve on last April, is now the turn of the municipalities of Peniche, Caldas da Rainha and Óbidos to receive the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2013. Let the party begin!
Portugal was the country chosen to replace Israel in the organization of the EYOC's 15th edition. Due to political instability in that country of the Middle East and for safety reasons, the European Working Group was forced to return to the “ground zero”, early on this year, a process that was “almost done”. The first contact to see the possibility of Portugal organize EYOC 2013 was on beginning of 2013. On two or three weeks, an application was prepared, conclusive enough, leading the EWG to select Portugal as the EYOC 2013's organizer. “This was on the end of February, only eight months from the beginning of the event”, recalls Antonio Amador, EYOC 2013's Event Director, adding that "on this short time we do all the necessary to have a great event, not only technically with good terrains and courses but also with all necessary logistics for the participants have an unforgettable stay in Portugal”.
And this is, precisely, what is expected to happen on EYOC 2013. With the “headquarters” settled at the fantastic place of INATEL Foz do Arelho, to the participants is offered the possibility to enjoy a stunning view over the Obidos Lagoon, on its confluence with the vastness of the Ocean, margins by green covered, the Berlengas islands well in the distance. And if this set of buildings - once the Francisco Almeida Grandella's magnificent palace - made History during the First Portuguese Republic, it is about History and stories that will make the three-day EYOC 2013, an event that will hopefully be a milestone in life of 362 athletes from 32 countries that will be present here (responsible for organizing the EYOC 2014, Macedonia was the last country to entry for the event).
The Sprint final, within the walls of the medieval town of Óbidos, open the hostilities next Friday afternoon. Saturday morning will be devoted to the Long Distance race, in Ferrel's forests. And again Óbidos, on the map of Vale Benfeito on terrains in all similar to the day before, to the EYOC 2013's epilogue, with the Relay race on Sunday morning.
The competition will be held in four different classes (M/W16 , for those born in 1997 or later, and M/W18, for those born in the years 1995 and 1996), with each country submiting a maximum of four athletes per event and by class, excluding the Relay, where this number is confined to three athletes in each team. It should also be noted that the mapping of the event has the signature of Luís Sérgio, also the responsible for setting the course of Sprint. José Fernandes and Bruno Nazario are the course setters of Long Distance and Relay, respectively.
Last but not least, the athletes. They are the soul of any event and this, in particular, is of particular importance in the life of any young orienteer. Just ask the Swiss Daniel Hubmann or Matthias Kyburz, the Russian Andrey Khramov or the Danish Emma Klingenberg, who here won the first medals on their remarkable international careers. Just ask also Diogo Miguel, extraordinary winner on that eventful journey of Eger (Hungary ), on June 22, 2007, providing to the Portuguese Orienteering the first gold of its history.
It is therefore with a sense of victory that all participants, without exception, will be at the EYOC 2013. Although, we should allocate some favouritism to the Czech Republic, great dominator of previous editions of the event, followed by Switzerland, Sweden and Russia. Among the “remarkable " presences here, a special mention to the Polish Anjelika Maciejewska, gold medal twice in EYOC 2012 and one of the stars of the recent World School Sports Orienteering Championships ISF. Also the Latvian Uldis Upitis, the Spanish Yara Bores Escudero, the Slovaks Dusan Slama and Martin Smelik or the British Dane Blomquist are names to be taken into account, especially after their recent victories in WSOC ISF 2013. But our attention goes, justifiably, for the World Champion of School Sports on Middle Distance, António Ferreira, sure that he'll seek to repeat in Peniche and Óbidos that same gold that made him to chance to achieve the top of the podium in Monte Gordo (Vila Real de Santo António), last April 17th.