Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Andalucia O' Meeting 2014: The promise of an unforgettable event

Three days of competition, two WRE's stages and a high quality event of the Spanish Foot-O Calendar with great international imnpact. We speak, of course, about the Andalucia O' Meeting, whose 5th edition will take place between 14th and 16th february in Pinares de Punta Umbría, very close to the Portuguese border.

Punta Umbría , in southern Spain, receives from 14th to 16th february one of the greatest events of the Spanish calendar. Important event of the international Foot-O calendar in winter and scoring for the Spanish League, the Andalucia O 'Meeting AOM 2014 has to offer a set of maps never sailed before, challenges of high level and the big organizational experience of Sun-O Team, with the support of the Municipality of Punta Umbría. In short, a great orienteering weekend in perspective, focusing on technical quality and logistical capability.

Along Pedro Pasión, AOM 2014's Event Director, we try to focus on the proposals of the organization and, at the same time, make the story of the event. “The AOM born from the idea of associating the organization of an International Training Camp with a quality event in the same area, ensuring standards of modernity”, were his first words. Good course setters, quality maps and a careful selection of the competition terrains, “always with the sea in the background”, are the ingredients of this Andalucia O' Meeting's fifth edition, in which the organization focus on the reinforcement of the participation rates which, in 2013, amounted to 1000 athletes, half of them foreigners.

Extensive media coverage

After the first four editions held in Cadiz, the organization decided to move this year to Punta Umbria, in the Province of Huelva. To expand the Training Camps offer and respond to the requests from many participants who asked for a change, such were the reasons that led to this “back to back” to Cadiz. The best option was Huelva, since, as explains Pedro Pasión, “it is, along with Cadiz, the Spanish province with the largest intact forest of the entire southern coastal region of Spain” And Punta Umbria, in particular, because “it is a municipality that invests heavily in sport, providing all the experience and resources to serve the AOM 2014, the same as that applied in the organization of the World Cross Country Championships in 2011”, adds those responsible.

The expectations concerning this AOM 2014 are high. Not only because the competition days, but also for the Training Camps, before and after the event, with courses designed by Thierry Gueorgiou and in which the Finnish national team, with all of its biggest stars, is a confirmed presence. But the focus on promoting the event goes further, with Pedro Pasión promising for the 2014 edition a strong media coverage, “with tractrac system, giant screen at the finish line, cameras in the forest and live streaming of the event via internet”, a situation that raises the AOM 2014 to the condition of “single event on Spanish territory having, until now, such means of transmission”, he avers. Another aspect that the Event Director is keen to note is related to the presence “in FITUR, the World Tourism Fair, which will take place in Madrid later this month and in which the AOM will represent the sport community of Andalucia in its exhibition pavilion.”

Northern Morocco , “a treasure to discover”

The conversation moves to the end but there is still time to highlight another event that extends the offer in terms of orienteering and, by the way, also touristic. This is the MoroccO 3 Days, an event offering two forest courses and an urban Sprint in the Chaouen Medina, and still provide to the participants a visit to the cities of Ceuta, Tetuan and Cheffchaouen. Everything organized from Algeciras, on 21st february, with the return scheduled for the 23rd february. Classifying the North of Morocco as “a treasure to discover”, Pasión is keen to say that "it is a region green and hilly, as Portugal and Spain, with a huge cultural influence of these two countries, one rich cuisine and incredible natural beauties.” And there's no need to say much more in order to understand the implicit invitation to an unforgettable experience, able to transform this “O' Adventure” into a very special occasion.

Joaquim Margarido

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