Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tove Alexandersson: "The first thing I think every morning is what I have to do to become a better orienteer"

Simone Niggli defined her as “the girl to beat” in the future, but she doesn't seem to bother too much about it. From victory to victory, Tove Alexandersson puts the pressure on their opponents and eventually becomes the most serious candidate for the world female orienteering's sceptre, after the goodbye of the Swiss champion.

Tove Alexandersson was one year old when she made her first orienteering course. From that “miniknat” to the victory in the 10th stage of the World Cup Orienteering Ski last Sunday, goes a triumphal way that outputs in four silver medals in the Foot-O World Championships and 2nd place in the IOF's World Ranking, in addition to two world titles in Ski-Orienteering and currently the second place in the respective World Cup 2013-2014, only five points behind the leadership.

“Foot-orienteering is the most important discipline for me, but so far I feel that the ski-orienteering also makes me a better orienteer. I don't focus on ski-o during the orienteering season but I always focus on orienteering and do what I think is the best for me to be better”, says Tove about this subject.

I plan it by myself”

Leaving aside the Ski Orienteering, we focus on Foot-O and here comes the first big moment of our conversation. Can you define the moment, that “click” that led you to say: “That's it, that's my sport”, we ask. The answer, assertive, is ready: “I had always known that this was what I wanted to do!” To talk about the highest or the lowest moment of her (yet short) career is something that leaves Tove a little uncomfortable. “I don't know, I have so many good memories - and some bad ones -, but I don't like to compare them to each other”, she says.

Now, we speak about the training process and Tove surprises me again saying: “I don't have any technical or physical coach, I plan it by myself”. Having always been good technically, she focused her attentions mostly on the physical part in the last years, but refers that “I focus much on both”. She can't say that she has a typical training week: “My training weeks look very different because I'm quite often away on training camps (skiing or orienteering) and competitions. But during the winter I usually have two competitions, 3-4 high speed sessions, 2-4 long sessions and some shorter ones, depending on how many trainings I have left”, she says.

For the one who is, at the start, the big favourite to the victory, dealing with the pressure is an often complicated matter. But not for Tove: “I don't think too much about it because it's not my problem. I don't care so much about what the others have for expectations.”

I want to be the best”

And so, we arrive to Vuokatti and to the two silver medals won in the recent World Orienteering Championships: “I'm really satisfied with my WOC overall, although I know that I would have been able to do even better. But I don't know if it had been enough for taking a gold medal”, Tove comments.

Talking about the goals for the season, the athlete shows herself somewhat elusive in their definition. “I don't have any goals like that. I want to be the best, but I have no goals for every single season. I always do what I can, to be as good as possible”, she concludes.

WOC is my main goal”

The interview heads the end and Portugal is an unavoidable topic of conversation because the European Championships will be held in Palmela, from 9th to 16th April. An event that Tove Alexandersson won't miss: “I have been in Portugal on two Training Camps and I really like the terrains”, she says. But the goals remains a mystery. Tove confesses: “I don't know, WOC is my main goal but I hope to be in good shape also for the EOC.”

The last words take the form of an advice, an advice especially to the youngsters, those who dream, someday, about becoming like Tove Alexandersson: “Be focused. The first thing I think every morning is what I have to do to become a better orienteer.”

Joaquim Margarido

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