Friday, February 28, 2014

MCO 2014: Maps

Middle Distance WRE

Sprint WRE

Long Distance WRE

Joaquim Margarido

Portugal O' Meeting 2014: Carnival of Gouveia with map and compass

It started to be “cooked” two years ago, when the Portuguese Orienteering Federation decided to approve the application of the CPOC - Clube Português de Orientação e Corrida, and it will “boil” in the first four days of March. The Portugal O' Meeting, the biggest event of the national regular calendar of Foot orienteering presents as tasteful ingredients the magnificent terrains of Gouveia, the quality of the organizaing team and the two biggest stars in orienteering world, Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou.

For the Portuguese orienteers, this is nothing new: Carnival is at the Portugal O' Meeting ! It is so since 2000 and the party is back once again, extending the revelry to the first four days of March, for the first time in the Serra da Estrela region. The “dating” between CPOC and the municipality of Gouveia had his first big moment in 2011 with the organization of the I Gouveia Orienteering Meeting, continued in 2013 with the Iberian Orienteering Championships and has its highlight this year with the 19th edition of the Portugal O' Meeting. The number of participants amounts to 1737 athletes from 21 countries, having the offer of two Middle Distance stages, one Mid Distance stage, one Long Distance stage, a night urban Sprint and one Trail orienteering stage. From home, it will be also possible to follow the competition with live GPS coverage.

Projected on perfect maps and terrains for the orienteering, the stages of the Portugal O' Meeting 2014 are distributed by Vila Nova de Tázem, Arcozelo da Serra, Gouveia and Nossa Senhora dos Verdes Park, promising to offer to the participants high technical challenges where the pleasure of orienteering will be there permanently. So says the leader of the IOF's World Ranking, Thierry Gueorgiou, that “is in the Winter that you win the medals of the Summer”. And he don't change the Portugal O' Meeting by any other event, even the World Cup first round, which will take place in Turkey at the same time as POM. And if it's true that the world's elite turned his back to Portugal this year and both Thierry Gueorgiou as the leader of the women's world ranking, the Swiss Simone Niggli, are the few exceptions to the rule, the fact is that the prestige achieved by the Portuguese event, especially in the last five years, has meant that the demand, overall, suffered no significant breaks. Even the Trail orienteering stage of the Portugal O' Meeting prepares to overcome the hurdle of one hundred participants for the first time ever in Portugal, with a total of 137 entries, including some of the world's greatest athletes in this demanding discipline.

But the Portugal O 'Meeting 2014 is not just competition and there is a whole social program directly or indirectly linked to the event. It start by the presence of Fernanda Ribeiro, the most valuable ever figure of Portuguese Athletics, which offer its name to the Portugal O' Meeting 2014 as the ambassador. Also the banquet will take place in one of the most well known and respected restaurants in the country. And there is still Gouveia, the traditional Fair of the Serra da Estrela's Cheese and the entire program of the Serra's Carnival, having in the carnival parade and the shrovetide burial its highest points.

All good reasons for a oriented visit to Gouveia, at the rhythm of Carnival. Programs to check at and

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tessa Hill: "I still get a buzz out of running fast through a forest and finding the little orange and white flag right where I expected it to be"

Tessa Hill is a real Sprint expert and the 5th final place in the recent World Orienteering Championships, in Vuokatti, speaks for itself. But the things may be changing. From the urban to the forest, there's a lot to expect from the “moaner and perfectionist” athlete, that here takes a look into the future.

It would be nice to start our conversation knowing something about you. What kind of person is Tessa Hill?

Tessa Hill (T. H.) - Simple questions like "Where are you from?" aren't very easy for me to answer! I was born in London but have lived in seven countries and many places within them. I'm now settled in Edinburgh but still travel lots for orienteering and hill running. I used to be a researcher working in the field of Exercise Science but that has been put on hold for a short while as I try to fulfil some sporting ambitions. My main non-sporting hobby is bird watching which is a bit amusing/annoying for the rest of the GB team but luckily our team manager is a twitcher too so I have company.

I spent a while thinking about a person that I admire and my teammate Sarah Rollins kept sticking in my mind. Ever since I joined the GB team she has been so genuinely supportive and has helped me at every stage. Even when we were competing against each other for places on the team or results at the World Champs, she would share every bit of knowledge she had with me. That's the teammate I would love to be.

Are you a “family product”, a “school product” or a “self-made-woman product”, as orienteer?

T. H. - I started orienteering through my family and although my Dad was keen, none of us were particularly competitive. It took me until the age of 14 to properly understand what was going on with the map, before that I just went on a wander in the forest. Then something clicked and it all snowballed: I enjoyed it, I got better results, I got into teams, I made good friends and the upward spiral continued. I was away at a boarding school for all my teenage years and I relied heavily on my club and other local orienteers. Without them I would have struggled to keep going with the sport.

Was there a moment in your career, a “click”, where you said to yourself: That's it, that's what I want to do?

T. H. - I feel like I've had two 'careers' in orienteering as I took a break when I moved up to the senior age class. It wasn't really a conscious decision to do that but work took over and I was dropped from the GB squad after my last junior year so I drifted away from the sport a bit. But that coincided with my move to Trondheim to study for an MSc. and during my time there I realised that I missed the sport and the training. I don't regret that break as I think it has helped me get a little perspective on things and remember that I do it because I enjoy it.

However I think the most significant moment for me has to be getting on the podium in the World Cup final in 2011. The result was beyond anything I thought I could ever achieve and quite a shock. Having been called an elite international athlete for a lot of my life, it was really cool to actually feel like one.

Why orienteering? What makes it so special?

T. H. - I still get a buzz out of running fast through a forest and finding the little orange and white flag right where I expected it to be - maybe it's still a novelty for me. I love the variety of training and competition we get to do. I think that's very good for me as I can get bored quite easily.

How do you define yourself as orienteer?

T. H. - I seem to have become a sprint specialist although it's only been in the last couple of years that there was any difference in my sprint and forest results. I'm a better runner than navigator but I also think that the quick decision making and route choice problems that the sprint distance presents suit me better too. I have worked hard this winter on improving my forest orienteering, particularly my compass work so I hope I won't be quite so lop-sided in my results in future.

What can we see, opening the windows over your typical training week?

T. H. - A good winter week will involve around 100 km of running. I have done blocks of higher volume but I'm slowly learning that they don't last too long. 2-3 hard sessions a week (usually one is a race) are the backbone and then I fit orienteering technique, long runs and hills in around them. I'm rubbish at remembering to do the strength and conditioning essentials but it would help a lot if I did.

How do you deal with the different kind of races, maps and terrains?

T. H. - In recent years I think I've fallen into the trap of saying “that terrain doesn't suit me”. This started with the French WOC limestone terrain and extended over the next few years to anything with a tree near it. I'm trying to reverse this attitude and it's probably the mental side that is the most important for me there! But there are some terrains that suit me more than others - terrain that doesn't require me to look at my feet all the time helps because then there is a chance I might look at the map.

The Sprint distance is the one who, I believe, you feel more comfortable. At least, your best results, including the fantastic 5th place in WOC 2013, were achieved in Sprint courses. Would you like to tell me about it, reminding Vuokatti and forwarding the future?

T. H. - I really enjoyed preparing for WOC 2013 as I had near perfect build up to it and I was really excited to show what I could do. I think this mindset was one reason why it all worked on the day. It was very different to my World Cup 2011 result because I had been aiming for the podium all season but it was still a fantastic feeling to be standing up there. I do enjoy sprint training because I feel like I can focus on things that will save me a couple of seconds and they might actually make a difference to my result.

Talking about the future, I follow attentively the “Project 2015”, towards WOC 2015, in your home country, and beyond. Please, tell me something about it, about all those youngster like Florence Haines or Jonny Crickmore joining some others not so young, like Claire Ward, for example, and about the project's results until now?

T. H. - I think Project 2015 means different things to different people but it is providing a common focus towards WOC next year. For me, it is about getting as much of the UK orienteering community involved in the world championships as possible. It's a motivation to get more people training hard and aiming to be the best whatever their age. Not everyone will get in the team but the more we can push each other, the better the team will be. Hopefully everyone will feel part of the results that those in the team do achieve.

But I also think it is about getting local clubs involved. I'm really lucky that there are lots of people who will send me a course to pre-run or a new map to check out for errors - it's a great training for me and it usually helps them. I really hope Project 2015 might encourage other clubs to do that with their local elites.

Beyond Tampere (Finland), Inverness is the only place in WOC's history receiving twice the event (the first one was in 1999). What kind of WOC can you expect next year?

T. H. - WOC 2015 will be a top quality event. Orienteering in the Highlands is about as good as it gets and we're looking forward to showing that off. You can already feel the buzz at local events in Scotland. There are so many people volunteering for different tasks and everyone is preparing for them, it's not just us athletes. Come along to Race the Castles in October 2014 ( and you'll get the feel for things!

We can see you talking in your blog about the “winter frustrations”. How is your preparation running and how the problems can conditioning the rest of the season?

T. H. - It's all fine really, I'm just a moaner and a perfectionist. I set way over ambitious winter plans and they broke me a bit but I've managed to train a fair amount. I'm on Plan B but it should still work out ok provided a really busy 8 week period during March and April doesn't ruin me.

What are your main goals for 2014? Are the European Championships and Portugal an important part of it?

T. H. - EOC and WOC are the main orienteering goals of the year and I'll be hoping for good sprint results at them both. I'm also excited to get to run in the forest at EOC and in some World Cups and I'd like to put in some decent performances there and see whether I've made a difference this winter.

In the beginning of a new year, I would ask you to make a wish.

T. H. - I'll wish for injury-free sunny training please!

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, February 23, 2014

MCO 2014: Portugal was second behind the Spain

Held all over the weekend in the municipalities of Satão and Aguiar da Beira, in the central part of Portugal, the third edition of the Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering finished in the best way. In the final stage, a top level Long Distance WRE, the Spanish team confirmed the leadership, getting the third victory in three editions of the Champoionships. In the Open course, Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou shine again, repeating the victories of the Middle Distance.

It was a weekend party memorable, that lived in the Event Arena on the southwestern part of the Quinta da Estrada map, in the municipality of Aguiar da Beira. In the Long Distance WRE, Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou proved to be unbeatable once again in a terrain of high physical demand and, technically, the most challenging that can be found in Portugal. At least that is the opinion of the winner in the Men Super Elite class, which states: “At the beginning, I felt some difficulties in choosing the best routes, but things were improving and I was also feeling physically better. But it's difficult to understand the terrain, much harder than yesterday, but absolutely perfect. I often come to Portugal and I continue to be surprised with the quality of the terrains. This terrain, today, can be even better than the others I know, a little bit like the terrains in Australia, extremely demanding, and I'm particularly pleased to have been able to run this race today.”

Thierry Gueorgiou , which will be in Portugal for a few more days, also designs the next week: “It's an important week for my preparation, a mixture of training and competition. The Portugal O' Meeting will also be very interesting in challenging terrains. We train hard, of course, but it's great also to push a little more in the 'competition mode'. It is important to focus on quality and Portugal offer the ideal conditions to prepare the season.” Finally, a short approach to the next European Championships, which will take place in Palmela: “If I have my head in the European Championships yet? Not exactly. It's true that I think about it from time to time but the most important is to concentrate on the day to day, have good feelings and successfully train and compete within established. This is the best way to reach the European Championships and the World Championships well prepared.”

I will not run the European Championships, that's for sure!”

In the Women Elite class, Simone Niggli won again this last stage, but the things weren't easy as we could imagine: “At the beginning, I felt some difficulties in choosing the best routes, but things were improving and I was also feeling physically better. But it's difficult to understand the terrain, much harder than yesterday, but absolutely perfect. I often come to Portugal and I continue to be surprised with the quality of the terrains. This terrain, today, can be even better than the others I know, a little bit like the terrains in Australia, extremely demanding, and I'm particularly pleased to have been able to run this race today.” Being such an extraordinary athlete, showing to be in good shape, how can we imagine Simone Niggli out of the European Championships? “I will not run the European Championships, that's for sure! I have decided this way and, until now, I don't regret my option. I will follow the European Championships, I'll be there as a spectator, running the spectators races and cheering for Swiss.”

One last word about the COMOF Cup and the results of this third stage that eventually confirm the Spain as the winner. Portugal had only two presences on the podium - third places to Patricia Casalinho and Tiago Romão -, while the Spanish team took to the podium seven of its eight athletes, with three wins and three second places. Spain reached 105 points in all three stages, against 143 points of Portugal and 190 points of Italy, ranked second and third respectively. Serbia took the 4th position with 230 points, while Turkey was ranked fifth with 268 points. Israel closed the standings with a total of 270 points.

Results Long Distance WRE

Men Super Elite
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 1:22:06
2. Olav Lundanes (Halden SK) 1:25:03 (+2:57)
3. Douglas Tullie (TuMe) 1:31:58 (+9:52)
4. Jan Prochazka (Kalevan Rasti) 1:32:20 (+10:14)
5. Eskil Kinneberg (IFK Göteborg) 1:33:06 (+11:00)
6. Olli-Markus Taivanen (PelPo) 1:34:04 (+11:58)
7. William Lind (MOKS) 1:34:51 (+12:45)
8. Bjørn Ekeberg (IL Tyrving) 1:35:31 (+13:25)
9. Matthew Speake (Lillomarka OL) 1:35:53 (+13:47)
10. Ionut Alin Zinca (Farra-O) 1:36:38 (+14:32)

Women Elite
1. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 1:10:42
2. Mari Fasting (Halden SK) 1:12:24 (+1:42)
3. Irina Nyberg (Individual) 1:16:11 (+5:29)
4. Galina Vinogradova (Individual) 1:17:36 (+6:54)
5. Outi Ojanen (Kangasala SK) 1:18:34 (+7:52)
6. Kine Hallan Steiwer (Halden SK) 1:21:18 (+10:36)
7. Gabija Razaityte (IGTISA) 1:21:50 (+11:08)
8. Maren Janssen Haverstad (NTNUI) 1:22:15 (+11:33)
9. Svetlana Mironova (Individual) 1:22:57 (+12:15)
10. Hanna Raitanen (Rajamäen Rykmentti) 1:23:54 (+13:12)

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, February 22, 2014

MCO 2014: The Spanish fury

The third edition of the Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering proceeded this afternoon, in Aguiar da Beira. In the Sprint course, the Spanish fury was well present, with the “bomb kids”, Andreu Blanes and Antonio Martinez, to keep the top two positions. In the women's elite class, Galina Vinogradova was the winner. After two stages, the Spain leads the COMOF Cup with eight points ahead of Portugal, in the second position.

Exciting. It was thus that lived the Sprint WRE this afternnon, carried out in the “hilly” city of Aguiar da Beira. A map with not to much to “squeeze”, but when it was possible to set couses with both technical challenge as physically demanding, making the most of the peculiarities of the terrain. Practically every big name present in the morning stage showed again on the Sprint stage, giving the quality and competitiveness inherent to the big moments.

In the Men Super Elite class, Andreu Blanes repeated the result of Castelo de Vide, in the end of January, taking one more victory in a Sprint course counting for the IOF's World Sprint Ranking. At the end of the 16:44 of his race, the athlete was overjoyed: “It feels great. The race was really fun, I ran pretty well, very fluid, despite some doubts as to the route choices in a couple of controls. But I believe that I did the right choices and I won.” Talking a little bit about the race, Andreu said that “the major difficulties were in the part of the castle, with some walls and where it was necessary to maintain very high levels of concentration all the time to make the best choices.” With a course of superior quality, Antonio Martinez was second – at the spectators control he was in the lead, two seconds ahead of Andreu Blanes -, only seven seconds more than his compatriot. Thierry Gueorgiou got the third position, 11 seconds behind the winner.

Spain extends the lead to eight points

The Russian Galina Vinogradova wanted to show why she is one of the leading experts in Sprint, winning with a record of 16:27. Her compatriot, Svetlana Mironova was second, 25 seconds behind the lead , while the third place went to the Switzerland Elena Roos, with over 28 seconds to the winner. In the end, Galina Vinogradova would mention: “Technically, the Sprint was very easy, specially in the part corresponding to the second map. The hilly part was more demanding and I run really slowly, because it was necessary to understand the small details of the map.” The final words: “I got the victory in the second part of the course. Passing through the spectators control, I heard that I was nine seconds away from the first position and I run very fast. I'm very happy with my result.”

Regarding the COMOF Cup, the Spain was the protagonist of this stage, by getting three individual victories in the Sprint race, against only one of Portugal. The Portuguese were unable to take advantage of the Eduardo Gil's mismatches, disqualified in H20 class, with André Esteves doing the same. Portugal has now 45 points, seven more than the Spain, now accounting for a total of 85 points against 77 points of the leader. At distant 51 points off the lead, Italy is in the third position, followed by Serbia, Turkey and Israel.


Men Super Elite
1. Andreu Blanes (Team Espanha) 16:44
2. Antonio Martinez (Individual) 16:51 (+0:07)
3. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 16:55 (+0:11)
4. Jonas Vytautas Gvildys (IGTISA) 17:08 (+0:24)
5. Jan Prochazka (Kalevan Rasti) 17:17 (+0:33)
6. William Lind (MOKS) 17:18 (+0:34)
7. Douglas Tullie (TuMe) 17:41 (+0:57)
8. Bjørn Ekeberg (IL Tyrving) 17:42 (+0:58)
9. Gaute Hallan Steiwer (Lillomarka OL) 17:46 (+1:02)
10. Helmut Gremmel (Lillomarka OL) 17:47 (+1:03)

Women Elite
1. Galina Vinogradova (Individual) 16:27
2. Svetlana Mironova (Individual) 16:52 (+0:25)
3. Elena Roos (Halden SK) 16:55 (+0:28)
4. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 16:58 (+0:31)
5. Hanna Raitanen (Rajamäen Rykment) 16:59 (+0:32)
6. Yulia Novikova (CSP Novgorod) 17:11 (+0:44)
7. Isia Basset (JOG) 17:25 (+0:58)
8. Kine Hallan Steiwer (Halden SK) 17:30 (+1:03)
9. Anna Nähri (IFK Göteborg) 17:34 (+1:07)
10. Lea Vercellotti (Halden SK) 17:41 (+1:14)

Everything to follow at

Joaquim Margarido

MCO 2014: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli, the stars of Middle Distance

What a wonderful orienteering morning, today, at Nosso Senhor da Agonia, Satão, in the central part of Portugal. Challenging courses, demanding terrains and a a map close to the perfection, were offered to the almost one thousand participants in the 3rd Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering. In the end, Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli showed the reason why they are the IOF's World Ranking's leaders, winning the Men Super Elite class and the Women Elite class, respectively. As for the COMOF Cup, Spain is in the lead in the end of the first stage, but the portuguese team is really closed, just one single point behind.

Starting this morning, the 3rd Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering saw Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli to win the first stage. In the Men Super Elite class, the “king” of the Middle Distance managed to keep focused all the time in a really challenging course, winning with a record of 34:33. With an excellent start, William Lind gave the note of sensation in the spectators control, but some mistakes close to the end were responsible for his second place, 1:07 behind the winner. “I wasn't surprised with the quality of the terrains as I could run close to this place two years ago, but it's always a pleasure to be here, in this fantastic terrains”, started to say Thierry Gueorgiou. For the winner today, “you have to do an aggressive orienteering, always have good mental images of the controls and the nearby. The things went quite well today, I'm happy with my way of being concentrated, but I made some small mistakes, no big thing, 10 seconds here, 20 seconds there.” The secret of the victory, for Thierry Gueorgiou, was in the last part of the course: “I knew that it was a more technical part but I needed to be fast. I did an aggressive orienteering, I wanted to take the risk and I'm very happy with the result”, he concludes.

In the Women Elite class, Simone Niggli was incredible, once again. Her victory was concludent, with an advantage of almost three minuts over Anna Nähri. “It's very good to return every year to Portugal. I'm retired now, I don't train too much orienteering and I was really eager to come here and to do some really nice orienteering and courses”, were the first words of Simone Niggli. Talking about her course, the Swiss said: “Today it was absolutely fantastic, in a really demanding course, with a lot of tricky short controls but also long legs with many route choices. For me it was also quite demanding because of the greens, you couldn't see so far and I needed to be really concentrated, to read carefully the countour details, to watch the right directions with the compass, well, to do orienteering all the way.” And a final comment: “I think that I still have a good level but I needed some time to get into the course. I managed to made some mistakes quite small. I believe it was there the secret of my victory.”

As for the COMOF Cup, Portugal and Spain get two individual victories each and they are very close in the lead. The Spanish team has the first position with 39 points and the Portuguese team is in the second position with 40 points. With 66 points, Italy is in the third position.


Men Super Elite
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 34:33
2. William Lind (MOKS) 35:40 (+1:07)
3. Eskil Kinneberg (IFK Göteborg) 36:04 (+1:31)
4. Martins Sirmais (TuMe) 37:18 (+2:45)
5. Anton Östlin (MOKS) 38:01 (+3:28)
6. Douglas Tullie (TuMe) 38:12 (+3:39)
7. Edgars Bertuks (TuMe) 38:14 (+3:41)
8. Hannu Airila (Kalevan Rasti) 38:18 (+3:45)
9. Lauri Sild (HIKI) 39:00 (+4:27)
10. Valentin Novikov (CSP Novgorod) 39:04 (+4:31)

Women Elite
1. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 38:05
2. Anna Närhi (IFK Göteborg) 41:00 (+2:55)
3. Helen Palmer (Lillomarka OL) 41:15 (+3:10)
4. Yulia Novikova (CSP Novgorod) 41:16 (+3:11)
5. Ida Marie Naess Bjøergul (Halden SK) 41:25 (+3:20)
6. Emma Johansson (NTNUI) 41:31 (+3:26)
7. Isia Basset (JOG) 41:56 (+3:51)
8. Mari Fasting (Halden SK) 42:07 (+4:02)
8. Irina Nyberg (Individual) 42:07 (+4:02)
10. Galina Vinogradova (Individual) 42:19 (+4:14)

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, February 21, 2014

Andalucia O' Meeting 2014: Maps and comments

Andalucia O' Meeting 2014 (Punta Umbría)

Middle Distance WRE (Day 1)

Sprint WRE (Day 1)

Long Distance (Day 2)

It was my start at the competition season. After a few weeks without running at all, due to injuries, I was eager to know how my shape was. I was very happy with the 3rd place on the Middle Distance, nearly without mistakes. The terrain was nice, once you were in the flow, you should keep it till the end.

I hoped for a somehow more difficult Sprint, but it was also good to see where I'm standing physically in that kind of race, obviously more or less as usually. Well, the Long Distance didn't went so well from the beginning. I didn't manage to find the right competition mood, heard it should be easy, what it actually wasn't to me. However, the atmosphere was good as always on the Iberian Peninsula. I can't complain about anything in the organisation, well done guys. Thanks for a comfortable season opening!

Gernot Kerschbaumer
OK Pan Kristianstad

I focussed quite a lot on running training the last four months and this was only my second (orienteering) training camp of the winter (after five days in Alto Alentejo, Portugal, in January). This means that I did many trainings the week before AOM, both fast sessions and some longer trainings. I really like the South of Europe for training in the winter, because the maps and terrains are always of an high standard quality. For me it was mostly important to get the feeling with the map back after many running trainings.

During AOM, I took both WRE races really seriously. It's good to see where you're with your orienteering at this moment of the season and how your shape is, compared to the others. In the Middle Distance WRE I lost too much time, mostly because my speed was too high for the orienteering. The result (13th place) was okay, but it should have been better. The Sprint WRE was the most important race for me, because I'm focussing on the Sprint Distance and there were many good names in the startlist. I could run very fast in the Sprint, even after a pretty tough week, which shows that my shape is good at the moment and I'm doing the right trainings (thanks to my coach).

Overall I liked the Andalucia O' Meeting, because of the relaxed atmosphere, the good maps and courses and the quality in the elite classes. This is what most orienteers search for, in the winter, and I think Sun-O offered this really well.

Yannick Michiels
OK Ravinen – Nacka

My short visit at AOM is over, just “dropping by” to have some intense technical o-training, to go home and evaluate before the first round of World Cup in Turkey. I arrived during the night to Saturday and leaving Tuesday morning, but if not counting the lost bag everything was fine!

Of course I'm not satisfied with my result at the Long Distance, but perhaps it was a good signal for me and I know what to work with before the season really starts. I do see lots of improvement in my technical, mental and physical skills and I look forward to continue working with the whole “o-picture” this year. I enjoyed the weather, the fast terrain and the atmosphere. I do feel that this type of orienteering/terrain is more fun to go high speed than slow, so it fulfilled my purpose with a short but intense trip.

Lena Eliasson
Domnarvets GoIF

I am really satisfied with my results. It shows me that my winter-training is going well, and I feel really confident to continue in the same way for the rest of my preparation for the season. The competitions were nice. I liked the high speed terrain although it didn't create a great technical challenge. It was more about keeping focus and trying to stay as close the line as possible. I think that is pretty much the same thing that will count at EOC in April, which is my next main target. So, I guess it was a really good training for that!

Albin Ridefelt
OK Linné

I really enjoyed my stay in Punta Umbría. For me, the competitions were important because I needed some orienteering races that would help me to escape from my slow winter trainings. Also, as the first World Cup stage is already in the end of February, AOM was perfect for getting ready for the upcoming season. The organization was very good. I liked the maps and the Prologue and Middle Distance's terrains. Although for the Sprint, I was hoping for an old town with a lot of narrow streets. But I enjoyed running it, anyway. It was a fun weekend and it was a pity that I couldn't run the Long Distance!

Ausrine Kutkaite
IFK Lidingo SOK

AOM 2014 has probably been the WRE event in Spain with the greatest international impact ever, with more than 500 international athletes, many notorious names and 500 Spanish athletes, overcoming one thousand participants. We believe that the appeal of the Punta Umbría and Huelva coast, its fast and technical terrains, the fact of organizing two WRE on the same day (Middle Distance and Sprint) and the experience of Sun-O club in organizing events, have made possible such a successful participation. On the other hand, in this fifth edition, we have been able to provide logistical details and infrastructure that are usually difficult to offer in our sport. The fact that we could locate the finish and the arenas in urban areas enabled to offer to the public a more modern face of our sport, all thanks to the support of the municipality of Punta Umbría and its location, by integrating the forest in the city. We hope that participants enjoyed and we look forward to the AOM 2015 in Punta Umbría, with new terrains and new challenges!

After the fifth edition, we can say that the AOM is consolidated in the international calendar of winter. To the Sun-O team is a great satisfaction and therefore we want to continue working in this line of progress of our sport.

Pedro Pasión Rodríguez
Event Director

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, February 20, 2014

MCO 2014: The best in the world are back

The Orienteering at the highest level is back to Portugal. After Castelo de Vide, in late January, Aguiar da Beira and Satão will be now the centre of all emotions. The 3rd Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering attracts the world's best orienteers to the central region of the country, for three stages in which the high quality and competitiveness are common denominators.

Portugal back to open doors to major international Orienteering. With the 3rd Mediterranean Orienteering Championship, from 21st to 23rd February, starts a cycle of three events counting for the IOF's world ranking held in Portugal in three consecutive weekends. Clube de Orientação de Estarreja and Clube de Orientação de Viseu - Natura elect again the central region for a new joint organization, having the essential support of the two local municipalities involved, also the Portuguese Orienteering Federation, International Orienteering Federation and Confederation of Mediterranean Orienteering Federations.

The quality of the maps and terrains and a well known organizational capacity – who can forget the huge success that was the Portugal O 'Meeting 2012? -, represent a binomial that leaves no one indifferent. The registrations ended with a total of 931 athletes, including 219 entries in the Elite Men class, that forced the organization to reschedule the first runner starting times for Middle Distance WRE and Long Distance WRE stages. Portugal, with 396 athletes, is the most numerous representation, but the three Nordic “giants” - Finland, Sweden and Norway – bring to our country more than a hundred athletes each. United States, Hong Kong, Israel, Belarus and Brazil are among the 27 countries present in a competition that will have in the male and female world ranking's leaders, the French Thierry Gueorgiou and the Swiss Simone Niggli, the strongest names. They lead a list of “stars”, that includes thirteen male athletes and six female belonging to the world top-50.

COMOF Cup attracts the attentions

But this 3rd Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering are particularly important because the COMOF Cup, the Confederation of Federations Guidance Mediterranean Cup's third edition. Face to face will be, in addition to the three founder countries of the Confederation - Italy, Spain and Serbia - also the selections of Turkey, Israel and Portugal. Composed by Tiago Romão and Miguel Silva (H21E), Patricia Casalinho and Mariana Moreira (D21E), Daniel Catarino and André Esteves (H20) and Beatriz Moreira and Joana Fernandes (D20), the Portuguese team comes with strong possibilities of bringing the COMOF Cup for the first time to our country, after the second place in the first edition (Spain, 2012) and the absence in the last edition (Turkey , 2013).

The MCO 2014 begins to heat on 21st february with the Model Event, followed by the competitive program on the next two days. The morning of 22nd february will be filled by the Middle Distance WRE stage, while in the afternoon we'll have the Sprint WRE course. The competition ends with the Long Distance WRE stage, on Sunday. In the meanwhile, the organization created on the event's webpage an “MCO 2014 Live Center”, providing updates in real time and allowing to follow, from GPS coverage - in -, the courses of the last 15 athletes in the Women Elite class and the 18 athletes in the Super-Elite class to start.

More information at

[Photo: MCO 2014 / Facebook]

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Andalucia O' Meeting 2014: Bergman and Taylor, the big winners

Gustav Bergman and Catherine Taylor won the Andalucia O' Meeting's fifth edition. In the final stage, held this morning in Punta Umbría, Albin Ridefelt and Anni Maija Fincke were the winners.

Great atmosphere in the end of the fifth edition of Andalucia O' Meeting. The Municipality of Punta Umbria was a worthy host of an event that involved more than 900 participants for three competitive stages in challenging terrains and where the enormous technical quality was always present. A big applause for the organizing team is the Sun -O, led by Pedro Pasión, as well as Spanish orienteering, back once again in the route of the biggest names in the world.

Held this morning, the decisive Long Distance stage brought significant changes in Elite Women class, mainly due to the presence of the Finland Team athletes, missing the opening stage but major competitors today. Anni Maija Fincke and Saila Kinni, in particular, were prominently figures, reaching the 1st and 3rd places, respectively with the records of 1:01:16 and 1:06:19. 4:06 behind the winner, Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) turned out to be the great benefited, after Lena Eliasson (Domnarvets GoIF) just achieved the 12th place, 9:34 after Fincke. Eliasson eventually fall to the third place in the final ranking, behind Catherine Taylor, the winner, and her compatriot Annica Gustafsson (IFK Lidingo SOK), second placed at few four seconds from Taylor. Ona Ràfols Perramon (COC) , in the 8th place with a record of 1:47:51, was the best Spanish athlete.

In the Men Super-Elite class, the 10 seconds ahead which earned to Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) the victory in today's stage weren't enough to turn the outcome of the Meeting into his favour, ending Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen - Nacka) for being the winner. The difference of 21 seconds in the end gives a good idea of the struggle waged between the two Swedish athletes. In third position placed another athlete from Sweden, Oskar Sjöberg (OK Linné), ranked fourth in today's stage, 0:41 behind the winner. Another highlight is the great result of Ionut Zinca (Farra - O) , ranked fifth today at 49 seconds from Ridefelt, after the 19th place yesterday in what the athlete considered “the worst course since 2008, a stage to forget”. António Martinez Pérez and Andreu Blanes Reig, the two “bomb kids” from Colivenc club, were the best Spanish athletes in this edition of the AOM, concluding in 9th and 10th places, 7:34 and 9:16 far from Gustav Bergman.

Overall results

Men Super Elite class
1. Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen - Nacka) 1:38:38
2. Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 1:39:59 (+1:21)
3. Oskar Sjöberg (OK Linné) 1:42:27 (+3:49)
4. Ionut Alin Zinca (FARRA - O) 1:43:57 ( +5:19 )
5. Fredric Portin (Team Finland) 1:44:02 (+5:24)
6. Filip Dahlgren (IFK Lidingo SOK) 1:44:06 (+5:28)
7. William Lind (Malungs Skogsmardarna OK) 1:45:08 (+6:30)
8. Jakob Lööf (Malungs Skogsmardarna OK) 1:46:07 (+7:29)
9. Antonio Martinez Perez (Colivenc) 1:46:12 (+7:34)
10. Andreu Blanes Reig (Colivenc) 1:47:54 (+9:16)

Women Elite class
1. Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) 1:36:34
2. Annica Gustafsson (IFK Lidingo SOK) 1:36:38 (+0:04)
3. Lena Eliasson (Domnarvets GoIF) 1:38:42 (+2:08)
4. Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) 1:38:48 (+2:14)
5. Svetlana Mironova (Individual) 1:39:51 ( +3:17 )
6. Irina Nyberg (Individual) 1:40:34 ( +4:00 )
7. Hollie Orr (LOC IF) 1:44:25 (+7:51)
8. Ona Ràfols Perramon (COC) 1:47:51 ( +11:17 )
9. Anna Serralonga Arques (GO- XTREM) 1:49:38 (+13:04)
10. Mariana Moreira (CPOC) 1:49:49 (+13:15)

All informatiom at

Joaquim Margarido

Two or three things I know about it...

1. The International Orienteering Federation has just published this year's first edition of the Inside Orienteering. Bimonthly basis, the newsletter 1/2014 includes seven articles written by Anna Jacobson, Clive Allen and Joaquim Margarido, beyond the usual “word from the IOF President”, Brian Porteous and a couple of news in brief. A number that stretches over 18 pages, talking about the successful Ski Orienteering premiere at the Winter Olympic Day for Children in the Czech Republic or the new TV break-through for orienteering. The regular feature “North South East West” takes us back to Estonia, seeing “past, present and future under one single banner: Passion for orienteering”. The World Masters Orienteering Championships 2014 (Porto Alegre, Brazil) and the opening round of the World Cup 2015 (Tasmania) are subjects to a brief preview in this number of Inside Orienteering, while we look, “behind the scenes”, to the Australian Mike Dowling, a professor in the College of Hobart (Tasmania) and one of the Vice-President of the International Orienteering Federation. The last notes goes to the interview with Ursula Häusermann, from the IOF MTBO Commission, about the process of evaluation of the quality standards in that discipline. All good reasons to “flip through” Inside Orienteering 1/2014, in

2. The latest entries on the major international events, that will attract to Portugal orienteers from all over the world in the next three weekends, continues to grow. The MCO 2014 - 3rd Mediterranean Championships of Orienteering has 927 registered athletes from 27 different countries. The extraordinary demand in the Men Elite class (219) forced the organizers to bring forward to 8:30 am Saturday, the 22th, the starting of the first athlete to the Middle Distance WRE course, as does the Long Distance WRE course next day early for 9:00 am. Distributed as usual for the four days of Carnival, the nineteenth edition of the Portugal O' Meeting is showing higher dimension rates, with the number of entries ascending, up to date, to the 1645 athletes from 21 countries. Here too, the rank of Men Elite is the largest, with 198 participants, and we can see 121 participants in the TrailO stage. Finally we have the second edition of the Alentejo Orienteering Trophy with entries open until March 3rd, which already has 352 registered athletes, more than half of them foreigners, representing 12 different countries.

3. Held last weekend in Onil (Alicante), the first stage of the Spanish FootO League 2014 was organized by EC Colivenc, having the participation of eight hundred athletes. Distributed by a Middle Distance course (in a map signed by the Portuguese Rui Antunes) and a Long Distance course, the VIII Premi D'Orientació Comunitat Valenciana had in the Russian Natalia Vinogradova (Angelniemen Ankkuri) the winner in the Women Elite class, followed by Marika Teini (SK Pohjantähti) and Anna Serralonga Arques (GO- XTREM). In the Men Elite class, triumph for the Romanian Ionut Alin Zinca (FARRA - O), ahead of Luis Enrique Nogueira (COMA) and Jonas Leandersson (SNO). Anna Serralonga Arques and Ionut Alin Zinca are the first leaders of the Elite FootO ranking this season. More informations, complete results, elite athletes' tracks and photos at

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Andalucia O' Meeting 2014: Lena Eliasson dominates the first day

The Andalucia O' Meeting's fifth edition started today at Punta Umbría, Spain. Intense and exciting, the first day was marked by two stages counting for the world ranking, the Middle Distance in the morning and, in the afternoon, the Sprint stage. In the competition program, the common denominator is named Lena Eliasson, the winner of both stages.

Sun-O, Punta Umbria Municipality, Spanish Orienteering Federation and a set of institutional entities more, join hands in organizing the AOM 2014. After four consecutive years based in Canos de Meca (Barbate), the organization turns now to the western part of Andalucia, specifically to Punta Umbria, a municipality sport friendly and used to host some major international competitions. Forest, sand dunes and urbanized areas, with a greater than 13 km2, were mapped to host the event, offering to the more than nine hundred participants the ideal conditions in this time of the year.

The competition program got its start this morning with the Middle Distance WRE course in El Portil map. In the Men Super Elite class, Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen - Nacka) was the fastest, running the 7.2 km (29 control points) in 33:28 and leaving Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) at the distance of 1:31. Gernot Kerschbaumer (Pan Kristiansand OK) completed the podium with a record of 35:19, while Antonio Martinez Perez was the best Spanish athlete, reaching the 11th position, 3:33 behind the winner. In the women's Elite, Lena Eliasson (Domnarvets GoIF) finished the 5 km of her course (24 control points) in 27:52, relegating to the second and third positions, with more 0:52 and 1:43 respectively, Annica Gustafsson and Ausrine Kutkaite, both representing the IFK Lidingo SOK. Highlight for the Portuguese Vera Alvarez (CPOC), the best Iberian athlete, finishing in the 12th place with more 5:10 than Lena Eliasson.

In the afternoon, the urban center of Punta Umbría received the Sprint stage and Lena Eliasson showed up again being the strongest one. The Swedish athlete spent 13:05 for a distance of 2.5 km (15 control points), leaving behind her the British Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) and Maija Sianoja (Team Finland), who spent more 0:12 and 0:29 than the winner. The Portuguese Mariana Moreira (CPOC) was the best Iberian athlete, finishing in the 24th position with a record of 14:34. As for the Men Super Elite class, Gustav Bergman was “only” the 2nd placed, ex-aequo with Antti Anttonen (Team Finland), spending 13:48 to complete the 2.9 km of his course (19 control points). The winner was the Belgian Yannick Michiels (OK Ravinen - Nacka), with the record of 13:27. The Spanish Andreu Blanes Reig (Colivenc) showed up again in a really good shape, finishing 5th, 0:35 behind the winner.

The Andalucia O' Meeting 2014 will end tomorrow with the Long Distance stage in Punta Umbría. All information at

Joaquim Margarido

Ursula Häusermann: "Learning from experience is an important way to avoid making mistakes in the future"

Once again the IOF MTB Orienteering (MTBO) Commission has sought to analyse the quality of MTBO competition at world level. For this purpose the Commission invited those interested to answer a questionnaire about the three most important events of the 2013 international calendar: the European Championships (Poland), the World Championships (Estonia) and the World Cup final round (Portugal). These three events have all been assessed from various angles by the respondents to the questionnaire. Some final conclusions are presented here by Ursula Häusermann (SUI), a member of the Commission.

What was the IOF MTBO Commission’s main aim in launching this questionnaire?

Ursula Häusermann (U. H.) - The online questionnaire, which can be filled in by competitors, coaches, media people, spectators etc., is one of the “tools” that helps the MTBO Commission to assess event quality. Evaluation is very important and crucial to improving event quality further and to developing our sport. MTBO has now evaluated two full years (2012 and 2013), and we’re happy to share our experiences with others.

Shouldn’t the organisers themselves ask for feedback about their own events?

U. H. - Organising a major event such as a World Cup round involves a lot of work and I don’t think that organisers would have the time to conduct a survey themselves, although it’s also in the organisers’ own interest to know what the participants thought about their event. There’s no need for organisers to be afraid of being evaluated, because in my opinion most people who give feedback via the online questionnaire try to do so in a fair way. On the contrary, the event evaluation might even be a motivation to organise everything as well as possible. Moreover, learning from experience is an important factor to avoid mistakes in the future.

Did you consider the number of responses to be a sufficiently representative sample of all the participants in the three World Cup events last season?

U. H. - This online survey was done for the second time in 2013, and there are almost 3. times more responses than in 2012. A total of 62 people (including teams) gave feedback on the four events in 2012, while 159 responses were received for the three World Cup rounds last year. When we compare the number of responses with the number of participants, we see that overall about 46% of all participants filled in the questionnaire in 2013. Not surprisingly there are more answers when the organisation of an event gives reason for complaint; this means that negative feedback is more readily given than praise, which I think is a shame. So for 2014 I hope for lots of feedback but well-organised events!

I’d like to add that the feedback from participants via the online questionnaire is not the only way that the MTBO Commission assesses event quality.

U. H. - Some Commission members always attend the events as well, which gives us the chance to see or experience things for ourselves and to talk to participants face to face during the event. Furthermore, the Event Advisers and organisers inform the IOF in the form of written reports about how theevent went and about particular incidents or problems.

What do you feel about the results?

U. H. - The results show that two of the three World Cup rounds were very well organised, but unfortunately one got a lot of negative feedback. It’s no secret that the quality of this event was well below average. Therefore it could be expected that the answers in the online questionnaire wouldn’t be favourable. Two or three questions will be optimised for the 2014 questionnaire, but all in all I’d say that the responses can be considered as being quite a truthful indicator of the quality of an event.

Do you want to tell me anything about those items whose set of answers gave strong indications to the Commission that something must be done to prevent further problems in the future?

U. H. - As I already mentioned, the event quality of one event in 2013 was unfortunately quite poor and gave reason for serious concern within the MTBO Commission and the IOF Council. From the graphs, it’s clearly visible in which areas the problems occurred: maps, accommodation & food, publicity & media and bike mechanic services. The first two points are really vital for the competitors. A poorly organised event isn’t only a disappointment for the MTBO Commission, it’s most of all so for the athletes. Therefore it’s clear to the Commission that we must do everything in our power to prevent similar problems in the future.

If I may, I’d like to give some tips to organisers: Allow enough time for your work – especially mapping – and plan well ahead, try to anticipate possible problems, look at your event through the eyes of a competitor and, last but not least, ask your Event Adviser for help, if necessary, and make use of the many useful resources you can find on the IOF website.

Will the treatment given to the results and the conclusions generate a set of recommendations, or may it even lead to a proposal for changing some rules?

U. H. - Yes, sure, it often happens that rules amendments become an issue when evaluating an event. This is quite natural as the rules (should) evolve with the sport. Proposals for rules changes come also from Event Advisers or the Athletes’ Commission. Basically, the MTBO Commission evaluates event quality by analysing the feedback from competitors and by studying the event reports from organisers and advisers. The results of this evaluation are the basis for the education of Event Advisers and for documents for organisers and Event Advisers, e.g. the Guidelines for Organisers and the Handbook for Event Advisers, documents which can be found on the IOF website. Together with the Event Advisers, the MTBO Commission tries to give as much support to the organisers as possible.

Will we continue to receive an invitation to participate in this kind of questionnaire promoted by the Commission?

U. H. - Yes, definitely! The MTBO Commission appreciates the competitors’ feedback very much. What I can say for certain is that the responses and remarks from the athletes and coaches won’t just disappear in a “black box”!

Finally, I ask you what you would like to see happen in 2014.

U. H. - Well, I’d like to get more than 100 feedback responses on each event in 2014, and I’d be happy to see no red or orange graphs in the event evaluation for 2014. So I wish good preparation and good health to all MTBO athletes and lots of success to the organisers with their event!

The evaluation results can be found on the IOF website in the MTBO section.

[See the original article on Inside Orienteering 01/2014, at Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation]

Joaquim Margarido