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 http://www.tractrac.com/index.php?page=eventpage&id=367 -, 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 http://mco2014.ori-estarreja.pt/.
[Photo: MCO 2014 / Facebook]