Friday, February 28, 2014

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 http://www.pom.pt/en/ and http://www.cm-gouveia.pt/.

Joaquim Margarido



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