If there is, in the Trail orienteering world, a person that inspires the utmost respect and admiration, Marit Wiksell is for sure one of the strongest names. Despite her youth, the results of his remarkable career speak for themselves. Marit will be in Portugal defending her European PreO title and she is the Portuguese Orienteering Blog invited of today.
In two weeks, we'll have in Portugal the ETOC. Are you prepared for the competition?
Marit Wiksell (M. W.) - I feel well prepared for the championship, even though it takes place so early in the season. I have mostly done mentally preparation so far, but I will also have some PreO training and competitions before I go to Portugal. I’ve also done some internet TempO, which is a great way to maintain the speed and map reading skills during the winter.
Portugal. Isn't it a “strange” place for the European Trail orienteering Championships?
M. W. - When I first heard about Portugal as organizer of ETOC, I was actually a bit sceptical, since I haven’t heard about any trail orienteers from Portugal before. Since then I have met some of you, and I have noticed that you are very willing to learn more about TrailO and that is very important to be able to organize such an event. With that positive spirit and good help from the Event Advisors, I think that Portugal can offer really nice and fair competitions!
What kind of event are you expecting?
M. W. - I’m really looking forward to the European Championships and I’m expecting challenging courses in interesting terrain. I have actually never been to Portugal (only to Madeira, on vacation), but I have understood that the terrain is quite different from what I am used to in Sweden. It will definitely be a challenge to understand how this kind of terrain is mapped, but I hope that I can improve that knowledge during the Model Event. Since I have no experience from Portuguese TrailO, it’s not that easy to know what to expect from the competitions and the course planning. The Model Event will be an important indication on how to solve the problems in the best way. The TempO competition, which takes place on a golf course, feels more familiar and I have an idea about what to expect from a course in that type of terrain.
To be the European Champion in PreO brings you an additional pressure?
M. W. - My feeling is actually the opposite. Being the European Champion gives me the possibility to relax a little bit, since I can trust that I have the capability of performing my best at an important event. I would have felt more nervous and insecure without my past successes and the gold medal from 2012. Now I can really enjoy the competitions and have fun, but I also know the feeling of being the best and I want to experience that again!
Is there someone that you see as major opponents?
M. W. - There are many very good trail orienteers coming to Portugal, but I have to say that the major opponents are from Sweden and Finland. The Swedish team is very strong and every one of us has the capability of taking a medal. It might actually be more difficult to win ETOC than WTOC, since there are more competitors from each country.
Your bet is more in PreO or TempO?
M. W. - It’s not possible for me to choose between PreO and TempO. I focus equally much on them both. There are probably less competitors with capability of taking the TempO gold medal, but at the same time the margins are very small in TempO. There is a higher risk of making wrong decisions, since you have to make them really fast. Many can win PreO gold medal, but there are other skills that are decisive and there is more time and thoughts behind every decision. I think that I have equally chance of both gold medals, but that it might be a little bit easier for me to be top three in TempO than top three in PreO.
What will be a good result, in your case?
M. W. - I would probably be disappointed if I would come home without any medal.
And what about the season? What is your main goal?
M. W. - There are two TrailO championships this year, except from ETOC in Portugal there is also WTOC in Italy, in July. These two are my main goals. Currently I am 100 % focused on ETOC but it’s nice to know that I will get another chance of championship medals this year. There are also other important events which I’m looking forward to, for example the unofficial European Cup and the Swedish championships.
I would like to ask you to make a wish for the European Championships.
M. W. - I wish for a Swedish success and a very nice week in Portugal with high level competitions!