Saturday, March 01, 2014

POM 2014: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli start off on the right foot

It's now very difficult to find a title for the orienteering events in Portugal which does not include the names of Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou. It has been so in the recent years, so it was also the last weekend and its the same story in the opening stage of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2014. In a very technical terrain, the two athletes knew better than anyone to out into the field their outstanding qualities, demonstrating once again why they are the leaders of the IOF's World Rankings.

The winter is close to the end and the athletes are preparing the first major clashes of the season. In this way, the Portugal O' Meeting is on the route of the best world elite athletes. The prestige achieved by the Portuguese event is the cause that Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou, along with some other excellent elite athletes heading once more to Portugal. Awaiting them, it will have four days of the best orienteering, the first of which has already held today in Vila Nova de Tazem, in the municipality of Gouveia. Organized by CPOC – Clube Português de Orientação e Corrida and the Municipality of Gouveia, the opening stage had the participation of about 1600 athletes, for a high technical Mid Distance course, under adverse weather conditions.

Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou were uncontested winners, leaving the feeling in the air that we will see the two athletess at the highest place of the podium in the end of the four days of the event, as happened in 2012 and 2013. Gueorgiou was again at his best, dominating from the start to the finish and leaving his closest rival, the Swede Oskar Sjöberg, more than three minutes away. In the women's course, Simone Niggli was perfect in the second half of the route, recovering from an advantage of 45 seconds and relegating the Swedish Annica Gustafsson and Annika Billstam - the latter, 2nd in POM 2013 - for the immediate positions with 1:15 and 1:17 of difference , respectively.


In the end, Simone Niggli was a little surprised with the result : “It was a quite challenging course and I was very surprised when I saw that I won the Elite. I had huge problems in the begginning, I did a big mistake for the 6th control and also at the 7th control, and I think it was quite difficult course, even though there was a lot of paths. When you get in those stony places, you've to be very careful and some times I couldn't read the map very precisely, it was black.” About the second half of the course, the athlete leaves her analysis: “I didn't hear that I was 45 seconds behind, so perhaps that was good (laughs). What I knew is that I really had to take one control after another and I think that Annika [Billstam] has missing in the second part.” And some final words about the next days: “The results are not the most important, since I'm retired fron the competition and I'am looking for interesting terrains. I ran yesterday the Model Event and it was beautiful. I think the terrains will be a bit like that tomorrow and the other days. There are still many controls to do and I hope to make them as good as possible.”


Men Super Elite
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 45:58
2. Oskar Sjöberg (OK Linné) 49:15 (+3:17)
3. Erik Ivarsson Sandberg (IFK Lidingö) 50:14 (+4:16)
4. Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 50:27 (+4:29)
5. Lauri Sild (Hiidenkiertäjät) 50:42 (+4:44)
6. Oskari Liukkonen (Hiidenkiertäjät) 50:46 (+4:48)
7. Rassmus Andersson (OK Linné) 50:55 (+4:57)
8. Jan Prochazka (Kalevan Rasti) 51:26 (+5:28)
9. Anton Östlin (MOKS) 51:38 (+5:40)
10. Jakob Lööf (MOKS) 51:42 (+5:44)

Women Elite
1. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 49:29
2. Annica Gustafsson (IFK Lidingö) 50:44 (+1:15)
3. Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 50:46 (+1:17)
4. Helena Karlsson (IFK Lidingö) 52:49 (+3:20)
5. Kristin Lofgren (Varegg) 53:38 (+4:09)
6. Elin Mansson (IFK Göteborg) 54:19 (+4:50)
7. Ulrika Uotila (Koovee) 54:56 (+5:27)
8. Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) 55:07 (+5:38)
9. Outi Ojanen (Kangasala SK) 55:33 (+6:04)
10. Anna Bachman (IFK Lidingö) 55:39 (+6:10)

See all information at

Joaquim Margarido

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