Big promoter of the sport in Palmela and one of its most visible faces at the Scholar Sports in Portugal, Ricardo Chumbinho is the EOC/ETOC'14 and WCup Event Director. He is also the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's invited of today.
How did you feel, since the beginning, the challenge of being the first responsible for the most important Orienteering event organized in Portugal ever?
Ricardo Chumbinho (R. C.) - It would be totally unfair if, answering to this question, I didn't say that “first responsible” is a term that can only be found in a formal approach... and that, until in this context, wouldn't be entirely true. Effectively, this is a team that no decision is made individually, without which would be absolutely unthinkable the organization of an event of this nature. My role in this structure turns out to arise naturally, since I have all my personal and professional life in this geographical area, I know the people and the places, I develop here the sport with other colleagues for exactly 20 years and therefore, from this point view and also because I integrate the management structure of the Portuguese Orienteering Federation, I am well placed to help with the many needs that arise almost daily in the last two years. Having developed my activity as “Event Director” only in local events and linked to the School Sports, I have to recognize some initial concern about the scale of what we were guessing, but at the same time a great comfort to be sure that I could count on the collaboration and unreserved support of a large number of people and which is a true privilege to work with, including here also the people of the municipality. I was right!
How is it going the preparation work of the event?
R. C. – I would say that, within the potentialities and limitations of a structure like ours - with weaknesses (not professional structure) and strengths (huge voluntarism) -, the preparation work, that began in the summer of 2011 with the design specifications of the application and the promotional video, is taking place in order to achieve an excellent result which will be characterized by a balance between the great and the possible, always keeping in mind that our primary responsibility is to ensure that the European Championship titles will be allocated fairly and in a situation of equal opportunities for all athletes. And that will also provide references to dignify national and internationallly the sport in our country, as well as the promotion of our territory.
EOC? ETOC? I ask you to decode this.
R. C. - EOC and ETOC are the initials of Pedestrian and Trail competitions, respectively European Orienteering Championship and European Trail orienteering Championship and, indeed, in our organization, have emerged together, since for us it is a unique event. They are two disciplines of the same sport and we want to do everything so that the inclusive nature of our sport be clearly present on this event: The acronym and the logo are unique, we have a single organizing committee, one event center only, opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies and prize giving ceremonies in common etc., etc. .
What may represent an event of this nature for the municipalities of Palmela and Sesimbra and, in general, for our country?
R. C. - To Palmela is certainly a milestone in its history of sports development, since it is the first time that the municipality receives in its territory a sporting event at the level of an European Championship. Also worth pointing out the fact that this happens with the orienteering not by accident, since orienteering has been a strong vector of the local sports development, well supported by the Municipality of Palmela. I would like to sign up the curiosity of an ephemeris noted in 2014: 20 years of the sport in Palmela, uninterrupted and constantly developed.
In another dimension, we can use several recent examples to also say that this event will be a major factor boosting the local economy, since we are talking about hundreds of people in need of lodging, food and travel for a week, to which we may add the normal souvenir shopping and regional products, including wine and dining, and other. This reasoning can also be extended to other areas of the country and other periods, since we know that several teams have been among us for the preparation and training camps before the competition .
On the other hand, the mapping (new or revised) that getting this event, represents an important set of opportunities for future events. I should remember that, between FootO and TrailO, we are talking about more than a dozen competitions, all in different locations and maps .
What are, in your perspective , the highlights of the event?
R. C. - We have tried to design a program that enhances numerous points of interest not only in sports, so the answer to the question is not easy. We'll have, from a sportive, social and protocolar point of view, several interesting moments. Anyway, I have a strong expectation regarding on Sunday afternoon, April 13th, since we have the B final sprint, the Opening Ceremony and the big finals of the Sprint. Despite being very limited by the IOF's new and rigid protocol, we have been working with our partner Palmela Municipality towards the Opening Ceremony to be very interesting. On the other hand, knowing very well the area where the competition will take place, I am sure that will be very challenging Sprint courses, technically and physically speaking, which will be “decorated” by animation at the Arena, provided by our speaker and images live, broadcasted on a giant screen. On the other hand, everything happens in Palmela where the view over the Barris Valley, Sado Estuary and Arrábida Natural Park is absolutely superb.
Would you like to leave a message, an invitation?
R. C. - A message: that everyone support an event that is of all and for all, because the profits that may result here will be capitalized in the sport itself and, this way, it will return to each of us. An invitation: If, for some reason, you might not be able to collaborate with the organization, then please consider to participate in one or more stages of the EOC Tour or, alternatively, enjoy the Sunday April 13th afternoon to completely fill the Largo de S. João in Palmela either the Opening Ceremony and the Sprint Finals. For those who are further away, still gets the invitation to follow the competition at home, via streaming or watching the xourses' evolution via gps.