Our guest today reached one of the great achievements of the European Trail Orienteering Championships, finishing fourth in the PreO competition. In this short interview, Laima Lažinskienė recalls the best moments of the Portuguese journey and talks about herself and the TrailO, a discipline embraced twenty-five years ago.
Could you tell me something about yourself and your relation with TrailO?
Laima Lažinskienė (L. L.) - I am 62 years old and I live in Kaunas, Lithuania. For many years, I've been committed to Foot Orienteering and Mountaineering. In 1988 I had a big car accident, after which I had to do more than ten operations on my legs that left me in constant pain. Then I started practicing TrailO.
Is there any special moment that you recall with emotion?
L. L. - When, in Palmela, I congratulated Ola Jansson for his second place, I told him that I was very happy. What I didn't tell him was that my happiness had to do with the fact that I was shaking hands to my idol in TrailO, since, in 2010, he became the winner of ETOC and WTOC.
How did you prepare yourself for the ETOC 2014?
L. L. - There wasn't too much time to train for ETOC, but it wasn't an obstacle to be selected for the Lithuanian team. The journey to Portugal wasn't as enjoyable as I expected though. My luggage got lost with my special shoes and clothes, therefore I had to take part in this competition in my winter shoes.
You took a great result on PreO overall, in the Paralympic Class. Did you expect the 4th place?
L. L. - I always wish for the best result, but I never plan it. I try do my best and I just feel happy with every control. The pride that I felt when I heard announced the name of my country, Lithuania, was unbelievable and unreal. Only the best take part in ETOC and WTOC. Because of a small budget, we, the Lithuanian athletes, have few opportunities to take part in competitions in other countries, therefore, we mainly compete here, in Lithuania, and in Latvia.
Is TrailO in the right way?
L. L. - There is a sad issue. We, who take part in the Paralympic class, feel being discriminated, because only one member usually is selected to be part of the national team. If Paralympic and Open classes were separated also in the PreO Team competition, we would have a very strong Paralympic team. It is very disappointing that Paralympic and Open classes are not separated in the TempO competition, as well.
Overall, how do you evaluate the ETOC?
L. L. - The Portuguese did a fantastic job in organizing ETOC. And you can be proud of your work. We had a few days extra, so we did some traveling around and Portugal is beautiful. Well, anyway, TrailO is the best and I will see you in Italy.