Commander of the Brazilian Navy and a driving force of Orienteering in Brazil, Rubens Igreja was in Portugal, participating, along with two other Brazilian ambassadors of this sport – Marcelo Malato and José Ferreira Barros -, in the 1st Clinic of Organization and Course Setting in Trail Orienteering, held in Praia da Tocha on 13th and 14th December. Here is an overview on his impressions, a mix of humility and hope in the foundation of Trail Orienteering in Brazil.
What means your presence in the Clinic organized by the Portuguese Orienteering Federation?
Rúbens Igreja (R. I.) - The Trail Orienteering has always been a dream for us, especially for its value for social inclusion through the sport. Brazil already had Trail Orienteering activities, but in a sporadic, isolated and inconsequential way. Our goal will now go to develop a project that has already been approved by Brazil's Ministry of Defence and whose first step is to be here, at the Clinic. Then we will take this knowledge to Brazil, seeking to apply it not only in the military sphere but especially in civilian matters, where the issue of social exclusion is a very serious problem. We will continue this effort to learn more in 2015 and seek to prepare athletes and coaches, passing what we have learned here, on a consolidated basis and without haste, so that in December 2015 we may be able to organize our first Trail Orienteering course in Brazil. This is a process that is underway and that will not end.
What about the Clinic? Would you like to share with us the big news?
R. I. - The big news? ... For us, everything is new! We were almost totally unaware of the Trail Orienteering. We realized immediately the importance and the value of the mapping. The cartographer has here a key role. It is different from FootO, here the accuracy is a must. Coupled with the cartographer, also the course setter is critical to the viability of the course, creating equal conditions of participation for people with and without disabilities. In fact, this Clinic is something completely new, but everything we learned starts to make sense. We could articulate the theoretical part, dense, full of new concepts with a practical, full of challenges but where the logic prevails. We can see here the secure foundations so that we can, in a doctrinal way, develop our work in Brazil. In addition, Nuno Pires and Joaquim Margarido are giving us a huge help at this stage. Thank you for your good will, dedication and attention. We clearly understand your interest in helping us and that is, for us, very important.
What questions arise before the acquired skills?
R. I. - [Trail Orienteering] It's a big challenge and a huge responsibility. But we are eager to face the difficulties and embrace the challenge. Brazil is a country with a huge social inequality and we must be aware of this phenomenon. Being a Sport for All, the Trail Orienteering is not just for disabled person moving in a wheelchair. It is also for the athlete who practices Foot Orienteering, so he can increasingly improve the Orienteering technique. We know that the difficulties are immense, but we will not falter. Let us work, let's move on and we will spread Trail Orienteering all over Brazil.
Although conducted by the Ministry of Defence and the Navy of Brazil, I imagine that the project also has the support of Brazilian clubs ...
R. I. - This is our goal, but at this early stage we need to organize ourselves. We have to build on, standardize procedures and then trigger the project. In a second phase we'll expand and this expansion will have its starting point at Rio de Janeiro. In addiction, we counted on this course with the presence of Marcelo Malato, President of the Rio de Janeiro Orienteering Federation and that is also our “master cartographer”. Let's start in the military environment, with the intention to continue with this effort of integration to the civil environment. From there we will spread the Trail Orienteering throughout Brazil and involve in this process the Brazilian Orienteering Confederation. It will be a similar process to the one who is going with the MTB Orienteering.
From a competitive point of view, when will we see the first results of the project?
R. I. - In February 2015 we will return to Portugal for the Portugal O 'Meeting, in which we'll seek to follow a part of the planning, organization and implementation of the course. The Portugal O' Meeting is for us a world reference and to be present is the guarantee that we will follow and learn more. But answering directly to your question, let me give you note, in first hand, of our intention to bring an athlete ours, an athlete of the Brazilian Navy that had an accident but continues to practice Foot Orienteering. It is an athlete with a huge Orienteering basis, an athlete already “graduate”, but it's a Paralympic athlete and that need to know the specifics of Trail Orienteering. We have two months to work with him and look forward with curiosity to see their results at the Portugal O' Meeting. It will be, therefore, the first for a Brazilian paralympic athlete to participate in an international TrailO competition.
Now that we are at the turn of another page, another year, I would ask you for a vote in 2015?
R. I. - Health for all, this is our first wish. Without health you can't have energy and we need all the energy to be able to put into practice our desires, our dreams. As a representative of Orienteering, the Armed Forces and Brazil, I would like to reaffirm our desire to develop this sport in our country, in all aspects. Hence we expect, in partnership with this country very friend who is Portugal, can reap experiences in order to develop our Orienteering, raising it to higher and higher levels, both in terms of competitive performance as the organization's point of view. The results will be a consequence of this organization and a correct planning. We close this year already thinking about 2015 ... and 2016 ... and 2017. Because this won't stop!