Monday, June 30, 2014

Luís Gonçalves: "TrailO's current moment leaves me enthusiastic and, at the same time, slightly suspicious"



The results achieved so far in Trail Orienteering Portugal Cup 2014 make of him one of the greatest sensations of the season. On the eve of his departure to Italy, where he will represent our country for the first time in a major international competition, he talks to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog about his interest in this sport and projects the future.


Your appreciation for TrailO, is it something that appears almost spontaneously, in relation with a precise moment, or is it the consequence of a growing process, that has been extending over time?

Luís Gonçalves (L. G.) - Until 2013, my involvement with TrailO was, in a certain way, rather small. I helped a little in the club (CPOC) organizations (“Parque Eduardo VII” and Iberian Championship in Gouveia), but my participation was mostly non-existing, either because I gave preference to foot orienteering, or because it was difficult to reconcile some events with the family agenda. But the Portugal “O” Meeting 2014 radically changed my appreciation for TrailO. My involvement with the whole preparation (technical and logistical) of that event and especially the enthusiastic and meticulous way Acácio (Porta Nova, course planner) transmitted me the rules and techniques really motivated and prepared me for the post-POM events. With the result obtained in the event at “Parque das Nações” and the possibility of being selected for the WTOC 2014, my appreciation and interest for this discipline increased even more. Thus, if we consider the period since late 2013 until now, I can say that it has been an evolutionary process.

What do you see in TrailO that makes it such a special discipline?

L. G. - Most of all, it is a discipline that allows some people (frequently forgotten) to practice our sport, to enjoy our forests and most of all to compete in a less unequal manner. TrailO, being almost exclusively a technical discipline, is much more demanding with respect to map reading, to the analysis of the problems that the course planner defined and to the balance between the correct answer and the time we take to decide (at timed controls). And, of course, it can also be seen as an excellent technical training for those that strive for good results in foot orienteering.

The development of the discipline in Portugal and the way it has been collecting interest among the orienteering community, what comments do they provoke in you? Are we going in the right direction?

L. G. - I would say that the TrailO's current moment leaves me enthusiastic and, at the same time, slightly “suspicious”. Starting with the negative aspect, TrailO continues to be neglected by a large group of athletes, many of them with a significant weight in our sport (either because they are our best athletes, or because they are recognized as excellent organizers and/or technicians). In part that is understandable, there is no physical component and not everybody has to like it. But on the other hand, if we never try a serious event, how can we have an opinion and judge? Besides, the organizing costs are high, new and expensive (due to the needed detail) maps are needed, and more than that the technical knowledge and supervision are very concentrated. Will the excellent impact on the ETOC 2014 remain alive for the following years?

But the most important is what has actually happened and that I want that continues happening. It is very positive to see the majority of the larger clubs involved in and dedicated to the organization of TrailO events, to see the exponential growth of registrations in the last events, to see the younger athletes participating (and to what extent!), to see clubs like DAHP and CRN (including many participants in wheelchairs) growing in numbers, to observe the synergies between clubs (will that be the future of our sport?), and to watch a large number of athletes with similar competencies and that are trying to evolve. The organizers want to continuously improve the quality of their events, they try to increasingly challenge the athletes and naturally the exigency grows. In fact, we only need to look at the latest (unofficial) European Cup in Lithuania and national (“Lagoa da Vela”) events, and remember (those who had the opportunity to attend) the excellent words of Nuno Pires (the national technical director) to understand that only with the evolution of the athletes/organizers will the TrailO grow and consolidate in Portugal.

PreO or TempO? Which of the two formats gets your preference?

L. G. - I think that my characteristics fit better in PreO, because it allows me to analyze the problems calmly, to address the challenges created by the course planners from different perspectives and to manage the response time. However, following a seemingly generalized opinion, TempO may very well be the future of TrailO, perhaps for the fact that it is much more dynamic, more attractive to youngsters and it seems possible, in the short term, to allow following it live.

You have warrant, for your own merit, a place in the portuguese team that will participate in the next world championship, in Italy. How do you face this opportunity?

L. G. - I am very pleased for having the opportunity to represent the Portuguese orienteering, and Portugal at the WTOC 2014! It is a unique moment that will allow me to be on the other side of the great international competitions, and to contact with the best TrailO athletes. At the same time, it is a great responsibility, because many other people might be in my place.

Can you state a goal, in terms of personal results for the next WTOC?

L. G. - It is difficult to define something that will be minimally realistic, taking into account the small number of events that I did and the fact that I have no international experience. The majority of the other national teams have very experienced athletes, which makes the competition very tight and demanding. Any fault may yield the loss of many places in the classification. Anyway, my main bet is the PreO competition, where I will try to take advantage of the longer duration of the events (more time to decide per problem) to try to enter the top 25. With respect to TempO, if I participate, I will try to reach the final although it is very difficult because it is hard for me to answer fast.

And with respect to the Portuguese team? What may we expect?

L. G. - We have not talked about that subject yet, but since they all participated in the last ETOC one of their goals may be to improve the results that they obtained there. In my opinion, each one of them, if he is consistent, may obtain a place in the PreO top 20. Our national team has a very balanced level and that may also allow the improvement of the team result.

More than a TrailOrienteer, you are still and above all one of our good values in foot orienteering. For the foot orienteering people, in particular, what does the “Luís-Gonçalves-TrailOrienteer” have to say?

L. G. - Come and try, take advantage of the technical training. Encourage the realization of initiation activities inside your clubs or even interclub activities.

Are we going to continue seeing you committed and motivated to do TrailO for how much longer?

L. G. - Within my availability I will continue participating and, beyond that, contributing so that CPOC and other clubs may organize events with quality, so that more athletes may participate as well.

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, June 28, 2014

EYOC 2014: Czech Republic's Relay twice gold



By winning two gold medals in Relay, the Czech Republic gave the best note in the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014's last day of competition. The Portuguese teams have failed to keep the pace for the leaders and the 12th position in M16 class was the best result.


With the dispute of the Relay, again in Suvi Laki, the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014 came to the end. The two victories achieved by the Czech Republic in the last day of competition put it, alongside to Finland, as the most golden team of these European Championships, soon followed by Switzerland, with two gold medals and Hungary, Poland, Norway and Portugal, with one title each. Individually, the Finnish Olli Ojanaho was the great figure of EYOC 2014 reaching the gold medal in Sprint and Long Distance and the silver medal in Relay. Also deserve to be mentioned the three medals of the Finnish Tuomas Heikkilä and the Czech Tereza Jánošíkova, in M16 and W16 class, respectively, reaching the silver in the Sprint, winning the bronze in the Long Distance and getting today the gold medal in the Relay. In the three days overall, Finland was the big winner of EYOC 2014, repeating the result of the last edition.

Starting with the Relay in the M18 class, note that Swiss and Norwegians started with the right foot, appearing to be all set on the second leg with Elijah Mølnvik (Norway) to take the lead with a good advantage over the main favourites. With a disadvantage of 6:44 to the lead, Olli Ojanaho did a superb final leg but that just gave it the second position. Norway turned out to be the big winner with a total time of 1:51:47, less 1:58 to the Finns and 2:07 than the Swedes, ranked third. In this class, the Portuguese Daniel Catarino was able to run with the leading group for long time, ending his leg in a promising 7th place. The second leg, however, turned out to tear up the Portuguese aspirations in beat the 10th place of Soria, in 2010 - the best ever so far - with André Esteves falling to the 20th place. João Novo recovered four positions in the final leg, but it is noticed that the fnal result could have been better to our colours.


12th place for the Portuguese

Looking to the M16 class, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Finland did an intense fight for the victory throughout the race, alternating for this order the command of operations. In the final leg, while the Czech Daniel Vandas sank hopelessly, Switzerland saw their leadership by 1:25 be voided by an excellent course of Tuomas Heikkilä, finishing with a time of 1:35:58 and a lead of 2:32 and 9:06 over the Swiss and Czech, respectively. As for the Portuguese, after the results of Ricardo Esteves and João Bernardino in the previous days of competition, it was here that lived the high expectations. Improving the 6th place achieved in Soria was not an unrealistic task, everybody knew it, but the truth is that the unfortunate start of João Bernardino ended definitively with our aspirations. At distant twelve minutes of the places of honour and in the 19th position, Ricardo Esteves was a giant, recovering five minutes and going up five places in the classification. Major figure of the World School Sports Orienteering Championships ISF 2013, António Ferreira finally emerged in this competition, securing to the portuguese team the 12th place at 27:58 to the winners.

As for the women, the Czech Republic reached the gold medal in both classes. The second leg revealed crucial in W16, with Tereza Jánošíkova to launch in the lead his colleague Barbora Vyhnálková with an advantage of 2:15. An advantage that, in the end, would range precisely three minutes, with the Czech team spending 1:19:36 against 1:22:36 from the Finnish team. Russia closed the podium with a time of 1:24:26. As for the D18 class, Poland started very well, leaving for the last leg with almost three minutes over the Czech Republic. The truth is that Weronika Cych eventually lost a sovereign opportunity to join to the gold medal won Thursday in the Sprint race also a victory in the Relay, and was Anna Šticková, from the Czech Republic, who offered to her country a much hailed victory in 1:46:36, 1:15 and 1:16 less than Sweden and Poland, second and third classified. With Beatriz Sanguino, a D16 class athlete, Portugal was disqualified at D18 Relay thanks to an "mp" from Catarina Reis.


Results (provisional)

M16
1. Finland 1:35:58
2. Switzerland 1:38:30 (+ 02:32)
3. Czech Republic 1:45:04 (+ 09:06)
4. France 1:54:12 (+ 18:14)
5. Lithuania 1:56:27 (+ 20:29)
6. Denmark 1:56:35 (+ 20:37)
(...)
12. Portugal 2:03:56 (+ 27:58)

W16
1. Czech Republic 1:19:36
2. Finland 1:22:36 (+ 03:00)
3. Russia 1:24:26 (+ 04:50)
4. Hungary 1:26:48 (+ 07:12)
5. Switzerland 1:27:00 (+ 07:24)
6. Geat Britain 1:31:10 (+ 11:34)

M18
1. Norway 1:51:47
2. Finland 1:53:45 (+ 01:58)
3. Sweden 1:53:54 (+ 02:07)
4. Switzerland 1:57:46 (+ 05:59)
5. Poland 2:03:23 (+ 11:36)
6. France 2:03:36 (+ 11:49)
(...)
16. Portugal 2:30:59 (+ 39:12)

W18
1. Czech Republic 1:46:36
2. Sweden 1:47:51 (+ 01:15)
3. Poland 1:47:52 (+ 01:16)
4. Finland 1:48:57 + 02:21)
5. Switzerland 1:51:06 (+ 04:30)
6. Russia 1:54:12 (+ 07:36)
(...)
mp Portugal

Complete results and further information at http://eyoc2014.mk/.

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, June 27, 2014

EYOC 2014: Historical triumph for Olli Ojanaho



Olli Ojanaho won the Long Distance course of the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014, in M18 class, making history in the competition thanks to his four gold medals, achieved in the short time of two years. Among the Portuguese, Ricardo Esteves turned to be our best athlete, finishing in the 15th place.


On its second day of competition, the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014 headed to Suvi Laki, near the border between Macedonia and Bulgaria, for the Long Distance finals. A course that would crown the Finnish Olli Ojanaho, winner in M18 class with the fantastic time of 46:32, far below that estimated by the organization, between 50 and 53 minutes. With this result, Ojanaho repeat the golden moments of 2013, taking the titles of Sprint and Long Distance and reaching an historic achievement by quoting as the first athlete to get, in sixteen editions of EYOC, the gold medal in the individual competitions four times in a row. And this is just his first year in the M18 class. The Russian Vladislav Malyshev and the Finnish Topi Raitanen occupied the immediate places in the podium, with more 4:00 and 4:34, respectively, than the winner.

Nine years after Sumperk and the gold medal of Dorottya Péley in the Sprint W16 class, Hungary celebrated again a European title, with Hanga Szuromi imposing herself to the concurrence in W16 class and achieving a much welcomed triumph with the time of 40:29. Jasmine Gassner (Austria) was second with 40:58, while the Czech Tereza Jánošíkova, silver medallist yesterday in the Sprint race, achieved the third place with more 1:03 than the winner. After winning the Sprint, at the W16 class, by Simona Aebersold, the Switzerland returned to see his waving flag on the highest pole thanks to the triumph of Hanna Müller in the W18 class. Narrow victory, this one, in the time of 50:21, with the Finnish Anna Haataja and the Czech Anna Šticková occupying the immediate positions with just 37 and 49 seconds respectively, to the winner. Finally, in M16 class, the Czech Daniel Vandas was the big winner with a record of 45:43, followed by the Swiss Andrin Gründler with 48:11 and the European vice-champion of Sprint, the Finnish Tuomas Heikillä, at distant 5:26.

Among the Portuguese, any resemblance to the performances of yesterday is pure illusion. Only João Bernardino, in M16 class, improved his results, concluding in an excellent 17th place with 57:42, just over five minutes to the places of honour. Better than this, only Ricardo Esteves, who was again in plan of evidence, finishing in the 15th position in the same class with a time of 56:31, the second best result ever of a Portuguese athlete at this distance and at this class (just remember that Luis Silva reached at Soria, four years ago, a fantastic 6th place). The EYOC 2014 will end tomorrow with the Relay.


Results

M16
1. Daniel Vandas (Czech Republic) 45:43
2. Andrin Gründler (Switzerland) 48:11 (+ 02:28)
3. Tuomas Heikkilä (Finland) 51:09 (+ 05:26)
4. Marcin Biederrman (Poland) 51:28 (+ 05:45)
5. Timo Suter (Switzerland) 51:32 (+ 05:49)
6. Vojtìch Sýkora (Czech Republic) 51:58 (+ 06:15)
(…)
15. Ricardo Esteves (Portugal) 56:31 (+ 10:48)
17. João Bernardino (Portugal) 57:42 (+ 11:59)
68. João Casal (Portugal) 1:21:56 (+ 36:13)
76. António Ferreira (Portugal) 1:29:37 (+ 43:54)

D16
1. Hanga Szuromi (Hungria) 40:29
2. Jasmina Gassner (Austria) 40:58 (+ 00:29)
3. Tereza Janošíkova (Czech Republic) 41:32 (+ 01:03)
4. Birte Friedrichs (Germany) 43:04 (+ 02:35)
5. Eliane Deininger (Switzerland) 43:16 (+ 02:47)
6. Anni Haanpää (Finland) 43:42 (+ 03:13)
(…)
76. Beatriz Sanguino (Portugal) 1:14:05 (+ 33:36)

H18
1. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 46:32
2. Vladislav Malyshev (Russia) 50:32 (+ 04:00)
3. Topi Raitanen (Finland) 51:06 (+ 04:34)
4. Olai Stensland Lillevold (Norway) 51:35 (+ 05:03)
5. Martin Šmelík (Slovakia) 53:05 (+ 06:33)
5. Arnaud Perrin (France) 53:05 (+ 06:33)
(…)
74. João Novo (Portugal) 1:13:54 (+ 27:22)
84. Daniel Catarino (Portugal) 1:18:46 (+ 32:14)
97. Bernardo Pereira (Portugal) 1:26:00 (+ 39:28)
100. André Esteves (Portugal) 1:32:30 (+ 45:58)

D18
1. Hanna Müller (Switzerland) 50:21
2. Anna Haataja (Finland) 50:58 (+ 00:37)
3. Anna Šticková (Czech Republic) 51:10 (+ 00:49)
4. Aleksandra Hornik (Poland) 52:25 (+ 02:04)
5. Anika Gassner (Austria) 52:38 (+ 02:17)
6. Solène Droin (France) 52:43 (+ 02:22)
(…)
64. Beatriz Moreira (Portugal) 1:17:46 (+ 27:25)
83. Catarina Reis (Portugal) 1:32:47 (+ 42:26)

Complete results and further information at http://eyoc2014.mk/.

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, June 26, 2014

EYOC 2014: Golden Sprint for Ricardo Esteves



Settlement, courage, strength and to believe until the end. With this ingredients, Ricardo Esteves achieved the title of Sprint in the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014, in M16 class, disputed this morning in the town of Strumica, Macedonia. A result of enormous value and meaning for the athlete and for the Portuguese Orienteering, a "punch on the table" creasing, again and loudly, that sport in Portugal is not only Football.


Seven years after Eger, Hungary, and the winning of the European Youth title of Sprint by Diogo Miguel – and, with it, the historic first gold medal ever for the Portuguese orienteering -, Ricardo Esteves repeated the achievement, by winning the Sprint course in M16 class. A very well designed course in the beautiful town of Strumica, and an absolutely perfect race for the Portuguese athlete, fulfilling the 1800 meters of his course in the fantastic time of 11:51 and leaving behind him the Finnish Tuomas Heikillä and the Czech Vojtěch Sýkora, with more 30 and 34 seconds, respectively.

In the W16 class, the Swiss Simona Aebersold was the big winner, running 1600 meters in 11:51, ahead of the Czech athletes Tereza Janošíkova and Tereza Čechova, with more 16 and 30 seconds, respectively. In M18 class, we could see the replay of the intense duel in the Sprint race of last EYOC, held in Portugal, then in the M16 class. Against the Finnish Olli Ojanaho, the Swiss Florian Attinger was again defeated by a margin of 21 seconds, with Ojanaho proving himself as one of the most promising names in world orienteering and winning with a time of 12:15 for 1800 meters. Finally, in the W18 class, the Polish Weronika Cych, EYOC bronze medallist in 2013, was the big winner, spending 13:29 to 1800 meters of her course. The Ukrainian Olena Postelniak ranked in the second position with eight seconds more than the winner, while the Norwegian Ingrid Lundanes was third with 13:42.

For the remaining Portuguese athletes, the results can be considered modest, with Beatriz Sanguino (30th ranked in W16), João Bernardino (41st overall in M16) and João Novo (37th place in M18) to get positions in the first half of the respective leader boards. The competition continues tomorrow with the Long Distance final starting at 09:00 local time, least one hour than in Portugal.


Results

M16
1. Ricardo Esteves (Portugal) 11:51
2. Tuomas Heikkilä (Finland) 12:21 (+ 0:30)
3. Vojtěch Sýkora (Czech Republic) 12:25 (+ 0:34)
4. Antonie Guenin (France) 12:34 (+ 0:43)
4. Ondřej Vystavěl (Czech Republic) 12:34 (+ 0:43)
6. Nicola Banfi (Switzerland) 12:41 (+ 0:50)
(…)
41. João Bernardino (Portugal) 14:10 (+ 2:19)
61. António Ferreira (Portugal) 15:05 (+ 3:14)
67. João Casal (Portugal) 15:24 (+ 3:33)

W16
1. Simona Aebersold (Switzerland) 11:51
2. Tereza Janošíkova (Czech Republic a) 12:07 (+ 0:16)
3. Tereza Čechova ( Czech Republic) 12:21 (+ 0:30)
4. Barbora Vyhnálkova (Czech Republic) 12:24 (+ 0:33)
5. Veera Klemettinen (Finland) 12:29 (+ 0:38)
6. Lise Termansen (Denmark) 12:55 (+ 1:04)
(…)
30. Beatriz Sanguino (Portugal) 14:30 (+ 2:39)

M18
1. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 12:15
2. Florian Attinger (Switzerland) 12:36 (+ 0:21)
3. Krzysztof Rzenca (Poland) 12:39 (+ 0:24)
4. Ville Johansson (Sweden) 12:44 (+ 0:29)
5. Anton Forsberg (Sweden) 12:46 (+ 0:31)
6. Dimitar Jeliazkov (Bulgaria) 12:54 (+ 0:39)
(…)
37. João Novo (Portugal) 13:54 (+ 1:39)
60. Daniel Catarino (Portugal) 14:35 (+ 2:20)
71. André Esteves (Portugal) 14:56 (+ 2:41)
90. Bernardo Pereira (Portugal) 16:16 (+ 4:01)

W18
1. Weronika Cych (Poland) 13:29
2. Olena Postelniak (Ukraine) 13:37 (+ 0:08)
3. Ingrid Lundanes (Norway) 13:42 (+ 0:13)
4. Anna Haataja (Finland) 13:47 (+ 0:18)
5. Karoliina Ukskoski (Finland) 13:56 (+ 0:27)
6. Simona Chládková (Czech Republic) 13:58 (+ 0:29)
(…)
53. Beatriz Moreira (Portugal) 16:19 (+ 2:50)
74. Catarina Reis (Portugal) 18:04 (+ 4:35)

Complete results and further information at http://eyoc2014.mk/.

Joaquim Margarido

Laima Lažinskienė: "TrailO is the best"



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.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

EYOC 2014: The final countdown!




Until Saturday, the city of Strumica, in southeastern Macedonia, host a new edition of the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014. More than 400 youngsters attend the event, which official program starts with the Model Event and will end with the Relay.


After Portugal, last October, the European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014 heads to Macedonia and to the city of Strumica to its 14th edition. An edition that brings the novelty of the number of participating countries amounting to 34, the largest recorded so far. In total there will be over 400 male and female young athletes in four classes (Men16/Women16 and Men18/Women18), fighting for the European titles in Sprint, Long Distance and Relay.

Consisting in eleven athletes, the Portuguese delegation leave to Macedonia last Friday, carrying in the luggage great expectations on the best results. António Ferreira, João Bernardino, João Casal and Ricardo Esteves (H16), Beatriz Sanguino (D16), Beatriz Moreira and Catarina Reis (D18) and Daniel Catarino, João Novo, André Esteves and Bernardo Pereira (H18) are the elements of the national team, captained by Hélder Ferreira and Norman Jones. A set that, although smaller, does not differ greatly from that presented in Peniche, Obidos and Caldas da Rainha, and in which Catarina Reis is the "freshwoman" in these wanderingss while, on the opposite field, Beatriz Moreira fulfills in Macedonia her fourth participation in the EYOC.

"The organizers are ready to host EYOC 2014," are the words of Mr. Toni Kostov, the Event Director, as we can see in the Press Release issued yesterday [HERE]. A document that highlights the support of the Municipality of Strumica and the National Agency for Youth and Sports of Macedonia and who doesn't forget the 150 volunteers from seven countries “who will help that this EYOC will be a perfect event for everyone.” One last reference to the fact that, along with the European Youth Orienteering Championships, will be held the Strumica Open, a four-day event with five international orienteering courses, including one IOF World Ranking Event course, and that will be attended for more than 400 participants from 20 countries.

For further information, please see the event webpage, at http://eyoc2014.mk/.

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

OSK Falco - Takas 2014, ECTO 3rd & 4th stages: Martin Jullum and Lars Jakob Waaler share victories


Martin Jullum reinforced his leadership in the Unofficial European Cup in TrailO 2014 after a victory and a third place achieved last weekend at Ignalina. Lars Jakob Waaler was the other winner of the Lithuanian journey.


With the dispute of its third and fourth stages, continued last weekend in Lithuania, the second edition of the Unofficial European Cup in TrailO 2014. Organized by OSK Falco, the event took place in the idyllic landscapes of Aukstaitija National Park in the east of the country, near the border with Belarus, with the presence of 35 athletes - including 9 Paralympics - representing eight countries.

With one control canceled and another amended following the complaints after the final, the first stage saw the Norwegian Martin Jullum make an almost perfect course, ensuring the victory with 25 points from 27 possible. In a race where all three immediate places were occupied by Ukrainian athletes, one of the most relevant aspects was the large discrepancy in terms of results, with the sixth ranked, the Finnish Anna Jacobson, at distant five points behind the winner.

Only 13th classified in the previous stage, the Norwegian Lars Jakob Waaler won the second day race, achieving a score of 21 points from possible 23. At one point to the winner, rated up for this order the Latvian Janis Ruksans, the Norwegians Martin Jullum and Widar Taxth Løland and the Ukrainian Mykola Opanasenko. After the first four stages, Martin Jullum keep the leadership of the Unofficial European Cup in TrailO 2014 with a total of 158 points, followed by the winner in 2013, his compatriot Lars Jakob Waaler, with 101 points. The Swedish Marit Wiksell is in the third position with 69 points, the same as the Latvian Janis Ruksans. To check the results and other information, please go to https://www.facebook.com/OSKFalco.


Ranking (after the 4th stage)
Unofficial European Cup in TrailO 2014

1. Martin Jullum (Norway) 158 points
2. Lars Jakob Waaler (Norway) 101 points 
3. Marit Wiksell (Sweden) 69 points
3. Janis Ruksans (Latvia) 69 points
5. Anna Jacobson (Finland) 66 points
6. Mykola Opanasenko (Ukraine) 58 points
7. Lauri Kontkanen (Finland) 56 points
8. Martin Fredholm (Sweden) 53 points
9. Anton Puhovkin (Ukraine) 52 points
10. Pinja Mäkinen (Finland) 51 points

The Unofficial European Cup in TrailO 2014 continues next weekend with the dispute in Tukums, Latvia, of the fifth and sixth stages [HERE].

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Maria Krog Schulz: "Results in Trail-O? I’m working on it!"



To embrace the TrailO for the worst reasons was, perhaps, the case of Maria Krog Schulz. Portuguese Orienteering Blog's invited today, the Danish athlete tells us about her experiences, recalls the ingenious device of the umbrella in the TempO Final at the recent European TrailO Championships and explains why she is known as “Miss Alpha-Delta”.


Something easy to start. Would you tell me who is Maria Krog Schulz?

Maria Krog Schulz (M. K. S.) - First, something about myself. My age – never ask a woman about her age. Let’s just say I have a tendency of acting as if I were 20, look like 32 (some say) and have the wisdom of 41. I was born in Odense, the city of H.C. Andersen. Right now I live in Sorgenfri, north of Copenhagen, with my two daughters. During my time of education - Art school and design school - I lived in different places around Denmark. Now I work as a graphic designer at a company called LØBEREN. We have seven shops in Denmark that sell all kind of gear for running – shoes, clothing, etc. My job is to do the marketing for the company, like magazines, flyers, brochures, website ...

My career in orienteering and Trail-O started when I was 3 years old. My dad started with foot-O and the whole family had to go, too. I was 8 years old the first time I ran a course alone. So in weekends when my dad went running somewhere I went too. I was never a fast runner but I have always been told I was good at Orienteering. During my teenage years and my twenties it was more a social thing and having fun rather than trying to win medals. I liked foot-O. The father of my children came into my life in my early twenties. He also ran foot-O. Back in 2003, he had an accident and broke his neck. Result: he was paralysed and today he is sitting in a wheelchair. In 2008 we went to a Folk Highschool for people with disabilities. One day we were presented to Trail-O by Knud and Vibeke Vogelius. At the end of the day, they asked us if we would like to go to the Nordic Championships, in Norway, the same year. And this is how my Trail-O career started. Results in Trail-O? I’m working on it! But last year, at the 2nd day of WTOC 2013, I had a shared first place which I’m proud of. I also a bronze medal in the team competition at both ETOC 2012 and WTOC 2013.

You've been recently in Portugal, competing at ETOC. Was it, in the beginning of the season, a major goal to be in Palmela?
M. K. S. - Getting a ‘ticket’ for ETOC 2014 in Portugal wasn't that difficult in Denmark because we are not many that practice Trail-O here. So I think it was more a question of who wants to pay for a ticket. We get very little reimbursement for the expenses.

How did you prepare yourself for the European Championships?

M. K. S. - Preparing for the ETOC and WTOC for me is taking part in competitions in Sweden when I have the time. Last summer, I went through a divorce so my mind and thoughts have been somewhere else for a long time. I think the last six months have been characterized by moving to a new place and figuring out where my life is going. But, when I have the time, I go to Sweden and participate in competitions. I would say it is one weekend each month, from April to October.

To miss three control points led you to the 23rd position in ETOC's PreO. Was it the result that you expected?

M. K. S. - Getting the 23rd position in ETOC wasn't my best result – actually, my worst one at an ETOC. Everytime I would like to do better than the last time – getting a better position every year. In 2010 I was in the 11th position, in 2012, in the16th place and now I'm in the 23rd position. So, you could say that I am going in the wrong direction. For WTOC it looks a bit better: 2009 I was in the 47th place, in 2010 in the 28th position, in 2011 I was in place 19, in 2012 I was in position 23 and now, in 2013, I was in 18th position.

Many competitors had few mistakes at this year's ETOC. I think it’s because it was a very easy course. To me it wasn’t a difficult map- and terrain reading but it was more about drawing a line between two points in the terrain. And then there were some controls where I was thinking: ‘is it an Alfa or a Zero’. Was the flag standing in the right spot on the north side of the tree or should it have been moved several degrees. I know there are rules that describe what can be a zero or not. And rules saying a lot of other things about positions for the flags. I still see myself as a new competitor so I’m still learning something new in every competition. Because so many competitors had non or only few mistakes it was very difficult to get a good position in the team competition. I had one mistake on the 2nd day, but Søren and Vibeke had a few more. And I think that is about it – nothing more to say there…

And what about TempO?

M. K. S. - Temp-O? Oh my god! It's a thriller for me. People are still talking and laughing. Short story – In the qualification I was misunderstood at least two times. When I said “Alfa”, I was noticed “Delta”. The first time I noticed the mistake was when I left the station, so I couldn’t get my answer changed. I got so confused and lost my concentration. At the last station it happened again – I said “Alfa”, the controller repeated “Delta”. Then I said: “ - Not Delta, Alfa”, and he replied: “ - Oh sorry, Alfa then”. When I got to the finish line and saw the final result in my heat, I was placed in the 19th position, just one and a half second after the 18th placed. Meaning that I wasn't in the final. From my point of view, I wouldn't go to the final, because I was misunderstood and had to repeat myself, losing some time. So I was very angry and sad. Next day, I was told there had been a complaint on one control. In the new result board I was now in the 18th place and in the final. I had reached my goal. And my final result was 21st position. After this experience I was named “Miss Alfa Delta”.

Overall, how do you evaluate the ETOC? Can you point the best and the worst?

M. K. S. - The best: absolutely the umbrella thing at the Temp-O. Hilarious. But also genius. Some competitors have the ability to read the terrain in very few seconds and they can do that when they walk from the stop line to the chair. With the umbrella the terrain was hidden and I think it made the competition more equal for all.

The worst: I can’t really say one thing particularly. Personally for me it was my experience in the Temp-O qualification. But, overall, hmmm... I think Portugal is a “new” country in Trail-O and in arranging elite events. So, a lot of the staff and the people who were helping at the event were new on that field and had no experience. But, with that in mind, I still think that the Portuguese did a good job with the Trail-O. I have heard rumours about the foot-O and a lot of not so good incidents there. So, comparing to that, I think the Trail-O was settled better.

Is Trail-O on the right way?

M. K. S. - I think it is important for “new” countries, with less experience, to seek help from those who have the knowledge. Listen. Talk. Ask. If the countries talked to each other and exchanged experiences it would be nice. And maybe the picture in the future will be competitions with the same quality, no matter what country you're in.

Taking a look into the board medal, we can see Finland and Sweden leading the TrailO world scene at the moment. Is Denmark losing the “train”?

M. K. S. - Is Denmark losing the “train”? I think the question is if Denmark ever was on that train. It’s a small country and there are very few competitors in Trail-O. And with that in mind I think we are doing quite OK.

Are we going to see you competing in WTOC, in Italy? What are your main goals?

M. K. S. - This summer I will go to the WTOC again. My goal for this year is to reach a better position than last year, which was the 18th.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Orienteering in Cuba: The Path of Hope



Imagination, passion, will. Three words to describe the culture of Orienteering in Cuba. And hope! With the help of Fidel Bonilla Machín, Dotmaro Valdés Camacho and José Angel Nieto Poblete, we get to know a little about the history of orienteering in the Caribbean archipelago since its beginning in the 1970s up to the present day.


It was in 1972 that orienteering first came to Cuba. Brought by the Bulgarian partisans of the “Georgi Dimitrov” brigade and boosted by Atanas Georgiev, then President of the Bulgarian
Orienteering Federation, orienteering quickly enjoyed huge interest from the authorities of the country who recognised the tremendous value it carried, both at an educational level and from a recreational point of view.

In the early 1970s focus on education was a priority for the Government of Cuba, and important steps were taken with the construction of many new Polytechnic Schools throughout the country. The appearance of orienteering in Cuba turned out to be exactly the right thing in the right place at the right time. Orienteering was especially cherished from the beginning, and quickly included in the Circles of Tourist Recreation school course in 1972/1973, so giving the students at Polytechnic Centres and Pre-Universities the mission to take forward its implementation and development.


The early years

As with all other sports in Cuba, orienteering went through several stages in the process of growth and consolidation, in particular regarding improvement of the means employed, the acquisition of technical skills and the organisation of events. From the initial moments with the Bulgarian brigade until the early 1980s we can look back on a mighty steep development curve in all these areas.

Looking back to the early days, we can see that all the events were single-day. There were no classes or age groups, and there was no stepwise initiation programme that made it possible to get positive results in a consistent way. People trained, it’s a fact, but their lack of technical skills put the competitors at the same level of competence and often the winner was an “honourable” unknown.

The first orienteering work in the Circles of Tourist Recreation was undertaken in August 1973 under the direction of INDER – the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation. 1974 began with activity increased in the Circles. At this time the names of Henry Godofredo Caballero, Manuel Pimentel and Dotmaro Valdés Camacho, among others, played a significant role in the promotion and development of the sport. The desire to do more, to do better, was huge. One can guess a first important landmark.


The zenith

In May 1974, during the Inter-Provincial Schools of Physical Education Meeting, Lenin Park was the venue for the first orienteering course in Cuba with a minimum of technical requirements: maps, compasses and control points. Two months later, in an event sponsored by the Circles of Tourist Recreation, the first Relay event was held, and in August the first junior race at national level that was not part of the Tourist Recreation events programme took place, with Dotmaro Valdés Camacho and Alejandro Emilio Ramos Rodríguez doing the course planning. The Cuban Orienteering Federation was also formed in 1974, and four years later Cuba joined the International Orienteering Federation as provisional member, a status that it still holds.

The number of events held all over the country grew exponentially. Competitors became divided into classes, there was development from one-day events to events of several days, a significant number of maps were created and electronic time-keeping was introduced. The rivalry between Universities was huge and unusual in a sport so young, and the training of the athletes was now organised to provide work-out plans at different levels. National seminars and initiatives for the development, protection and stability of orienteering were held. Above all, there was a huge effort by the Cuban Orienteering Federation to align their rules and competition organisation with IOF’s Rules and Guidelines. The popularity of the sport had reached a new peak.

The international contact arose logically in this context of growth of the sport. This was the “golden era”, as defined by Dotmaro Valdés Camacho. He recall some highlights: “We went out into the international arena, participating in several national events organised in the German Democratic Republic, plus the Bulgarian Cup, the 5 Days of Jicin in the former Czechoslovakia, and the O Ringen in Sweden, and we organised an international event in Cuba attended by athletes from all the military socialist countries”.


The settled period

If the 1970s saw the launch of orienteering in Cuba, marked by significant growth of the sport all over the country, the 1980s were the consolidation era. Highly supported by the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation, five national events were held each year and international participation was subject to a selection process, with about 15 men and women athletes competing abroad to represent Cuba in at least four annual competitions.

Memorable events were staged at Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Las Tunas and Taguasco. Names such as Edel Reina, José Antonio Medero, Yalay Ramos and Mayelin Gómez stand out as strong competitors, whilst Enrique Martín and Ariel García Pérez did an extraordinary job in promotion. Oblivious to the apparent contradiction between competitive practice and recreational activity, the sport of orienteering in Cuba continued to grow, preparing for the great leap... that would not appear.


Regression

Cuba suffered an extended special period of economic crisis, resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the resurgence of the U.S. embargo from 1992. The economic depression experienced during this special period was particularly hard in the first half of the decade, with the economy contracting by 36% in the period 1990-93. Orienteering, as with all activities and services in Cuba, did not escape the crisis, entering a spiral of recession which would remain for many years.

The current President of the Cuban Orienteering Federation, Fidel Bonilla Machín, speaks of those times where the priority was “to defend the most basic principles of a socialist society”, but remembers that the sport was kept alive during those particularly difficult times “thanks to the tremendous enthusiasm of those who remained attached to orienteering, recognising the importance of the sport in the integral development of teachers, coaches and students”.


Orienteering today

Today, elite orienteers do not exist in Cuba. It is not a priority for the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation to invest in orienteering for results, as with boxing, baseball, volleyball and many other sports. But it is undeniably an important mass participation sport, and there is support in developing a large number of events and promoting educational activity. Children study, learn, practice and compete in orienteering in all primary and secondary schools in the country.

Today there are about 1,200 regular orienteering competitors in Cuba, mainly living in 9 of the 15 provinces. The people who annually make contact with the sport amount to more than a hundred thousand through recreational practice, permanent courses, basic educational courses and teaching activities. Fidel Bonilla Machín pinpoints the Federation’s objective: “we aim to see orienteering included in every Physical Education programme”.

The President of the Cuban Orienteering Federation makes a laudatory mention of José Angel Nieto Poblete, Vice-President of the Spanish Orienteering Federation, referring to him as “a good friend who, in the past four years, has put all his interest and dedication into orienteering in Cuba”. He explains his role: “Firstly, acquainting himself with how the Cuban sports system works and then through clinics and seminars, preparing courses and managing contacts with national and international organisations.” And the last words: “There are many orienteers in this country who know him and are grateful for the work he has been doing”, he says.



José Angel Nieto Poblete, Mr. Ambassador

Passionate orienteer and committed leader, the Spaniard José Angel Nieto Poblete is a true ambassador of Orienteering, particularly in the South American continent. Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, Guatemala and Cuba are just some of the countries he visits regularly and in which we can see, at the level of promotion and development of our sport, his distinctive mark. Hence, his point of view is crucial in understanding the present state of Orienteering in Cuba.


“In Cuba, Orienteering is a very popular sport, practised in the island for several years now and part of the school curriculum. The economic situation in Cuba, however, has made the sport slip to very low levels, and it is currently regarded largely as a recreational activity. But the lovers of this sport work with huge enthusiasm, trying to regain the former levels of popularity.

My collaboration with the Cuban Orienteering Federation is focused on development efforts along new lines set by the Government. We seek to take advantage of the work that is developed in the Provinces, using the greater numbers of interested people to achieve the creation of new clubs. There is a dearth of quality maps, but the work being done with the sparse resources available is of great value. Many of the flags, punches and maps used are hand-crafted. This way we can continue to see events happening everywhere.

All of this means that we continue our commitment in Cuba, making sure the country is prepared in the best way possible to set up any kind of competition, at any time. In my previous visit to Cuba, in January and February this year, I drew the map of La Habana Vieja and now I’m back to do a revision of the map. Our expectations are that in January 2015 we can organise here a competition at international level, which would of course be a fantastic showcase for our sport and ensure its final projection in Cuba. I hope that all goes well, that the promotion of the event is a success and that ‘orienteering tourists’ might enjoy this truly unique opportunity.”



See the original article at http://orienteering.org/edocker/inside-orienteering/2014-3/InsideOrient%203_14p.pdf. Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation.

[Photo: Jose Angel Nieto Poblete]

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Two or three things I know about it...



1. Who doesn't remember him, “dry and stiff”, laurel wreath on his head, waving to all those who gathered at Praia da Vieira, early in the afternoon of 5th July 2008, to applaud his world title of Sprint in the M90 class? Again, M90! In the following years, the Finnish Erkki Luntamo continued to be present and cherished whenever the opportunity offered, having run his last international competition in the WMOC 2011, in Pécs (Hungary). We heard now, with great sadness, about his death at 99 years of age. The success of Luntamo began in the World Masters of 1994, in Scotland, winning the gold medal in M80 class. This was the first of more than 15 medals in competitions worldwide, both in summer and winter, making of him one of the best known and dear veteran orienteer in the World. This year, Erkki Luntamo was prepared to be the first competitor to participate in a course in the H100 class. His club, the Rasti-Vakka Uusikaupunki, prepared in the last May a special competition, but Luntamo wasn't able to participate. He died in the hospital just a week later. The forest he loved will no longer feel their footsteps.


2. From the last Saturday, and extending through the early Sunday morning, come to us the echoes of another edition of this great party which is Jukola, held this year in Kuopio. Played continuously since 1949, the great Finnish event recorded at the finish line 1357 teams of seven runners in the men's competition and 1139 teams of four elements in the women's competition. Having made history in 2013 by becoming the first Danish team to win the women's competition, the team of OK Pan Århus (Emma Klingenberg, Signe Søes, Maja Alm and Ida Bobach) repeated his victory with a record of 2:56:41. Tampereen Pyrintö and OK Linne finnished in the immediate positions with over 3:52 and 4:52, respectively, to the winners. In the male sector, the Finnish team of Kalevan Rasti get the victory for the third year in a row, equaling the achievement of the Tampereen Pyrintö, the only club until now winning for three consecutive years (between 1961 and 1963) in 66 editions of the Jukola. Seeming doomed to a secundary place at the entrance to the penultimate course, the Kalevan Rasti launched to the forest the Swiss Fabian Hertner and the Frenchman Thierry Gueorgiou, turning a disadvantage of 5:46 in an extraordinary triumph, though by a narrow margin. The winning team spent a amount of 7:59:02, against 7:59:13 of their more direct rivals. The third place fell to Sweden's Södertälje Nykvarn Orienter with over 3:49 than the winners. Everything to read http://www.jukola.com/2014/en/.


3. After Kongsberg (Norway), the World Cup 2014 headed the Finnish town of Imatra where, last Wednesday, took place the 9th round, precisely the last before the World Championships next July, in Italy. In a Sprint vigorously disputed, the current European champions, Jonas Leandersson (Sweden) and Judith Wyder (Switzerland), were the big winners. With a record of 12:20 to 3.4 km, Leandersson hit the field, leaving the Swiss Daniel Hubmann and the Belgian Yannick Michiels at four and six seconds away, respectively. In the women's class, Wyder ran the 3.1 km of his course in 13:01, just two seconds ahead of the Danish Maja Alm. With 13:20, the Swiss Julia Gross and the Swedish Helena Jansson and Tove Alexandersson closed ex-aequo the podium. The day after, took place the Mixed Sprint Relay, the new format that will official debut at the highest level in the next WOC 2014 and that had in the Denmark team (Emma Klingenberg, Tue Lassen, Søren Bobach and Maja Alm) the big winner. All information at http://www.worldcupimatra2014.com/in-english/general/.


4. Completed the Danish round of the World Cup MTB orienteering 2014 that opened the season, is now published and regularly updated the IOF's ranking for this discipline. In the male sector, the Russian Anton Foliforov leads with 5847 points, only 20 points ahead the Finnish Jussi Laurila. Second placed in the second stage of the World Cup, the Portuguese Davide Machado climbed nine places in the ranking, occupying now the 17th place with 5492 points. In the women sector, the Finnish Marika Hara and the Swedish Cecilia Thomasson occupy for this order the first two places, the leader registering 5900 points against 5836 of the Swedish. The ranking can be consulted at http://iofranking.osport.ee/iofranking/.


5. The 14th May represents a historic milestone in the introduction and development of the Orienteering in Morocco. Conducted by the Spanish Orienteering Federation, it took place in Larache, coastal city of the northwestern part of country, a first activity involving all the school centres of Larache. More than 250 children, from 12 to 16 years, participated in the theoretical explanation which took place in the Spanish Centre of Larache and then in a practical activity which took place in the courtyards and installations thereof. The next day, the Equestrian Woods of Larache were chosen for the development of a new stage, this time involving about two hundred children from six educational centres, grouped into over 60 teams of 3 to 5 athletes. This activity had the joint collaboration of the students from IFP of Motril. “For me it was a very happy and recognition day, after nearly two years of work on this project, and I want to share it with all those who, day after day, helped me to get it,” said Jose Samper, Technical Director of FEDO and great mentor of this remarkable work. Read the original article at http://www.fedo.org/web/ultimas-noticias/1256-1-prueba-escolar-de-orientacion-en-marruecos.


Joaquim Margarido