Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ECTO 2014: Martin Jullum won in Sweden



Martin Jullum won the two stages of the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2014 held in Sweden. With four stages to dispute, the Norwegian is really close to win the second edition of the event, succeeding his compatriot Lars Jakob Waaler.


To celebrate the O-Ringen's 50 years of existence, the orienteering lovers pointed to Sweden and, from the four corners of the world, settled in the region of Skåne, in the south of the country, for a week at highest level. Small fringe among the 22.571 participants - according the organization - the trail orienteers were also there to participate in the feast specially prepared for them, the challenges of five stages spread over six days and the extra of these two of them counting for the second edition of the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2014. In all, 59 athletes participated at the O-Ringen TrailO events, mostly Swedish, but also from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Czech Republic, Japan and Hong Kong.

Martin Jullum started the competition in the best way, winning the first stage. The Norwegian was the one doing the full of 20 points, one point ahead the Finnish Marko Määttälä and the Swedish Tomas Jansson and Karl-Gustaf Däldehög. Counting for the European Cup, the second stage was tightly disputed, with eight athletes to finish with the same number of points - 20 (!) - and the quick answers in timed controls giving another victory to Jullum Martin, edging out the Swede Martin Fredholm and the Norwegian Vetle Ruud Bråten, for 2 and 3 seconds, respectively. In the third stage it was possible to see a large set of nine athletes with the same number of correct answers in the lead, among which was included Martin Jullum. The Swedish Jens Andersson would be the winner, but the overall standings began to acquire the final form, with Jullum in the first position and now with a large difference of three-point lead over his closest pursuers, the Finnish Marko Määttälä and the Swedish Lennart Wahlgren, Karl-Gustaf Däldehög, Tomas Jansson and Erik Stålnacke.


Numbers of the European Cup

Making another full of 20 points in four stage, Jullum achieved tasteful victories, both at O-Ringen and in the Swedish round's second stage of the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2014. He was now even more distant from their direct opponents, except for Wahlgren, in the overall classification of the O-Ringen; and he reached his fourth win count towards the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2014, thus being in a perfect position to reach the final victory. In the last stage, the athlete proved that “to err is human”, concluding in 16th place, two points behind the winner, Lars Jakob Waaler.

With 236 points, Martin Jullum is in the lead of this year's Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2014, having behind him, at a distance of 30 points, Martin Fredholm. With only four stages to the end, the Swedish needs to win at least three of them and expect that Jullum do as best a second place, only. Mathematically, it is still possible that Lars Jakob Waaler repeat the victory of 2013 in the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering. But he has the task to win, “only”, the four remaining stages. Indeed, in the field of probabilities, this is as true for Lars Jakob Waaler as for the Finnish Pinja Mäkinen, the Norwegian Vetle Ruud Bråten or Ukrainian Vitaliy Kyrychenko. On 20th September, in Silkeborg, Denmark, many of this doubts - or all! - will be cleared.


Results
Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering

7th Stage (07/21)

1. Martin Jullum (Norway) 20 points, 6 seconds
2. Martin Fredholm (Sweden) 20 points, 8 seconds
3. Vetle Ruud Bråten (Norway) 20 points, 9 seconds
4. Lennart Wahlgren (Sweden) 20 points, 11 seconds
5. Stig Gerdtman (Sweden) 20 points, 11 seconds
6. Christian Tingström (Sweden) 20 points, 12 seconds

8th Stage (07/24)

1. Martin Jullum (Norway) 20 points, 4 seconds
1. Vetle Ruud Bråten (Norway) 20 points, 4 seconds
3. Martin Fredholm (Sweden) 20 points, 8 seconds
4. Jens Andersson (Sweden) 20 points, 9 seconds
5. Lennart Wahlgren (Sweden) 20 points, 13 seconds
5. Stig Gerdtman (Sweden) 20 points, 13 seconds

Overall Standings

1. Martin Jullum (Norway) 236 points
2. Martin Fredholm (Sweden) 206 points
3. Lars Jakob Waaler (Norway) 135 points
4. Marit Wiksell (Sweden) 109 points
5. Janis Rukšans (Latvia) 98 points
6. Erik Lundkvist (Sweden) 95 points
7. Anton Puhovkin (Ukraine) 92 points
8. Vetle Ruud Bråten (Norway) 86 points
9. Widar Taxth Løland (Norway) 84 points
10. Lennart Wahlgren (Sweden) 83 points

See HERE the O-Ringen's final results and, at http://orienteering.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ECTO-2014-standings.pdf, the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2014's updated standings.

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SOW 2014: João Moura, a Portuguese in the highest



Last week was lavish in big events throughout Europe, having in Swiss Orienteering Week one of the most relevant and participated. Relevant, because of the courses' technical quality and the stunning natural environment, with the majestic Matterhorn omnipresent. Participated, because the sum of almost five thousand athletes present in Zermatt is something really impressive. Among those “lucky guys” at SOW 2014, we found João Moura, athlete from the Clube de Orientação de Viseu - Natura, one of five Portuguese who headed Switzerland last week. The Portuguese Orienteering Blog talked with him, being now possible to “drink” in his words the amazing atmosphere of a week to remember.


Was it difficult to choose between the O-Ringen and the Swiss Orienteering Week, knowing that both events were held at the same time?

João Moura (J. M.) - They are both events with an excellent reputation, but what seems to be a difficult choice, for me was almost obvious. I didn't even thought about going to the O-Ringen, since this year I had the good fortune of SOW in Zermatt, where I have relatives. And this was really the main reason I came here, because I could combine two very important things to me, family and Orienteering.

What were the expectations about SOW? What do you knew - or thought you knew - about this big event?

J. M. - The information I had on the previous SOW was very limited, I have never followed in detail any of the previous editions, so I was a little bit anxious. Firstly, because I have never ran at such high altitude and I wasn't sure about my body's reaction; and also because I was afraid about the terrains and the organization, eventually very different from our Portuguese events. In tourist terms, I had excellent feedback from my family living in Zermatt and they convinced me that I would really like the region. And that's what happened in the end, it is a place of rare beauty to which I was immensely surprised and passionate.

How was it, to be in the middle of the crowd?

J. M. - Since I left Sá Carneiro Airport, in Porto, until I landed in Geneva and traveled to Zermatt, I felt a true athlete, almost a star. I proudly travelled with my club's official equipment and I put on it some badges with the Portuguese flag. I really felt like I was representing not only my club, but also my country. And this was a feeling that accompanied me throughout my stay in Zermatt. There was approximately 5000 athletes from all over the world, and I didn't felt inferior to belong to one of the nations with fewer participants in this event. And I made sure, at all stages, to bring with me the Portuguese flag on the back of my sweater.

But, basically, the “ritual” is the same as in our Portuguese events, with the difference of being surrounded by thousands of people from different cultures and languages. I also had the luck of stay close to the Portuguese delegation, consisting of four “masters”, despite only knowing Manuel Dias, and shortly after the first day I got to know the other three athletes and just created an empathy and fantastic atmosphere in the group.

Was it difficult to manage your daily routine?

J. M. - In this aspect I had the chance of being with a Portuguese family, which has many advantages. I never felt alone and always had the support of someone who knew the peculiar way how to work the town of Zermatt. More important, my diet didn't varied too much, eating always Portuguese food. In the first day I arrived, I needed to go to the mountain to participate in some controlled events that the organization of the SOW provided to athletes, and try to understand the reaction of my body to the altitude, so during that time I could manage physically and mentally my handicaps. And I really felt the difference in this first contact with the altitude. You quickly lose your breath and you have to be very careful with the hydration. Fortunately, in the early days after my arrival, the weather conditions were quite favourable, but this didn't happen during the event. We could have lots of rain, cold and fog in most of the mountain stages, and some changes in the program because of the weather. At the 3rd stage, I had my debut in terrains with snow - actually I never ran under these conditions -, which affected my performance because, on one hand, the terrain is not so readable and, on the other hand, I clearly ran like a snail, always afraid of sliding, while the remaining athletes ran over the snow almost normally.

In organizational terms, I believe that they were prepared to continue as scheduled under any weather conditions, although usually in Portugal, when it rains, the organizations are concerned enough about the well-being of the athletes and in these cases provides an entire logistics so that, for example, you can store the belongings in a dry place, which didn't happen here in Switzerland. I even asked a member of the organization about tents in arenas where we could store our backpacks, and he replied that this was a problem of the athlete, and not a problem of the organization. These answers, normally, do not exist in Portugal.

How do you analyse your performance, competitively speaking? Was it positive?

J. M. - Yes, I think it was positive. I was 18th ranked between 125 athletes in my class, HB. I had the misfortune to injure myself, two weeks before to fly to Switzerland, with a plantar fasciitis, which caused me great discomfort and pain during the competition. But, of course, I'm aware that I'm not an elite athlete and that I was competing in a “lower” class than that I run in Portugal (H21A). Technically, there was a couple of challenging controls, but now I think that I should entry in HAK class, more technical than HB.

And what about the "social" part? Judging by the “selfies” with some of the world's best athletes, we can imagine that was really fun...

J. M. - Yes, this is true! Maybe it was because the Swiss athletes were running at “home”, but the truth is that all top athletes with whom I had the privilege of talk were very kind and most thought I was joking when I asked to take the famous “selfie” with them. But this opportunity to talk and take photos with most of my orienteering references (both male and female), it was a great feeling and that makes me even more motivated to continue to train and develop the sport in Portugal.

Have you a funny episode to tell us?

J. M. – Actually, I have two funny episodes involving the Hubmann brothers. On the first day of competition (urban Sprint in Zermatt, only for elite classes), I found Daniel Hubmann in the arena and, of course, I asked if I could take a picture with him, to which he replies very serious, in English: “Sure, but it is 5 euro”. I was shocked for a moment, because I only knew the “serious” side of the athlete, and I replied: “I already knew that everything is very expensive in Switzerland, but, at least, you asked me Euros and not Swiss Francs”. And, obviously, I took a picture with him and even laughed a little. The other situation occurred on the last day, during the prize giving ceremony. I went to Martin Hubmann asking for an autograph in my bib and he was drinking a large glass of a liquid that seemed like beer. Obviously, I asked about the drink and he explained to me that it was not beer but a traditional swiss juice, unknown to me. I told him that I had never tasted, to which he replied that I shouldn't leave Switzerland without tasting it. And he gave me from his glass to taste. I felt really well in a great atmosphere, which I usually don't feel when these athletes came to our events.

Being at the “heart” of some of the major organizations in Portugal in the last three years, namely the POM 2012 and the MCO 2014, you certainly looked to SOW 2014 with different eyes? Are there some aspects you experienced and that would be worth to bring to our organizations?

J. M. - The Swiss are, by nature, people with a higher organizational capacity and this event was no exception. There are, actually, a different reality here, and although things are done well both in Portugal and Switzerland, we can see that the way how the work is organized and jobs are distributed is different. However, I also note that the Portuguese organizations are more able to solve minor incidents that deviate from the original “plan”. In my opinion, perhaps the biggest difference is the number of volunteers working at the event, which allows to have, for example, elements of the organization in almost all the access points to the mountain, guiding the athletes. But, what surprised me the most, was the final bulletin of the event. It was a book with over 100 pages, which explained everything, even the smallest detail, such as: the scheme of stages, the time it would take to get to events, whether or not there would be water in the courses, whether it was advisable to bring a jacket, etc.

I think that would be great to import to Portugal this newsletter template / book with all the necessary information. I also mind some notion of the organization itself, because in Portugal we need to take advantage of the few human resources we possess, something that I noticed that work very well in Switzerland. Each volunteer has an identification with the function, and a portable radio to communicate on the network and transmit / receive information. Finally, and given my professional background, one of the things we have to urgently import for our events is the planning and management in emergency. Each stage of the SOW had several aid stations around the map and there was always a helicopter ready for any evacuation and some adapted vehicles to conditions of high mountain, not to rely on the medical centre set up in the arena. Of course we talk about different realities, but we can always learn how to reach the organizational excellence, in a sustainable way, in our Portuguese events.

For those who haven't yet decided for a Summer competition in Europe in the coming years, which arguments would you advance for being at next SOW, in 2016?

J. M. - In 2016, the SOW will be organized in Engadin St. Moritz and, if the quality of terrains and the organization were similar, this is an event to be taken into account and that I highly recommend. Honestly, this SOW 2014 was the best event I ever have attended, and I am only sorry for not bringing my athletes from COV - Natura to participate with me. But all this time lived here, the atmosphere, the organizational quality, the attention to detail, make of this an event unique.

And what about you, João? Will you remain faithful to the SOW and continue heading to Switzerland for a week, every two years?

J. M. - Unfortunately, go to the SOW demands a very significant amount of money and there is a big difference between the Portuguese economic reality and the Swiss economic reality. The prices are too high here, in most of the basic items, for the Portuguese common. I just had the chance to come this year, to have the facility in terms of accommodation and food provided for my family living in Zermatt. Hence, I may not be able to compete again, soon, at an event in Switzerland like these. With my very sorry, of course!

To know in detail the day by day of João Moura at Zermatt and his experience in Swiss Orienteering Week 2014, please visit his personal webpage at http://joao-moura.blogspot.pt.

[Photo: Courtesy of João Moura]

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, July 27, 2014

JWOC 2014: Double gold for Sweden in the end of Championships



Confirming the ascendant all over the week, Sweden was the winner of the Relay, both Men and Women, who put an end to the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2014. Individually, Sara Hagström was the biggest star of the competition, coming home with three gold medals and one silver in her luggage.


The Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2014 reached the end. Epicentre of a week full of strong emotions, Borovets held the Relay race, which included the presence of 96 teams, representing 33 countries in the male sector and 27 in female sector. Brand identity of these Championships, the high technical challenge tested again the qualities and capabilities of nearly three hundred athletes present.

In the Men Class, the second team of Sweden was the first to complete the initial leg, with Oskar Lundqvist being the first with scarce advantage of one second over the Finn Topi Raitanen and eleven seconds over the Russian Ivan Kuchmenko, second and third ranked , respectively. Assar Hellstrom was in a bad day, losing 1:05 into the lead and leave the No. 1 team of Sweden in “big trouble” for what remained of race. Some hesitations at the entrance of the second leg, however, allowed the regroup of the leading candidates to victory, with Luis Sanchez Serrano, from Spain, closing a group of fifteen units within 30 seconds of the Finnish Topias Ahola, who was now the leader. The end of the second leg would be forthcoming and, with it, Simon Hector and Sweden were the first in the handover, though with 5 seconds advantage on the immediate pursuers, the Czech Jonás Hubacek and the Swiss Tobia Pezzati.

With many accounts still outstanding at the beginning of the final leg was however possible to see that there were “five cocks for a perch”. World Champion of Middle Distance, Miika Kirmula, didn't stand good enough on the first leg, but the second team of Finland was there to honour the white and blue sweater. With Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Norway are now fighting for the gold medal. A thrilling fight that eventually reduced to three teams, with the World Champion in Long Distance, Anton Johansson, to be stronger and to ensure the victory for Sweden with a time of 1:36:30. Czech Republic and Switzerland, with 10 and 13 seconds respectively, occupied the remaining places at the podium.


Who has Sara Hagström has everything

Doing justice to the enormous favouritism which it was assigned, Sweden was the winner of the Women Relay. Norway started better, with the Vice-World Champion in Sprint, Heidi Mårtensson, to be the first to finish, although with a reduced advantage of 42 seconds over Norway's second team, 46 seconds on Poland and 48 seconds on Sweden, who occupied the immediate positions. Assuring the second leg, the Norwegian Gunvor Hov Høydal, World Champion in Long Distance, had in the Swedish Frida Sandberg an opponent at her level, casting the decisive leg to the extraordinary Sara Hagström in first position, with ten and twenty seconds ahead the second team of Sweden and Norway, respectively.

But don't you think that, from here, things would be easy. Although technique and strength are attributes that Sara Hagström has “to spare”, the truth is that a good entry in the map allowed the Norwegian Mathilde Rundhaug annul the difference and move forward, with Hagström to struggle with the need of not fail. But if we can say that Hagström didn't fail, indeed, we must add that Rundhaug is quoted at the level of her opponent, leaving both side by side for the last controls. Except that there was a Sara Hagström even stronger, finishing with a time of 1:38:18, less 9 seconds than her direct opponent. With Lisa Schubnell in the last leg, the second team from Switzerland did the same as its teammates in Men Relay, finishing third with more 6:06 than the winners. Constituted by Vera Alvarez, Beatriz Moreira and Joana Fernandes, the Portuguese Relay finished in 25th place with a time of 2:29:26.


Sums and more sums

In a last look over the result board and on the twenty-four medals awarded during the Championships, we realize that Sweden was the big winner with 5 gold medals, 2 silver and 2 bronze. The remaining four gold medals fitted to New Zealand, Finland, Switzerland and Norway. Norway, which adds two silver medals to its gold and ensures the second position in the Championships medalist, followed by Finland and Switzerland, with two more bronze medals each. In all, there was nine countries awarded and we must add to the board the Czech Republic, with a silver medal and one bronze, Poland and Italy, with a silver medal each, and Denmark, with a bronze medal.

If we want to extend the JWOC 2014's accounts to the sixth place overall in the four distances, defining as criteria six points for the first place, five for second and so on until one point for sixth placed, we will see that Sweden reaches an outstanding score of 56 points, while Finland with 25 points and Norway with 20 points, hold the second and third positions. Switzerland with 16 points and New Zealand and the Czech Republic with 9 points, occupy the immediate positions in a table that counted 16 countries overall.


Results

Men

1. Sweden (Assar Hellstrom, Simon Hector, Anton Johansson) 1:36:30
2. Czech Republic (Ondrej Semik, Jonás Hubacek, Marek Minár) 1:36:40 (+ 00:10)
3. Switzerland (Jonas Egger, Tobia Pezatti, Sven Hellmueller) 1:36:43 (+ 00:13)
4. France (Arnaud Perrin, Loïc Marty, Nicolas Rio) 1:38:30 (+02:00)
5. Latvia (Mikus Puriņš, Alvis Reinsons, Rudolfs Zernis) 1:38:42 (+ 02:12)
6. New Zealand (Tim Robertson, Shamus Morrison, Nick Hann) 1:39:05 (+ 02:35)
7. Finland (Arttu Syrjäläinen, Topias Ahola, Aleksi Niemi) 1:39:09 (+ 0239)
8. Norway ( MarkusHolter, Anders Felde Olaussen, Andreas Solberg) 1:39:11 (+ 02:41)
9. Russia (Ivan Kuchmenko, Konstantin Serebryanitsk, Dmitry Polyakov) 1:40:48 (+ 4:18)
10. Bulgaria (Martin Ponev, Dimitar Jelyazkov, Apostol Atanasov) 1:40:51 (+ 04:21)

Women

1. Sweden (Tilda Johansson, Frida Sandberg, Sara Hagström) 1:38:18
2. Norway (Heidi Mårtensson, Gunvor Hov Høydal, Mathilde Rundhaug) 1:38:27 (+ 00:09)
3. Switzerland (Paula Gross, Sina Tommer, Lisa Schubnell) 1:44:24 (+ 06:06)
4. Ukraine (Daria Moskalenko, Olena Postelniak, Mariya Polischuk) 1:44:53 (+ 06:35)
5. Finland (Jannina Gustafsson, Emmi Jokela, Anna Haataja) 1:45:03 (+ 06:45)
6. France (Delphine Poirot, Chloé Haberkorn, Lauriane Beauvisage) 1:46:08 (+ 07:50)
7. Czech Republic (Markéta Novotná, Anna Sticková, Katerina Chromá) 1:48:55 (+ 10:37)
8. Britain (Katie Reynolds, Rhona MacMillan, Tasmin Moran) 1:48:59 (+ 10:41)
9. Denmark (Nicoline Friberg Klysner, Cecilie Friberg Klysner, Miri Thrane Ødum) 1:49:57 (+ 11:39)
10. Latvia (Marta Jansona, Liga Valdmane, Sandra Grosberga) 1:50:11 (+ 11:53)
(...)
25. Portugal (Vera Alvarez, Beatriz Moreira, Joana Fernandes) 2:29:26 (51:08 +)

More information and complete results at http://jwoc2014.bg/.

[Photo: Skogssport / facebook.com / Skogssport]

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, July 26, 2014

JWOC 2014: Middle Distance gold to Kirmula, Tommer and Hagström



Miika Kirmula in Men class and Sina Tommer and Sara Hagström, ex-aequo, in Women class, got the gold at Middle Distance Final A, winning the last of the individual titles of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2014. Kirmula and Tommer offered to Finland and Switzerland, respectively, the first gold in these World Championships, while Sara Hagström confirmed its extraordinary value, being crowned the “queen” of the Championships.


After the qualifying heats held yesterday, the JWOC 2014 returned to the map of Zheleznica for a very technical Middle Distance Final. Sixty men and as much women, representing twenty-five countries, competed in the Final A, fighting for the last individual titles of the competition. Out of the fight for the medals were some big names such as the Swedish Assar Hellstrom, the Danish Thor Nørskov, the Belgian Tristan Bloemen, the New Zealander Tim Robertson, the Finnish Anna Haataja and the Norwegian Heidi Mårtensson, among others. Outside also, the four Portuguese athletes, with Luis Silva loosing the Final A by finishing in 21st position, 14 seconds behind the Ukrainian Yuriy Badan, ranked 20th in 1st Qualifying Heat.

Sweden with eleven athletes, Finland with ten, and Denmark, Russia and Switzerland, all with nine athletes, were in the “pole position” for the conquest of the places of honour, but it was the Italian Riccardo Scalet to give the first big note of sensation in Men Final A, reaching very early the best time with 30:19 to 3,8 km of his course, in a moment when twenty-one athletes (!) hadn't started yet. Firstly the New Zealander Nick Hann, then the Austrian Xander Berger and, almost an hour later, the Finnish Olli Ojanaho, were threatening the place of the Italian, still sat on the “throne”, stoically controlling the growing anxiety whenever other athlete crossed the finish line. Until... Miika Kirmula, the Finnish who was second placed in his qualifying heat and, therefore, the penultimate to start, finally hit Scalet's time, establishing the extraordinary record of 28:58 and giving Finland the first gold medal in these Championships. With the silver medal, Riccardo Scalet makes history as the first Italian athlete to reach the podium at the Junior World Orienteering Championships.

The story of Final A in Women class has very similar contours but – how to say? - even more “exquisite”. Classified in the penultimate position at yesterday's qualifying heats, the Swiss Sina Tommer was the sixth athlete to start ... and the first to finish (!). The time of 28:43 to 3,1 km of her course was undoubtedly excellent, but the organization had estimated 25 minutes to the winner and 59 (!) athletes hadn't finished yet. A very long wait, indeed! The truth is that the time elapsed, elapsed, elapsed and... one hour and forty-four minutes later, arrived the Swedish Sara Hagström with a time of 28:43, equaling Tommer's one. It didn't take much longer to realize that the last two athletes to start, the Danish Cecilie Friberg Klysner and the Swedish Johanna Oberg were out of the medals. The victory ex-aequo of Sina Tommer and Sara Hagström - something that happens for the first time in the women's sector in 25 editions of JWOC - was accomplished. Switzerland gets its first gold medal in these World Championships, while Sara Hagström sums to the gold in Sprint and silver in Long Distance, another gold, now in Middle Distance, achieving the second-best individual performance ever in the Junior World Orienteering Championships, behind the Danish Ida Bobach that, in 2011, won everything there was to win.


Results

Men

1. Miika Kirmula (Finland) 28:58
2. Riccardo Scalet (Italy) 30:19 (+ 01:21)
3. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 30:29 (+ 01:31)
4. Xander Berger (Austria) 30:44 (+ 01:46)
5. Nick Hann (New Zealand) 30:47 (+ 01:49)
6. Jonas Egger (Switzerland) 30:50 (+ 01:52)
7. Konstantin Serebryanitsk (Russia) 31.33 (+ 02:35)
8. Rudolfs Zernis (Latvia) 31:36 (+ 02:38)
9. Dmitry Naumov (Russia) 32:02 (+ 03:04)
10. Nicolas Rio (France) 32:12 (+ 03:14)

Women

1. Sara Hagström (Sweden) 28:43
1. Sina Tommer (Switzerland) 28:43 (+ 00:00)
3. Andrea Svensson (Sweden) 29:56 (+ 01:13)
4. Tilda Johansson (Sweden) 30:01 (+ 01:18)
5. Gunvor Hov Høydal (Norway) 30:13 (+ 01:30)
6. Zoe Harding (UK) 30:53 (+ 02:10)
7. Emmi Jokela (Finland) 31:58 (+ 03:15)
8. Miri Thrane Ødum (Denmark) 32:28 (+ 03:45)
9. Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) 32:33 (+ 03:50)
9. Jannina Gustafsson (Finland) 32:33 (+ 03:50)

More informations and complete results at http://jwoc2014.bg/.

[Photo: JWOC 2014 Bulgaria | Junior World Orienteering Championships 2014 / facebook.com/jwoc2014]

Joaquim Margarido

O-Ringen Skåne 2014: Thierry Gueorgiou e Tove Alexandersson win 50th edition



The O-Ringen is celebrating 50 years of existence. With the favours of meteorology, about 20.000 orienteering lived a week of excitement, savouring the pleasures of the Southern Swedish forest, with the Baltic in the horizon. At the Foot orienteering competition, the French Thierry Gueorgiou and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson, repeated the 2013's achievements, winning their respective Elite classes.


Whatever the context, 50 years is always a milestone in the life of one person, one place, one institution. In the region of Skåne, in Sweden, the O-Ringen is blowing fifty candles this week, a celebration that involves about twenty thousand participants with interests shared by the disciplines of MTB orienteering, Trail orienteering and Foot orienteering.

Located at Norra Åsum, the O-Ringen Town 2014 opened its doors on July 14th, quickly filling up with a huge mole of athletes of all ages and places, looking forward to the start of the races. The competition of Foot orienteering began on Sunday, with a fiercely competitive sprint through the streets of Kristanstad and in which the current European Champion in Sprint, the Swedish Jonas Leandersson, shown his recognized qualities, winning the stage in Men class. In the following places were classified, by this order, Jerker Lysell and Emil Svensk, both Swedish also. The women's course had in the Danish Maja Alm the big winner, imposing herself to the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson, respectively second and third ranked.


Winning sequences

In the next three stages, the Frenchman Thierry Gueorgiou and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson gave no chances to the concurrence, achieving an extraordinary “hat-trick” and almost guaranteeing the victory in the competition. Second placed on second and third stages and third in the fourth stage, Jonas Leandersson struggled with all his strength trying not lose contact with the lead, aware that hardly could void the disadvantage of 3:37 to Gueorgiou. In the women's sector, Alexandersson took a comfortable lead in the second stage by winning with a difference of six minutes to the World Champion in Middle Distance, the Swedish Annika Billstam. This difference would double two stages later, with the Danish Ida Bobach being now in the second position, with more 12:23 than Alexandersson.

In the last stage, as predicted, there were no changes on top. Thierry Gueorgiou was third placed behind the Norwegian Magne Dæhli and the Austrian Gernot Kerschbaumer, concluding with the total time of 5:05:12. Leandersson held the second position, 4:50 behind Gueorgiou, while the third placed was the Swedish Jerker Lysell with 5:17:15. As for the Women class, Tove Alexandersson closed a remarkable week with another vistory, finishing with a total time of 4:23:16 against 4:37:37 and 4:42:51 of Ida Bobach and Maja Alm, respectively second and third classified.


Final Results

Men

1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 5:05:12
2. Jonas Leandersson (Södertälje-Nykvarn) 5:10:02 (+ 04:50)
3. Jerker Lysell (Rehns Bandyklubb) 5:17:15 (+ 12:03)
4. Magne Dæhli (Halden SK) 5:20:19 (+ 15:07)
5. Gernot Kerschbaumer (OK Pan-Kristianstad) 5:21:28 (+ 16:16)
6. Tue Lassen (Vaajakosken TERA) 5:21:40 (+ 16:28)
7. Oleksandr Kratov (OK Orion) 5:23:06 (+ 17:54)
8. Fredrik Johansson (IFK Lidingös SOK) 5:25:38 (+ 20:26)
9. William Lind (Malungs OK) 5:26:05 (+ 20:53)
10. Filip Dahlgren (IFK Lidingös SOK) 5:26:39 (+ 21:27)

Women

1. Tove Alexandersson (Stora Tuna OK) 4:23:16
2. Ida Bobach (OK Pan Århus) 4:37:37 (+ 14:21)
3. Maja Alm (OK Pan Århus) 4:42:51 (+ 19:35)
4. Svetlana Mironova (Hellas OK) 4:45:36 (+ 22:20)
5. Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) 4:55:55 (+ 32:39)
6. Emma Johansson (Domnarvets Go IF) 4:56:08 (+ 32:52)
7. Tone Wigemyr (Bækkelagets SK) 4:58:53 (+ 35:37)
8. Anna Persson (Friluftsklubben Göingarna) 4:59:21 (+ 36:05)
9. Annica Gustafsson (IFK Lidingös SOK) 5:03:19 (+ 40:03)
10. Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 5:07:56 (+ 44:40)

To check the final standing, please go to http://www.oringenonline.com/.

[Photo: Peter Holgersson / peterholgersson.se /]

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Miguel Silva: "Is there a logic in leaving me out of the four selected athletes in a WOC where 50% of the races are sprint races?"



Miguel Silva is the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's invited today. In this Interview, he remembers the most important moments in the recent World Orienteering Championships, shares the grief of his absence of the major event of the international calendar, returns to Penedono to meet the National Sprint title 2014, analyses the Portuguese Orienteering's current moment and designs a future that is not only about orienteering.


What ideas do you keep from the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2014?

Miguel Silva (M. S.) - I think that one of the main reasons for wanting to participate in a WOC is the fact that we’re sure that it’ll be an event with quality maps and courses and an organizing structure that supports the athletes in their needs. By the feedback that I’ve obtained, I think that this WOC wasn’t different from the previous ones. I was expecting that the sprint maps were more technical and I’ve heard some athletes complaining about it. The middle distance, long distance and relay, in alpine terrain, seemed really interesting with defying courses.

Were there some results that surprised you?

M. S. - In the sprint distance, I think that no one expected the Danish dominance that reveals the importance of the preparation of a sprint race. A few years ago there were rumors that the best teams mapped the sprint areas before a race. In the last years it became usual and nowadays, I think that all national teams do it, better or worse, according to their resources. I’m not sure if this was a positive thing; maybe the organizations shouldn’t make the sprint areas public until a few days before a race or should give the map to everyone in advance. In the sprint race, the 7th place by Yannick Michiels shows the potential of the new sprint generations that, before their physical capabilities, will easily reach the top of the table. In the long distance I highlight the impressive final part of Thierry’s race, where he has won many seconds that gave him the victory. I also highlight the 8th place of Gernot Kerschbaumer, someone who has dedicated a lot of himself to orienteering lately and who has seen his effort recompensed. In the women, I think that everyone was expecting a Judith/Tove duel, but the Russian Svetlana Mironova ended winning the race. In the relay there were some emotive and surprising sprints, with Kyburz winning to Gueorgiou and Lundanes to Bostrom.

How do you analyze the performance of the Portuguese team?

M. S. - I think that we kept the low level of the last years, for which I’ve also contributed. Of course that it would be easier and more politically correct saying that it was a good WOC, but I consider that we have to have ambition, think about what we can change and go beyond where we are right now. I haven’t found a national team ranking yet, but probably we have fallen to the 3rd division with only one athlete in each final next year. I must say that all Portuguese national team athletes are more less at the same level and that I don’t think that I would get better results than the ones that were achieved by my colleagues.

Talking a little about yourself, you appeared strongly in Penedono, winning the National Sprint title, but otherwise you've been out in many events this season. I imagine that the demands of your profession don't leave you enough time...

M. S. - There are years in which races and the extra-sport life fit perfectly. There are others, as this one, in which it doesn’t happen and we have to make choices. In Costa AlentejanaOmeeting, Trofeu OriMargel Sul and A LOT, I had medical courses where I had to present some works. I was in the organizing team at POM. Only at the Iberian Championships in Soria (where almost no Portuguese athlete participated) I was participating in a mountain race, Zegama Aizkorri at the Pirinees. During RA4 I was at Jukola, having spent some days after training in Sweden. In the Sprint and Long Distance national champs, by constraints of the holiday calendar of my girlfriend, I was on vacation with her because it was essential to maintain the personal/sportive balance.

Tell me about your title in Sprint and how did you taste it.

M. S. - The victory gave me some nice feelings but it’s just the end of a training process that gives me a great satisfaction, by itself. In the daily training I don’t train for titles, since I find it grueling from the psychological point of view. I train to better my performance, to discover where my limits are and to socialize, since many of the interesting people that I know are sportspeople.
However, it was a bitter victory, since the season ended there and I didn’t have the opportunity to compete in more competitive stages.

Yes, it's true that you are the National Champion in Sprint, you're the second best Portuguese athlete with best average in the Portugal Cup's ranking this season and you get a place for the Sprint Final of the European Championship last April. How do you feel by not being called, this time, to a presence in Italy with the Portuguese team?

M. S. - This season I was the best portuguese in every sprint race that I’ve participated, apart from two: NAOM, where I was second best and EOC where I wasn’t able to compete at my best because of an Achilles tendinopathie and a cough. Is there a logic in leaving me out of the four selected athletes in a WOC where 50% of the races are sprint races? You could tell that I was really weak in the forest (to Portuguese standards), but I’ve been top-3 in most of the races where I ran. I’ve been told that I was out because of my lack of dedication to the sport and because I’m only interested in mountain races. In fact, during EOC, it was suggested by an athlete and discussed among the national team, if I should even race in the second Portuguese team (suggesting that I should be out of the two relay teams). The truth is that there are many examples of orienteering athletes who are, at the same time, top mountain running athletes. The truth is that I’ve become faster in orienteering since I started training more specific to mountain races.

If, once again, I had trained all season with only a title or a selection in mind, I would be destroyed right now. In the end, I participated in the World Skyrunning Championships in Chamonix, where I was 26th while I was running side by side with athletes that I only used to see in posters or movies, where I met amazing people and from where I returned with the certainty that a world top-10 is easily achievable. Of course that it has opened new possibilities and, since, compared with this year, I don’t predict that next season I’ll have more spare time to invest in Orienteering, which will make it impossible to compete at an international level, it’s a logic choice to spend more time on mountain running.

How do you rate the current moment of Orienteering in Portugal?

M. S. - We are not well, because we lack a long-term plan. We’re losing athlete in each race and we are returning to the same athletes that were competing 10 years ago. The small clubs can’t impose themselves and there is a constant migration of athletes to the bigger clubs. Orienteering has everything to become an emerging sport in the XXI century, but we haven’t been able to make it appealing in Portugal yet. Why? There are many possible answers to this question but I consider that one of the main reasons is that we lack a good marketing strategy. We need more kind of work as the one that Fernando Costa does with Orievents. At the first sight, this may seem futile and superficial, but the creation of an image and a “dream”, may bring lots of athletes to a race, by reasons from the subconscient domain. These athletes make a big number and make the races famous. This number will draw the attention of the big companies that want to promote themselves in big groups of people. This companies will invest in the sport, making it grow, resulting in a richer federation with more athletes. Of this group of athletes will result a more competitive national team which will be supported by a richer federation.

I’ve seen this cycle happening with some other sports. Mountain running, nowadays also called trail running, is a recent example of this phenomenon that, even without a central governing entity, say the big races and outdoor companies betting in the marketing area, resulting in a huge interest by the community and other companies. Which was the result? Most of the entries are now sold out many months before of the main races. We, in orienteering, are able to maintain extremely organizing structures that mobilize hundreds of volunteers (is there any sport with the same requirement?) but we haven’t been able to grow because we don’t bet in the marketing area, that is essential in the contemporary society.

And what about the other disciplines?

M. S. - Regarding to the other orienteering variants, I think that we are growing upside-down in a base that is not sustainable for a long time. The sustainable distribution of athletes in any sport should start with a pyramid with a large base of sympathizers and sporadic participants that narrows to a federated group, that narrows to a high level performance group, that narrows to a national team. In MTB we have Davide Machado, an exceptional athlete and a variant with just a few athletes and a lack of public visibility. In the Trail-O, we almost don’t have any races in Portugal, but we invest in a national team to be at the World Champs. In my single opinion, we should invest in the base of the pyramid so, in 5 years, we’ll have many exceptional athletes participating in international races, with a solid base behind. But it’s just my opinion and there are plenty of possible viable ways. I must say that Orienteering, in Portugal, is a sport with an unique model based on volunteers, where many people spend a lot of their time working for a common goal, being all of them people that I admire. We have to be conscious that, before the amount of money that the Portuguese government invests in sport, we are already really far.

How far can you go with your ambitions? How long are we going to see you doing orienteering?

M. S. - In the sportive field, my ambition is to reach the further possible, according to the other variants of my life. I’ve been doing orienteering for 16 years and my Portugal Omeeting was in 1999. I’ve practicing this sport for a long time, I’ve got great friends in this community and I have an immense pleasure while navigating through the forest. By all of this, I’m certain that I’ll keep participating in o-races for the rest of my life. However, I only live once, and I don’t want to limit my life to this sport, nor to the sports world. I’ll keep participating in o-races, as I’ll keep investing in becoming a better doctor, in becoming a better mountain runner and becoming a better person, whether through investing in the multiple sides of my education, whether through the personal relations with the ones around me.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

JWOC 2014: Junior World title in Long Distance to Johansson and Høydal



Anton Johansson and Gunvor Hov Høydal were the big stars of the second day of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2014, conquering the Long Distance world title in what was the queen stage of the Championships. The Portuguese athletes were once again under the expected, unable to overcome the technical challenges and extreme hardness of their courses.


The Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2014 proceed today with the Long Distance final. The courses took place in Malyovitsa, in a moderately hilly terrain, bringing out the physical and technical capabilities of the world's best athletes in this category. So it was with Anton Johansson, Swedish athlete who since 2013 had been preparing the assault on gold, having been presence on the yesterday's podium, thanks to his third place in the Sprint course. Johansson spent 1:15:17 to complete the 10.2 km of his course, beating his teammate, Assar Hellstrom, by a margin of 1:01. At the end, Johansson talked to Svensk Orientering about a race “tougher than I had imagined and I wasn't physically in the best day. But I fought all the way and it paid off to focus on orienteering and minimize mistakes”, he says. In third position, 3:28 behind the winner, stayed Marek Minar, from Czech Republic. Still one note for the excellent 5th place achieved by Finnish Olli Ojanaho, major figure of the recent European Youth Orienteering Championships EYOC 2014, and one of the greatest promises of Orienteering.

In the Women class, the Swedish Sara Hagström was very close to “encore” the gold in these Championships. After the World title in Sprint, the athlete had to settle today with the silver medal, behind the Norwegian Gunvor Hov Høydal by the narrow margin of three seconds. Høydal needed 1:08:15 to run the 7.2 km of her course, a time that far exceeds the organization's prognostics for the winner and that was of 55 minutes. Finland placed two athletes in the immediate positions, with Emmi Jokela winning the bronze medal with one minute more than the winner and Anna Haataja being ranked 4th, with a record of 1:11:45.

Despite the many difficulties that the journey may have ended, there would be few that would guess Luis Silva finished with a difference of more than 25 minutes to the winner. It was also hardly credible that Vera Alvarez, the winner of the Portuguese Cup's ranking in 2013, in Women Elite class, and a member of the Portuguese team present at the recent World Championships in Italy, completed his race with a lapse of time exceeding 35 minutes in relation to Gunvor Hov Høydal. The truth is that's exactly what happened with Luis Silva taking the 80th place among 150 athletes ranked in his class, while Vera Alvarez finished in 79th position in a race that saw 115 athletes reach the final in women class. Beatriz Moreira would be ranked 112th, spending more 1:26:49 (!) than the winner, while Joana Fernandes didn't finish the course.


Results

Men

1. Anton Johansson (Sweden) 1:15:17
2. Assar Hellstrom (Sweden) 1:16:18 (+ 01:01)
3. Marek Minar (Czech Republic) 1:18:45 (+ 03:28)
4. Ivan Kuchmenko (Russia) 1:19:36 (+ 04:19)
5. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 1:19:39 (+ 04:22)
6. Mika Kirmula (Finland) 1:19:58 (+ 04:41)
7. Thor Nørskov (Denmark) 1:20:21 (+ 05:04)
8. Borger Melsom (Norway) 1:21:31 (+ 06:14)
9. Moritz Doellgast (Germany) 1:22:32 (+ 07:15)
10. Riccardo Scalet (Italy) 1:22:49 (+ 07:32)
(...)
80. Luís Silva (Portugal) 1:40:26 (+ 25:09)

Women

1. Gunvor Hov Høydal (Norway) 1:08:15
2. Sara Hagström (Sweden) 1:08:18 (+ 00:03)
3. Emmi Jokela (Finland) 1:09:15 (+ 01:00)
4. Anna Haataja (Finland) 1:11:45 (+ 03:30)
5. Mathilde Rundhaug (Norway) 1:11:58 (+ 03:43)
6. Paula Gross (Switzerland) 1:13:15 (+ 05:00)
7. Sina Tommer (Switzerland) 1:13:31 (+ 05:16)
8. Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) 1:14:26 (+ 06:11)
9. Frida Sandberg (Sweden) 1:15:30 (+ 07:15)
10. Heidi Mårtensson (Norway) 1:15:55 (+ 07:40)
(...)
79. Vera Alvarez (Portugal) 1:43:42 (+ 35:27)
112. Beatriz Moreira (Portugal) 2:35:04 (+ 1:26:49)
dnf Joana Fernandes

More information and full results at http://jwoc2014.bg/.

[Photo: JWOC 2014 Bulgaria | Junior World Orienteering Championships 2014 / facebook.com/jwoc2014]

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

JWOC 2014: Gold at Sprint to Robertson and Hagström



Tim Robertson and Sara Hagström opened the best way their participation in the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2014 by winning the Sprint race held this morning in the Bulgarian town of Samokov. With weaker performances than expected, Luis Silva and Vera Alvarez were the best portuguese athletes.


After Varna, in 1999, the Junior World Orienteering Championships returns to Bulgaria for its 25th edition. Borovets, a town located 70 km south of the capital, Sofia, is by this time the meeting point of the world's best athletes in Junior category, receiving a total of 290 athletes - 156 men and 134 women - representing 36 countries.

Today, the competitive program opened with the Sprint race, that took place in the nearby town of Samokov, in a mixed urban and park terrain. In the male sector, the winner was the New Zealander Tim Robertson, who spent 14:41 to 3.0 km of his course. A very welcomed victory, in line with the excellent performances of “kiwis” in the latest editions of the JWOC, from the gold medal of Matt Ogden in 2012, in the Middle Distance, to the bronze achieved by Tim Robertson in the Sprint, last year. In a message left on his facebook page, Tim Robertson confesses “the most amazing feeling to follow in the footsteps of Matt Ogden and have my chance to stand on-top of the podium and hear the nation anthem”, concluding with a warning: “Watch out for team New Zealand!”

With more 6 seconds than the winner, the Polish Piotr Parfianowicz was, once again, present on the podiums of JWOC, after the Long Distance world title achieved in 2013. And also the Swedish Anton Johansson, ranked third ten seconds behind Robertson, is a “repeater”, after the silver medals won in 2013, in Middle Distance and Relay. Tristan Bloemen, fourth placed with a time of 14:53, was on the verge of making history, missing the third place by two seconds, thus losing the chance to enter Belgium as the 28th country medalist at JWOC.


Sara Hagström wins

Curiously, the women class' panorama was identical to those registered in the male sector in this particular aspect, with the first three ranked returning to the Championships' podium one year later. World vice-champion in Long Distance, the Swedish Sara Hagström was the big winner with a time of 13:15 for 2.5 km of her course. In the immediate positions were classified two World champions in 2013. The second place went to Norwegian Heidi Mårtensson, who saw escape from her hands the chance to repeat the gold medal in the Sprint distance, with more five seconds than the winner. With 17 seconds more than Sara Hagström, in third position, classified the Danish Miri Thrane Ødum, Junior World Champion in Middle Distance.

Finally, a reference to the Portuguese presence on this first day of the JWOC, just for saying that the balance ends up not being particularly good, especially considering that Sprint is, traditionally, the distance where the possibilities of our athletes to achieve a good result are bigger. In the Men class, Luís Silva stayed in the first third of the table, finishing in 50th position with a time of 16:02, among 160 participants. “I tried to do some more but today wasn't a good day so the chances weren't good”, is all that you can read in the athlete's facebook page. As for the female sector, Vera Alvarez was our best representative, finishing in 57th place with a time of 15:19, among 133 athletes. With 55 more seconds than her team mate, Beatriz Moreira placed in 81st position, while Joana Fernandes was the 112th classified, with a time of 17:42.


Results

Men

1. Tim Robertson (New Zealand) 14:41
2. Piotr Parfianowicz (Poland) 14:47 (+ 0:06)
3. Anton Johansson (Sweden) 14:51 (+ 00:10)
4. Tristan Bloemen (Belgium) 14:53 (+ 0:12)
4. Aleksi Niemi (Finland) 14.53 (+ 00:12)
6. Miika Kirmula (Finland) 14:54 (+ 0:13)
7. Jonas Egger (Switzerland) 15:09 (+ 00:28)
8. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 15:11 (+ 00:30)
8. Assar Hellstrom (Sweden) 15:11 (+ 00:30)
10. Algirdas Bartkevicius (Lithuania) 15:12 (+ 00:31)
(...)
50. Luís Silva (Portugal) 16:02 (+ 01:21)

Women

1. Sara Hagström (Sweden) 13:15
2. Heidi Mårtensson (Norway) 13:20 (+ 00:05)
3. Miri Thrane Ødum (Denmark) 13:32 (+ 00:17)
4. Frida Sandberg (Sweden) 13:38 (+ 00:23)
5. Tilda Johansson (Sweden) 13:47 (+ 00:32)
6. Nicoline Freiberg Klysner (Denmark) (+ 00:33)
6. Runa Fremstad (Norway) 13:48 (+ 00:33)
8. Malin Leandersson (Sweden) 13:54 (+ 00:39)
9. Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) 13:55 (+ 00:40)
10. Eliska Kulhavá (Czech Republic) 13:59 (+ 00:44)
(...)
57. Vera Alvarez (Portugal) 15:19 (+ 2:04)
81. Beatriz Moreira (Portugal) 16:14 (+ 2:59)
112. Joana Fernandes (Portugal) 17:42 (+ 4:27)

More information and full results at http://jwoc2014.bg/.

[Photo: JWOC 2014 Polish Team / facebook.com/polishjwocjuniorteam2014]

Joaquim Margarido