For the ninth year in a row, the Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos leaves Matosinhos, its natural habitat, carrying the Orienteering flag to the beautiful and hospitable landscapes of Alto Alentejo. Regional project that started at Niza, way back in 2007, the Norte Alentejano O' Meeting extended, year after year, its range of action and its possible to see, in our days, its brand of quality also imprinted at Castelo de Vide, Alter do Chão, Crato, Portalegre and Marvão. Hence, the 2015 edition can be understood as a revisitation, since Castelo de Vide and Marvão are not hosting the event for the first time.
With two stages scoring for the FootO VITALIS Portuguese League 2015 and still one Sprint stage counting for the IOF's Sprint Orienteering World Ranking, the Norte Alentejano O' Meeting 2015 registers until now more than seven hundred entries representing fifteen different nations. Numbers who set in Fernando Costa, the Event Director, high expectations: "Mainly, we want those who visit us to enjoy the courses and maps and leave this region with an image of quality, where the sports and the tourism go hand in hand and will play a very important role in the future”.
Olav Lundanes is the headliner
Although the Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos offers a wide and diverse range of annual events, the NAOM is a reference for the project's tradition and originality, representing the best way to disseminate the sport. Organizing an event of this nature is anything but easy, especially when the “comfort zone” is located more than 300 kilometres away, but there are also extremely positive aspects, namely “the very strong bonds of friendship created over nine years with fabulous people who love their region”, as Fernando Costa points out.
Another positive aspect has to do with the confidence on the event and its organisational crew by some of the world's best performers of the sport and that have already confirmed their presence at Castelo de Vide and Marvão. This is the case of the IOF's World Ranking leader and headliner of the event, the Norwegian Olav Lundanes, but also the Ukrainian Oleksandr Kratov and Nadiya Volynska, respectively 5th placed in the men's world ranking and 12th ranked in the women's world ranking. There are also other names to consider, in addition to the Portuguese Tiago Romão, Miguel Reis e Silva, Mariana Moreira, Vera Alvarez and others, as the Ukrainian Artem Panchenko and Olha Panchenko, the Russian Valentin Novikov, Yulia Novikova and Ekaterina Savkina, the Spanish Daniel Portal and Eduardo Gil, the French Léa Vercellotti, the Czech Stepanka Betkova and the Brazilian Elaine Lenz.
"The terrain is a dictator"
Putting the technical aspects and the quality of the terrains in the first place - “we usually say that the terrain is a dictator”, says Fernando Costa - the NAOM 2015 offers maps of quality for an event at this level and interesting terrains. Emphasising that “all maps are new and have the signature of Tiago Aires and Raquel Costa”, the Event Director is sure that the terrains and the courses “will please to everyone” and lists some of its features: “The Silvana Valley terrain was no longer used in official competitions since 2008, so for most of the participants everything will be new. The area of the third stage, at Quinta das Lavandas, is very diverse, alternating fast areas with slower areas, with lots of rocky elements that will certainly be of general satisfaction.”
Leaving a very special thank you “to the Castelo de Vide County, for believing in our association and for supporting the event and to the municipality of Marvão for having embraced this project in terms of continuity of stage scoring for the Sprint Orienteering World Ranking, but also to all the land owners authorizing the use of their terrains, to the Fire Departments of Castelo de Vide and Marvão, the security forces, the local and regional media and to all public and private entities which in many ways support our Association and especially this organization”, Fernando Costa concludes with a wish to all participants “to have a weekend in perfect communion with nature, in a region of rare beauty, and enjoying moments of pleasure practicing our sport”.
To know everything about the Norte Alentejano O' Meeting 2015, please consult the event webpage at http://www.gd4caminhos.com/en/.