Minna Kauppi is returning to the best shape. The “miserable season” is part of the past and the great athlete recovers, day by day, the joy of Orienteering. After an overwhelming victory in the Portugal O' Meeting's WRE stage, she is motivated to win the POM overall.
What a race! Minna Kauppi was perfect during the whole course, contradicting the organizers' forecast in almost five minutes. And that was, precisely, the "motto" for starting a pleasant conversation, with Minna saying that this wasn't in her plans: “Actually, when I came here, I wasn't sure if I was able to run all stages, because I haven't been running long distances at all.” We have to say that Minna's last long distance course was in Vuokatti, where she injured herself, and since than, she haven't even done one single big, long and hard training like this. “So, I ran the POM's first stage and then I realised that I was actually quite okay and that I was doing it very well, and, most of all, enjoying the forest again”, Minna says. And she won the first stage, as we all remember.
Yesterday, she took the Middle Distance a little bit easier, “just to spare some strenght”, but for POM's 3rd stage the goal was to win: “I need points to the world ranking because I didn't get that many points last year. But my race was really good, I liked it, my orienteering was good, even if I started getting tired in the end, and of course, my shape is not the same as it will be in the Summer. But, still, I'm really happy.” Talking about the course, Minna thinks that it was “quite challenging, you had to be careful and concentrate on the map all the time, and you also had to look further for the right choices.”
Physically, Minna considers that her shape “it's not excellent, but it's getting better, step by step, because these have been my first orienteering trainings and competitions at the same time. But I believe it will get better, and there's still time to improve my physical shape”, she admits. And to win is always motivating: “Yes, and of course, when you've had such a miserable season, it's always nice to come back, and I feel hungry for orienteering, not fed up with it. I get fed up quite easily, so this is a big step. When you keep getting sticked by orienteering, or your legs and injuries, you feel more motivated to succeed than if the sun is shining all the time.” The last words goes to POM's last day. Is it the goal to win? “I was thinking that if I'm not on the top three, I won't maybe run full speed, but now I have to. It will be a challenge for sure, but I think that everyone is quite tired already and you just have to concentrate on the map and do your best.”