Tuesday, February 17, 2015

POM 2015: Aaro Asikainen and Minna Kauppi the winners of 20th edition

Breaking a long sequence of victories of Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli, the Finnish Aaro Asikainen and Minna Kauppi were the big winners of the Portugal O' Meeting 2015, the most participated ever. In the beautiful forests of Mira and Vagos, over four days, more than 2000 athletes made of the competition a huge party, leaving here with an eye already on next year's edition, in the challenging terrains of Penamacor.

For the sixth time in twenty editions, the highest place of the Portugal O' Meeting's podium in Elite classes was shared by two athletes of the same nationality. But this was the first time this happened with two Finnish athletes. In fact, the Finns have never been particularly frequent presence in the POM podiums and Laura Hokka was, until yesterday, the only Finnish athlete to win a POM (in 2008, in the Algarve). And we said until yesterday, because today everything was different and, at once, Aaro Asikainen and Minna Kauppi turned the course of history.

Third Long Distance stage of the Portugal O' Meeting 2015, the course of the last day took place again in the Vagos dunes, this time in a more western part of the map - and quite greener too - testing the qualities and the energy of 1626 participants. With the technical challenge complementing perfectly the physical ability to a long distance, it was even more intensely that the participants faced with energy and ambition this final stage of Portugal O 'Meeting 2015, seeing fully awarded their efforts, regardless of each other's position. A POM 2015 at the highest level, it is imperative to say, and that had in the Clube de Orientação de Estarreja an anchor at the level of POM's quality, opening the best perspectives already for the next edition, to be staged in Penamacor, in the Castelo Branco District, between the 6th and 9th February 2016.

Tiago Martins Aires wins stage in MenElite

In the Men Super Elite class, Baptiste Rollier (Swiss O-Team) was the first to start, having the responsibility of preserving the advantage of 2:34 that separated him from Aaro Asikainen. The advantage would prove to be thin, especially after an error even in the initial part of the course that costs him three minutes, allowing that the Finnish took the leadership. From there, Rollier wasn't able to fix his orienteering and Asikainen was gaining advantage over the Swiss, meter after meter. Further back, however, another particular duel took place, like the previous one, giving some advantage to the French Frédéric Tranchand over the Russian Valentin Novikov. Very motivated and with a strong and consistent navigation, Tranchand still would catch Rollier, establishing the best time in this fourth and final stage of POM 2015. But Asikainen had the race very well controlled and when Tranchand appeared in the distance, on the finish's funnel, the name shouted by the speaker was to Asikainen as the worthy successor of his team-mate and notably absent in this POM 2015, the "King" Thierry Gueorgiou. In the end, victory of Asikainen with a total time in all four stages of 4:38:45 and a lead of 13 seconds on Tranchand and 50 seconds on Rollier.

In the Women Elite class things didn't go exactly the same way and Minna Kauppi assured the full of victories in all three Long Distance stages of this POM. In the end, the Finnish assured the victory with a total time of 4:08:23, leaving Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) at 5:22 and Galina Vinogradova (Russia) at 14:24 of difference. In the Men Elite class, Alasdair McLeod (Clydeside Orien) made of this course a deserved smooth trip, “living income” of his more than fifteen minutes to the second placed. But the day's news is the victory of the Portuguese Tiago Martins Aires (GafanhOri) in this stage, which allowed him to move up one place in the table, staying on the sixth final position. Michal Olejnik (SNO) held the second place, while Richard Robinson (OK Ravinen) climbed one place, finishing in third position in exchange with Jonas Egger (Swiss O-Team).

Final results

Men Super Elite class
1. Aaro Asikainen (Kalevan Rasti) 4:38:45
2. Frédéric Tranchand (Paimion-Rasti) 4:38:58 (+ 00:13)
3. Baptiste Rollier (The Swiss-Team) 4:39:35 (+ 00:50)
4. Valentin Novikov (Russia) 4:43:05 (+ 04:20)
5. Gernot Kerschbaumer (OK Pan Kristianstad) 4:43:40 (+ 04:55)
6. Lucas Basset (Poles France U) 4:43:49 (+ 05:04)
7. Martin Hubmann (The Swiss-Team) 4:44:29 (+ 05:44)
8. Kiril Nikolov (Kalevan Rasti) 4:48:36 (+ 09:51)
9. Bartosz Pawlak (SNO) 4:48:43 (+ 09:58)
10. Ralph Street (SNO) 4:52:20 (+ 13:35)

Women Elite class
1. Minna Kauppi (Individual FIN) 4:08:23
2. Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) 4:13:45 (+ 05:22)
3. Galina Vinogradova (Russia) 4:22:47 (+ 14:24)
4. Yulia Novikova (Russia) 4:23:24 (+ 15:01)
5. Saila Kinni (Tampereen Pyrintö) 4:24:32 (+ 16:09)
6. Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) 4:25:34 (+ 17:11)
7. Sofia Haajanen ( Individual FIN) 4:32:40 (+ 24:17)
8. Venla Niemi ( Individual FIN) 4:35:13 (+ 26:50)
9. Emily Kemp (NOSE) 4:38:29 (+ 30:06)
10. Anastasia Denisova (Savedalens AIK) 4:38:42 (+ 30:19)

Men Elite class
1. Alasdair McLeod (Clydeside Orien) 4:53:23
2. Michal Olejnik (SNO) 5:06:03 (+ 12:40)
3. Richard Robinson (OK Ravinen) 5:13:45 (+ 20:22)
4. Jonas Egger (Swiss O-Team) 5:18:26 (+ 25:03)
5. Nils Spetz (Ulricehamns OK) 5:19:34 (+ 26:11)
6. Tiago Martins Aires (GafanhOri) 5:19:37 (+ 26:14)
7. Phillip Müller (Post SV Dresden) 5:25:09 (+ 31:46)
8. Severin Denzler (The Swiss-Team) 5:27:19 (+ 33:56)
9. Jukka-Pekka Sepönen (Single FIN) 5:28:56 (+ 35:33)
10. Lauri Okarinen (Single FIN) 5:29:52 (+ 36:29)

See the full results and further information at www.pom.pt/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

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