Being currently the 8th placed in the IOF World Ranking, Baptiste Rollier was one of the great names of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2015. From the recent experience in Portugal to the Highlands of Scotland where, in early August, will be held the World Championships, a couple of issues to retain in this Interview to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog .
Why Portugal in this time of the season?
Baptiste Rollier (B. R.) - Because of the good weather and because there are good maps.
Were these the kinds of terrains that you were looking for?
B. R. - In the beginning of each season, I try to return to the maps and this is the first opportunity to do something a little more technical. There is still plenty of time until the first races that really count and Portugal arises naturally in the training program. Next will be two weeks in Spain and then the UK.
And how did you feel throughout the four days of POM?
B. R. - Well, I must re-acquire the automation with the maps, but also the physical part still has something to be tuned. We had three Long Distance races, but the terrain is very soft and, in some way, let us safe from possible injuries. Clearly, from a technical point of view, there are terrains much more complicated, but these four days of Portugal O' Meeting were very good for the start of the season.
You left with some advantage for the final stage of POM, but you couldn't hold it. What happened?
B. R. - I lost about three minutes at one control and it turned out to be decisive. That's when the Finnish [Aaro Asikainen] caught me up and later on the last loop, Frédéric [Tranchand] also got me, he is faster than me. I felt very tired - in fact, I had already felt like this in the WRE Long Distance on the third day - the tiredness accumulates, but I'm happy, though, because I feel that the physical shape is good for this time of year.
Was it in your plans to win the Portugal O' Meeting?
B. R. - No, that never was my goal. To come here, to train the technical part and to be able to maintain the concentration levels in my orienteering, that was the goal. It was never a question of results.
The major goals for this season are focused on the World Championships. What is your dream?
B. R. - I dream of a medal in the Long Distance, clearly. It will be a very tough race, very long, in a very difficult terrain and it will cause a huge wear of energy. But it will be a special moment and I'm preparing myself for it. It is the big goal of the year.
What special meaning has to be the nº 8 in the World Ranking?
B. R. - Personally, it doesn't mean much. After all, what really counts are the World Championships and the stages of the World Cup. But I'm not looking for this or that race to move up in the rankings.
How is Switzerland preparing the World Championships?
B. R. - We have a team with a good base level and all of us have do our best to get a place in the national team. This makes the level increase even more. In September last year we were in Scotland and we already got a good image of what we can expect in terms of terrains. Some athletes returned there in October and we will be there again in early April in Lake District, competing in the Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering. We think that the terrains will be very similar to those of the World Championships and that mapping can be a bit within the same style.
Can we count with Switzerland on top?
B. R. - As usual our possibilities in terms of results are good and the very fast terrains are something that can also play for our team. But we have a long way to go until August.
Until what age are we going to see you doing Orienteering?
B. R. - It's hard to say, especially when we see 95 year-old people doing Orienteering. But I want to do Orienteering for many years. Even if the physical capacity doesn't let me run, it is always a fantastic thing to go into the forest. And there is no longer that anxiety, to get nervous if I can't find the flags.
One last word, a desire to those who do Orienteering.
B. R. - That everyone can take pleasure of what they do and that the relationship amongst the younger and older generations stay always a strong point of our sport. That families can continue together doing Orienteering, to enjoy this fantastic atmosphere, these forests and this sun.