Thursday, May 21, 2015

EMTBOC 2015: Meet Antonia Haga (Finland)

Name: Antonia Haga
Age: 25 (26 very soon)
Home location: Lives at the moment in Rovaniemi, Lapland, born and raised in Kronoby
Years in sport of any kind: I have been doing sports for as long as I can remember. I started as a cross country skier, but never really liked it
Years in MTBO: 9 years.
What got you started: Some time after quitting cross country skiing I started with orienteering. I tried MTBO and thought it was great fun to ride my bike in the forest looking for control points. Back then I set a goal to win the junior Finnish Championships, which I achieved in 2009
Other personal information you would like to share: When I'm riding in urban surroundings I just have to ride down all stairs I find!
IOF World Ranking: 16th position
MTBO World Cup 2015: 8th position

What is your best moment in MTB Orienteering so far?
- The second place at the middle distance in WC 1 in Hungary 2015 is my best achievement in MTBO. The difficult conditions, terrain, course and my own performance made it a race I'll always remember.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
- I like to ride my bike in the forest on single tracks. I especially like technical and fast downhill tracks. I like the speed and the challenge. I'm looking for challenges and I always want to improve. Something that's not challenging is boring and then it won't keep me interested for long.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
- I have a new training program and I have been able to follow trough my training schedule as I planned.

What are your goals for the European Championships, in Portugal?
- When I cross the finish line I want to be satisfied with my race and know that I couldn't have done anything better.

What is your biggest challenge in the competition, and how do you intend to manage it?
- The biggest challenge for me is to avoid making mistakes in my orienteering. I will try my best to learn from the mistakes I have made in the past.

What would be your ultimate achievement for the season?
- By finishing second at the middle distance in Hungary I think I already achieved an ultimate goal. To finish a race without mistakes is also something that I'm always aiming for.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
- A human being needs food, sleep, exercise and mental stimulation.

Anything else you’d like to share?
- My first race in Portugal five years ago was a disaster. I didn't know how to read contours and how to make route choices in a hilly terrain. There aren't barely any hills at all where I had trained orienteering at the west coast of Finland. When I came back to Portugal in 2013 I was more prepared and knew how to read the map. Even though I had a painful crash the day before on the middle distance, I was able to take my best position so far in the World Cup and finished fifth on the long distance.

[Photo credits: Marko Bonden]
Joaquim Margarido

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