Sunday, May 24, 2015

EMTBOC 2015: Meet Jonas Maišelis (Lithuania)

Name: Jonas Maišelis
Age: 23
Home location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Profession and educational background: I‘m getting bachelor‘s degree in computer engineering this year.
Years in sport of any kind: 10 years.
Years in MTBO: 8 years. Since my first Junior World championships in Poland.
What got you started: I did lots of different sports when I was child. Football, basketball, handball, athletics, orienteering (for 5 months, when I was 9 year old). But one day my physical education teacher offered me to take part in foot orienteering regional school‘s festival and we won. There I meet my first trainer which gave me an orienteering background. After two years I've decided to try MTBO, because I've always liked cycling a lot.
Even though I've lost nearly an hour to the leader in my first MTBO competition, but I enjoyed it. After some more competitions my skills were increasing, so I've been selected to my first JWMTBOC. My personal results were fine as in my first international event, but 4th place in relay boosted my motivation a lot. Since then I‘m dedicated to MTBO.
Other personal information you would like to share: I‘m a student at the moment, so I have enough time for training, but I hope to get computer engineer diploma. After that I‘ll have to find work and decide what to do with sport, because I have to think more about my future. But at the moment my main goal is WMTBOC medal.
IOF World Ranking: 12th position
MTBO World Cup 2015: 4th position

What is your best moment in MTB Orienteering so far?
- I can't mention one moment which is the very best for me. But the silver medal in JWMTBOC‘s Long Distance changed my life, literally. After that, I've got some sponsors who helped me to prepare for my goals. As I am competing in Elite group for several years now, my best memory was in last year's WMTBOC, where I was really close the podium – 4th place in Long Distance. Also I‘m really happy with my 3rd place in the MTBO World Cup Middle Distance this year.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

- I think I draw it from my mistakes. I always try to ask myself why one or another mistake happened and it pays off. My orienteering skills are getting better every year. Talking about training, I‘m trying to think about it like a job I have to do as good as I can. Top elite riders also inspires me a lot, but I don't have one to pick out.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
- I've started preparing this season really early, because in Lithuania we had great weather conditions – it was warm enough to train outside. So I've trained a lot during the winter season with some of our best road cyclists. About 80% of my trainings are with a road bike and I think it helps me to be fast enough to fight with the top MTBO athletes.

What are your goals for the European Championships, in Portugal?
- As I'm not in my best shape at the moment, I can't say how it will be in Portugal, but I'll try to do my best for reaching, at least, the top 6.

What is your biggest challenge in the competition, and how do you intend to manage it?
- My biggest challenge is to compete riding fast speed without any orienteering mistakes. I always try to have a race plan and if it fails, I try to listen to my body and mind in order to finish it as good as I can.

What would be your ultimate achievement for the season?
- To win the WMTBOC's Long Distance, in the Czech Republic. I know it will be very hard, because Czech's terrain isn't my favorite, but I'll try to do my best. Also my dream is to win the Relay, crossing the finish line with my hands raised in the air.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
- The closer you go to your dream, the less it is a dream.

Anything else you’d like to share?
- I wish to thank to all who supports and motivates me. It is very important for me to know that someone believes in me.

[Photo credits: Donatas Lazauskas]
Joaquim Margarido

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