Friday, July 31, 2015

WOC 2015: Mariana Moreira reaches the Sprint Final

Mariana Moreira qualified for the Sprint Final of the WOC 2015, which started today in Scotland. Running the second heat, the Portuguese athlete occupied the 15th place, spending more 1:44 than the winner, the leader of the IOF World Ranking, Tove Alexandersson.

After Raquel Costa (Rapperswil, 2003 and Lausanne, 2012), Mariana Moreira is the second Portuguese athlete to be present in a women's final of the World Orienteering Championships. Running the second heat of the Sprint qualification, our representative was ranked 15th with a time of 15:15, 1:44 more than the winner, the Swedish Tove Alexandersson. Carolina Delgado and Patricia Casalinho performed well, still insufficient to follow their colleague into the much desired and decisive final. The Danish Maja Alm and the Finnish Minna Kauppi were the winners of the remaining heats, with Judith Wyder (Switzerland), the current World Champion, being second placed in her heat.

In the Men class, the Portuguese Tiago Romão is worthy of the “unlucky prize”, staying at one single second to the final, by finishing his course in the 16th position with the time of 12:39. Tiago Gingão Leal was also very close to stamp his passport to the decisive race, finishing in the 18th place, seven seconds away from the time needed. Not as good as his teammates, João Mega Figueiredo finished in the 24th place at 38 seconds of the Belgian Tomas Hendrickx, ranked 15th in his heat. Yannick Michiels (Belgium), Kristian Jones (Great Brit ain) and Jerker Lysell (Sweden) were the winners of the respective heats, as the current World Champion, the Danish Søren Bobach, was the 4th place in the second heat. The final will be played on Sunday, at the seaside town of Nairn. All to follow at

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Inês Domingues: "I know I can get there"

She tried Trail Orienteering for the very first time in February 2014 and, in her first international participation ever, achieved an “unthinkable" 7th place in WTOC's TempO Final. This is the starting point for an interview with Inês Domingues, the “girl prodigy” of the Portuguese Trail Orienteering.

The result achieved in Zagreb, in TempO, forces me to ask you this question: how much of it was innate and how much of it was homework?

Inês Domingues (I. D.) - I don't exactly train Trail Orienteering. My training sites are the courses of the Portuguese TrailO Cup in which I have participated so I assume that much of it is already mine and has to do with the theoretical basis and the practice that I have from Foot Orienteering. Training more seriously, was just during the week of the Championships, in Croatia. It was very intensive.

How important was it to arrive in Croatia a few days earlier and have the chance to take part in two stages of the European Cup?

I. D. - It helped a lot, mostly because we didn't feel the pressure inherent to the competition in the World Championships. We had the time to calm down, feel the atmosphere and get to know the people around us. I think it was really important.

Was your goal to reach the top 10 in the World Championships?

I. D. - No, I had no idea of the equivalence in a competition like the World Championships compared to what I was doing... My goal was to reach the final and nothing else.

Now that you have this idea, how do you intend to deal with the pressure that comes with the responsibility of being the seventh best in the World?

I. D. - The pressure has to do with the responsibility of keeping or improving the 7th place. I know I can get there and now I have to try to go further, without forgetting that the small details make all the difference. A wrong answer and you come down or vice versa. But now that I have achieved this level, I have to work on keeping it or rise further.

When you speak in rising you're already thinking about next year's World Championships in Sweden.

I. D. - Yes, my goal is to be, next year, in Sweden. I have to take advantage of what we're doing in Portugal, to train, to improve.

How do you rate, overall, the presence of the Portuguese team in Croatia?

I. D. - I think the performance was very good and we managed to improve our results both in PreO and TempO. Even the fourth place achieved in the Relay was excellent. In addition, this presence represented a gain in experience for all, a new perspective on different challenges.

What about the organization?

I. D. - The organization was excellent and I cannot point a single, less positive detail. Technically it was a spectacular event, with challenges beautifully designed, calling for a good map reading. And the people were fantastic, always attentive and available. It was spectacular overall.

What consequences may these results have in the future in relation to the Portuguese Trail Orienteering?

I. D. - These results gave us visibility and begin to turn the attention on us. Hopefully they will bring some advantages in terms of support, and will also call more people to try this Orienteering discipline.

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, July 20, 2015

Open letter: Splitting the WOC?

A few days before the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015, some prominent individuals reported about the intention of the International Orienteering Federation to split the World Championships in “sprint” and “forest”, to be held in alternate years. An open letter to the IOF Council and the national federations that worth to read.

“Are the traditional orienteering countries ready to organize a forest WOC without the “show event”; the sprint? Are they ready to organize and finance a forest WOC with good TV-productions in forest disciplines? Is it possible to get sponsors for a forest WOC?” These are some of the issues raised by a number of individuals essentially linked to the training area and high competition, insert in an open letter to the Council of the International Orienteering Federation and the national Federations. Per Forsberg, Simone Niggli, Brigitte Huber Grüniger, Radek Novotny, Daniel Hubmann, Bruno Nazário, Tom Quayle, Matthias Niggli and Janne Salmi are the signatories of a letter alerting, especially, for the care to be when you want to change, radically, “the most important international Orienteering event in the World.”

“As the World Orienteering Championship is the most important international orienteering event, changes need to be considered very carefully. In our opinion, it would be better to keep the status quo than to change something without being sure about the consequences. The last changes about the qualification scheme and the introduction didn’t shake the whole system of WOC, but splitting WOC will have big consequences for runners, teams, federations, organizers, media and IOF which we cannot predict at the moment”, can be read in the Open Letter. The signatories also make a point to remember the example of WOC 2014 in Venice and Lavarone: “So it’s even possible to organize a complete WOC in two places.”

Conclusions and proposals

After disclosing a set of possible difficulties and risks to take up the new model, Per Forsberg and his peers say: “If we want to increase the number of places and countries, we need to give the know-how to these countries, unless if it is urban or forest. There would thus be a need to build a group within international orienteering to provide quality and fairness in all international events, this operation being very expensive for the IOF. To organize an international orienteering event is not a simple task and needs lot of experience. But at the moment, there is not enough professional quality assurance at the events and knowledge is not going further to the next organizer as it always is a new country and a new organizing committee”, they note.

The Open Letter contains also some more conclusions and proposals: To improve the sport of orienteering and to get more attendance, visibility and excitement, WOC should not need to be shortened and separated. To show the fascination of orienteering widely, properly and annually - it is just the other way round: WOC should actually last 8-9 days, including two weekends. WOC should be a real orienteering festival and a window to our sport, shoving all its characters. [...] Rather than splitting the WOC, we’d (in case of difficulties in finding a WOC-host annually) rather see WOC organized biannually and simultaneously much effort to be put on rising the status on EOC and World Cup”, it's said. The risk to lose the fascination of our best event is too big!”, they conclude.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WTOC 2015: Ukraine (81 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Norway (89 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Ireland (8 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Hungary (38 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Poland (24 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Latvia (64 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Great Britain (38 photos)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WTOC 2015: Slovenia (35 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Sweden (80 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Slovakia (46 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Bulgaria (5 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Lithuania (42 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Croatia (55 photos)

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Monday, July 13, 2015

WTOC 2015: Germany (19 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Belgium (5 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Japan (33 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Russia (64 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Portugal (151 photos)

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

WTOC 2015: Finland (69 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Spain (40 photos)

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WTOC 2015: United States (31 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Italy (67 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Denmark (46 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Turkey (24 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Hong Kong (34 photos)

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WTOC 2015: Czech Republic (53 photos)

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Latin Countries Cup: 20 years of History

Spain was the big winner of the Latin Countries Cup 2015, held at Vlessart in early May. Inside Orienteering takes a look at the history of the Cup, which is soon 20 years old, has 17 member countries so far and has served as a bridge, increasingly solid, between Europe and America.

By Joaquim Margarido

Varna, Bulgaria, 1994. The lunch period marked a break in the Congress of the International Orienteering Federation and by a chance, Alexandrescu Constantin and Coman Ciprian, respectively President and General Secretary of the Romanian Orienteering Federation and Livio Guidolin, the General Secretary of the Italian Orienteering Federation and his wife sat down around the same table. From the intersection of conversations to the discovery of what both federations had in common was only a small step.

The chat continued and what started as a simple exchange of complimentary words, soon became more serious however with Alexandrescu’s proposal to organise an Orienteering competition for the Latin Countries. Enthusiastically received by Guidolin and, immediately, by the representatives of Federations of Spain, France and Portugal, also present at Varna, the idea had a practical effect the next Latin Countries Cup – 20 years of history day, with a special meeting aimed to formalise the foundation of the Latin Countries Cup. Name of the competition, goals, timings, composition of the teams, competition classes, results calculation formula, trophies, organisation and participation in expenses, such were the issues on the table. They drafted the project of statutes, and moved it on to the ratification stage by the five founding federations and elected the Italian Livio Guidolin as first General Secretary of the Latin Countries Cup. At Buzau, Romania, between 12th and 15th October 1995, took place the first edition of the Latin Countries Cup – Latinum Certamen, with the Romanian representation being the first one winning the competition.

The years of consolidation

Between 1996 and 1999, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain received by this order, the following editions of the Latin Countries Cup. In the meanwhile, Livio Guidolin gave his place of General Secretary to the Belgian Eric Hully, who remained in office between 1997 and 2005. These will be the years of consolidation. Increasingly, the Latin Countries Cup is stated as the friendly meeting place between Latin orienteers, providing the exchange of knowledge on training, pedagogy and methods of learning, in short, contributing to the development of Orienteering in the countries of Latin origin.

Belgium is admitted as a member of the Latin Countries Cup in 1997 and the 1998’s edition, held in Portugal, witnessed the participation of Brazil, which was accepted as the seventh full member, the first Latin American country to join the Latin Countries Cup. Between 2000 and 2008, the Latin Countries Cup revisited Belgium and the five founding countries. In 2004, again in Portugal, Mozambique is as a guest and accepted as full member the following year, along with Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela, in an edition held in Spain. In 2004, Spain won the right to keep definitively the trophy after winning the Portuguese edition, the third of a series that started in Italy
and continued in France. In the 2005 annual meeting, held in Seville, the Spanish José Angel Nieto Poblete was elected General Secretary of the Latin Countries Cup, place that he still holds and has just renewed until 2017. In 2008, Switzerland is admitted as a full member of the Latin Countries Cup.

A bridge over the Atlantic

The year 2009 represented a step forward in the history of the Cup, with the holding of the 15th edition for the first time outside Europe. In a process that began two years earlier by Itamar Torrezan and was concluded by Otavio Dornelles, Brazil organised an event that got participants from Uruguay and Chile, members no. 13 and 14 of a “club” that continues to grow.

Brazil would be the big winner of this edition, preceding Portugal which obtained in 2010 its first and only triumph in the competition’s history. In 2011, with the return of the competition to Spain, Costa Rica, Peru and Paraguay are admitted as full members, making the number of members 17. In 2014, the Latin Countries Cup crossed the Atlantic for the second time in its history, with the competition taking place in Uruguay. The victory in this edition went to Spain, repeating it already in 2015, in Belgium, in front the strong opposition from Belgians and Italians. In 2016 we will have a new transatlantic voyage, this time to Chile, contributing to the project to merge Europe and Latin America as hosts of the successive editions of the event. The years 2017 and 2019 already have Italy and Portugal as candidates for organising the event. And in 2018, who will be the Latin American country to host the Latin Countries Cup?

[See the original article in the IOF's newsletter Inside Orienteering, at Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation]

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Carles Lladó: A very influential veteran

This interview begins with an announcement: Carles Lladó is “the most veteran of the IberianPeninsula’s veterans”, but he is also “the most veteran of Southern Europe’s veterans.” He made a clear point of correcting me, putting things in the right place at the beginning of a cheerful interview where one of the strongest features of his character is always present: the truth. And it was with the truth that he answered the questions that now are presented to the readers of Inside Orienteering.

By Joaquim Margarido

The morning opens in shades of pale. The sea breeze blows rough and there, in the Dunes of Mira along the Atlantic Coast, the month of February is keen to show that the Portuguese winter may not be as gentle as one might believe. The arena for the Portugal O’ Meeting was starting to fill up when I met him. Not encountered since 2012, I wondered if he had ceased his activities in orienteering. But no. There he was, prepared for another big event, a respectable aura under a beard of pure white, the look of a child peering at everything around him. After the emotional embrace, and the necessary correction made (see above), the question arises naturally. Where do you get, at 84 years of age, the energy to keep up such activity and continue Orienteering? Carles doesn’t waste time and reveals the secret: “I believe this is due to the fact that I have practised physical activity throughout my life and have been able to maintain the neurons active.”

Carles Lladó y Badia was born in Igualada, Anoia, in 1931. Licensed in Architecture and as an Urban Planner, a graduate in Sports Equipment, he has always been a multi-faceted figure, sharing an occupation in the areas of sculpture, jewellery design and manufacturing with the practice and promotion of sport, especially Orienteering, and also with the separatist political movement. Starting his sporting activity at the Club Atlètic d’Igualada he was, as a Veteran, Champion of Spain in the 110 metre hurdles and triple jump. A strong supporter of the international recognition of Catalan sport, he was one of the drivers of the Association for the Olympic Delegation of Catalonia, an organisation that demanded the recognition of the Olympic Committee of Catalonia for the participation of Catalan athletes in the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. In 2003 he was awarded the medal of the Generalitat, the autonomic government of Catalonia, for his contributions to Catalonia’s sporting history.

Orienteer first at the age of 58

Orienteering comes in only at 58 years old. “I feel sorry for being so late and, moreover, I can only compete with people of my age in major international events, where my class is covered. At most of the races I have to run sometimes with people who take thirty years of advantage – or disadvantage! - from me ...”, he says with a hearty laugh. But this is precisely one of the reasons that brings him to Portugal year after year to participate in the Portugal O’ Meeting. But it’s not the only one. Let him explain himself: “I belong to a club, the Club Orientació Catalunya [COC], which is twinned with a Portuguese club, the Clube de Orientação do Centro [COC]. This is a club deserving my greatest sympathy and respect and exists in a region whose terrains are much in the style of this one, terrains that I love because they’re softer to run in”, he explains.

We must say that Carles Lladó is not “just” another member of the Club Orientació Catalunya. He is the founder, having also founded, in 1988, the Orienteering Federation of Catalonia. He was also a member of the Directing Council of the Union of the Catalan Sports Federations between 1992 and 1996. In 2000, the Orienteering Federation of Catalonia established an annual Orienteering trophy with his name, the Carles Lladó Trophy. In 2012 he was silver medallist in Sprint in the M80 class at the World Masters Orienteering Championships in Bad Harzburg, Germany.

It was worth the effort”

How do you feel in the midst of these youngsters?

It was about 27 years ago that we started with Orienteering in Catalonia, and we made it from zero. Today it’s a real pleasure to go to the races and see how things have evolved. To see the huge bunch of children aged 12 or 14 actively and regularly practicing this sport gives me a great pleasure and makes me sure that it was worth the effort.”

Do you consider yourself a reference, a model for the younger?

Not a model but a ‘ground-breaker’ – along with my wife and other companions – in the construction process of Orienteering in Catalonia. From a personal point of view, this is what truly matters.”

Good things and bad things

Covering almost three decades of Orienteering and many experiences, one must be selected above all others and this has to do with the perception that Orienteering in Catalonia is under way. “Without wishing to be pretentious in my words, this is something that makes me particularly proud because it is my work. Today, there are people I do not know and there are people who do not know me and this is very good.” But not everything is rosy and there are also bad experiences, one of which has been very recent, in that he was forced to stop all physical activity due to a stroke in February last year. “I was eight days in a coma and I ended up recovering, taking pills after pills”, he recalls. And he adds: “Today I feel a little better, but it is difficult to bear with such a long break, especially because I feel that before the episode I was just above standard ability for my age from the physical and mental point of view, and now I feel I am below.”

Last year on the website WorldofO a 96-year-old orienteer, Rune Haraldsson, was awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2014”. Carles Lladó sees this distinction as “a prize to all Veterans and an example for the entire orienteering community. I can’t forget having seen, in Murcia in the 1996 World Masters Orienteering Championships, an athlete running through the forest, jumping over logs and down huge re-entrants. He was 95 years old and left me in deep admiration. I think this award is entirely fair. I don’t know if I can get to 96 years old (laughs).”

Orienteering and the Olympics

Living and feeling Orienteering intensely, Carles believes that our sport is moving in the right direction, but notes: “What I recommend is that the IOF continues to make all efforts to assure that Orienteering will be an Olympic sport. Maybe there still aren’t all the conditions in order to be accepted, but it would be fabulous if this could be a reality in the future.” Carles recalls the conversation held with Juan Antonio Samaranch, where the former President of the International Olympic Committee agreed that Orienteering, from the media point of view, with a good television production, has a potential superior to many other sports. “And this is the way we have to take,” he concludes.

Our interviewee warns all the “young boys” at the age of 57, that is all those who have the same age as Carles when he started orienteering, not to stay at home watching television. Orienteering may be a great alternative to a sedentary lifestyle: “Many of those who are now 57 years old have 57 years of advantage over me when I started, because at that time I knew nothing about orienteering and today, fortunately, people know our sport. But my advice is to be more active, to leave the sofa and not only to go to the park to watch the others play boules. They can be more active and try orienteering. I do it, my wife is almost 80 years old and she also does it, and I think that we can all do it. It is a wonderful sport, very formative, suitable for all ages and where the fellowship among everyone is great, something that is not readily seen in other sports”, he says. As for himself as a competitor, the Catalan has no doubts: “While the body and the mind can stand it, I’ll be here!”

For many years we travelled with our parents in a small van across Europe, participating in orienteering events that took place during the summer. Carles and his wife Tere also had a van, and we joined them to many of these competitions. In one of these summers, when I still ran in the M12 class, I remember that Carles taught me, on the beach, how to read the contour lines. We built “mountains” with the beach sand and he charted the contour lines with his finger. And so, looking down, I could see the same shapes that were so difficult to see from the map. I still remember, along with other friends, that many of us started to practise orienteering thanks to the races that he organised. Young people were a constant presence! Earlier, in Catalonia, we were the only children, but thanks to his efforts more and more children and young people were joining us. There was even a year in which Carles organised an Orienteering summer holiday. For me it was the greatest joy, being able to go orienteering with so many other children!”
Pol Ràfols

For some time Carles was insisting that we had to try this thing called orienteering. Until one day, my parents found enough courage and took us to a small place near Barcelona. I went with Tere and she gave me a map which I was looking at, putting my little finger on it and following the route. When we had finished, Carles told me: ‘You did that very well!’ And so the story began.”
Ona Ràfols

For me, Carles was and still is a benchmark in many aspects of my life. Practising Athletics from an early age, and travelling all over the world in a very humble way, he is a very demanding man and often critical. I can say that it was thanks to him that my life has changed since I discovered orienteering, which is right now one of the most important aspects of my life.”
Biel Ràfols

See the original article in the IOF's newsletter Inside Orienteering, at Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation

Friday, July 10, 2015

JWOC 2015: Relay titles to Finland and Sweden in the end of the Championships

By winning the Relay, Finland in Men class, and Sweden in Women class, closed in the best way its participation in the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2015. Renewal of title in the case of Swedish and a victory with a very special flavour for the Finns, something that didn't happened since... 1999!

Repeating what happened in the Long Distance held yesterday, the national anthems of Finland and Sweden were on air again during the Prize Giving Ceremony of JWOC 2015. Olli Ojanaho and Sara Hagström jumped again over the highest place on the podium, but this time within the respective teams, big winners of the Relay that took place, again, at the Skisenteret of Rauland, Norway. With teams from 36 countries competing in the Men class and from 26 countries in the Women class, the course ended celebrating the 26th edition of a Championships which will be in the memory of all, for its organizational high level and for its quality and technical challenge in spectacular terrains.

In the Men class, Finland was the winner, in part thanks to a phenomenal performance of Topi Raitanen in the first leg. The advantage of 1:15 to Sweden, seeded second, was jealously guarded by Aleksi Niemi, who also got the fastest time on the second leg. With more than three minutes to manage in the final leg, Olli Ojanaho has done its homework, offering to Finland the first title of this millennium (the last time that Finland won the Relay at JWOC was in 1999, when Mikko Heikelä, Jonne Lakanen and Pasi Ikonen imposed themselves to the French team, at the time with Thierry Gueorgiou). Norway and Sweden fought hard for the silver medal, with the outcome to be solved in favour of the "home team" by a margin of 19 seconds.

Finland dominates medal board

As in 2014, in the Junior World Champs of Borovets (Bulgaria), Sweden was the winner of the Women's Relay, thanks to a spectacular turnover operated in the decisive leg and signed by Sara Hagström. Norway had a demolishing start, throwing his two teams to the lead with an advantage up to a minute and a half over the concurrence. The Swiss Simona Aebersold, current World Champion in Sprint was the fastest in the second leg, but the truth is that the advantage of Norway over the other competitors did not cease to increase, which was then of 1:49 on Switzerland and 01:58 over Sweden. In the third leg, however, Sara Hagström showed why she is a prodigy of the world's Orienteering and one of the stars of this JWOC, despite the failure in the Sprint and Middle Distance courses. Leaving Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) at 2:56 and Marie Olaussen (Norway) at distant 4:50, Hagström offered the gold to Sweden, which happens for the 9th time in 26 editions of the Championships.

Now that the JWOC 2015 came to an end, it is possible to analyse the medal board and found that, similarly to what happened in 2014, only five nations reached the gold in these Championships. Finland, with three titles - in addition to the Men Relay, Olli Ojanaho won the gold in Middle Distance and Long Distance -, is the big winner of the Championships, followed by Sweden with two wins - in Women Relay and Sara Hagström in Long Distance. Norway (Anine Ahlsand, Middle Distance), Switzerland (Simona Aebersold, Sprint) and New Zealand (Tim Robertson, Sprint) complete the Hall of Fame in terms of gold medals. Sweden reached three times the silver medal, while Norway and Finland did so on two occasions and Switzerland in one. As for the bronze, Switzerland reached three medals while Norway won two and Finland and Sweden one each. It only remains to refer to one bronze medal to close the medalist, which fell to Lithuania (the sixth country on this very particular board), thanks to the performance of Algirdas Bartkevicius in the Sprint.


1. Finland (Topi Raitanen, Aleksi Niemi, Olli Ojanaho) 1:36:39
2. Norway (Hakon Christiansen, Anders Felde Olaussen, Markus Holter) 01:38:02 (+ 01:23)
3. Sweden (Emil Granqvist, Erik Andersson, Simon Hector) 01:38:21 (+ 01:42)
4. France (Arnaud Perrin, Mathieu Perrin, Nicolas Rio) 01:43:30 (+ 06:51)
5. Austria (Rafael Dobnik, Mathias Peter, Matthias Gröell) 01:44:07 (+ 07:28)
6. Switzerland (Joey Hadorn, Noah Zbinden, Patrick Zbinden) 01:44:21 (+ 07:42)
33. Portugal (Carolina Delgado, Daniel Catarino, André Esteves) 2:30:01 (+ 53:22)

1. Sweden (Andrea Svensson, Johanna Oberg, Sara Hagström) 1:44:17
2. Switzerland (Sofie Bachmann, Simona Aebersold, Sandrine Mueller) 01:47:04 (+ 02:47)
3. Norway (Heidi Martensson, Tonje Vassend, Marie Olaussen) 01:47:09 (+ 02:52)
4. Finland (Niina Hulkkonen, Emmi Jokela, Pihla Otsamo) 01:49:57 (+ 05:40)
5. Poland (Weronika Cych, Maja Morawska, Aleksandra Hornik) 01:51:55 (+ 07:38)
6. Denmark (Josefine Lind, Amanda Falck Weber, Miri Thrane Odum) 01:55:07 (+ 10:50)

[Photo: JWOC 2015 /]

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, July 09, 2015

JWOC 2015: Gold to Ojanaho and Hagström in the Long Distance

Olli Ojanaho and Sarah Hagstrom reached today the gold in Long Distance. Finally the victory in an individual event in these World Championships to Hagström, on the day that Ojanaho saw confirmed his name as the star of the Championships.

Last individual final of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2015, the Long Distance course took place on the map of Rauland Skisenteret (Norway), counting with the presence of 157 male athletes and 133 female athletes. In a very demanding terrain, both technically and physically, the course would have on the Finnish Olli Ojanaho its big name, repeating the presence on the top of the podium after, last Tuesday, have also get the title of World Champion in the Middle Distance. An achievement that only four times was found in 26 editions of JWOC, the last one in 2008 by the Swedish Johan Runesson. Ojanaho went back to the “recipe” of the great champions, basing his performance on close and careful orienteering when needed and running full speed whenever possible. In the second place ranked the Swedish Simon Hector, one of the first athletes to complete his course, having to wait almost three long hours of great anxiety to know the final outcome, during which he remained in the lead. The Norwegian Andreas Sølberg concluded in the third position, 1:26 behind the winner.

In the women's class, the Swedish Sara Hagström finally reached the gold. Pointed as the big favourite to three individual medals, Hagström would flop in the Sprint to then end up seeing her excellent victory in the Middle Distance qualification heat to translate into a “modest” 11th place in the end. Today, however, everything was different and the Swedish athlete dominated from start to finish, despite the intense fighting moved by the Finnish Anna Haataja, second placed with more 40 seconds. Sandrine Mueller, from Switzerland, finished third, repeating the bronze achieved in the final of Middle Distance. Heidi Mertensson, in 4th place, was the best Norwegian athlete. It should be noted that this was surely the most desired medal for Sara Hagström, after being second in this distance in the last two editions of JWOC. On the Swedish Orienteering Federation website - - it's possible to read that Sara didn't have time to taste the course that led to her third - and last! - World Junior title. “I was very nervous and fought from beginning to end. I made some small mistakes but it's not easy to make a Long Distance absolutely clean”, she said.

As for the Portuguese, it is no glory that they leave Rauland and the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2015. In the last course, Daniel Catarino spent more 30:20 than the winner and was ranked 120th, while André Esteves finished in the 134th position, with more 39: 02 than the winner. In the women class, the picture was no better, with Joana Fernandes finishing in 114th place with a time of 1:35:20 and Carolina Delgado to spend more 2:05 seconds than her teammate and be the 119th classified. The Junior World Orienteering Championships ends tomorrow with the Relay. All to check at


1. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 1:07:00
2. Simon Hector (Sweden) 01:08:15 (+ 01:15)
3. Andreas Soelberg (Norway) 01:08:26 (+ 01:26)
4. Aidan Smith (Great Britain) 1:09:05 (+ 02:05)
5. Simon Imark (Sweden) 01:09:13 (+ 02:13)
6. Matthias Groell (Austria) 01:10:12 (+ 03:12)
7. Audun Heimdal (Norway) 01:10:49 (+ 03:49)
8. Tobia Pezatti (Switzerland) 01:10:58 (+ 03:58)
9. Shamus Morrison (New Zealand) 01:11:05 (+ 04:05)
10. Tim Robertson (New Zealand) 01:11:12 (+ 04:12)

1. Sara Hagstrom (Sweden) 52:06
2. Anna Haataja (Finland) 52:46 (+ 00:40)
3. Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) 54:19 (+ 02:13)
4. Heidi Martensson (Norway) 54:46 (+ 02:40)
5. Miri Thrane Odum (Denmark) 55:44 (+ 03:38)
6. Simona Aebersold (Switzerland) 55:51 (+ 03:45)
7. Karoliina Ukskoski (Finland) 55:53 (+ 03:47)
8. Marie Olaussen (Norway) 57:07 (+ 05:01)
9. Johanna Oberg (Sweden) 57:19 (+ 05:13)
10. Andrea Svensson (Sweden) 57:37 (+ 05:31)

[Photo: Malin Björqvist /]

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Inside Orienteering 02/2015: Anna Jacobson's last issue

The latest issue of Inside Orienteering, the newsletter of the International Orienteering Federation, is already published. Marked by Anna Jacobson's farewell from the charge of Assistant Secretary General of that organization and Editor-in-Chief of the O-Zine, this is a number with a very special meaning.

Unannounced, the invitation came by surprise. Anna Jacobson wrote me asking my collaboration in the edition of the World Orienteering 2012. She needed an “expert” in MTB Orienteering and... I was the “expert” (?) From the surprise to the doubt was the time of a second. Would I be able to correspond to what she expected from me? Over there, the conditions were simple: it is volunteer work. I just asked to not see “censored” my articles and to let me write about what is happening in the Latin countries. Anna accepted. Me too. When I see, in the latter number, an article about the life and work of the Catalan Carles Llado and a historical review of the Latin Countries Cup, I am sure I did well in accepting the challenge. This always open window, from Italy to Mozambique, from Cuba to Portugal, was my greatest reward in the nearly three years of collaboration.

But this collaboration was not reduced to Orienteering World. In December 2012 I signed, with an Interview to the Swiss Matthias Kyburz, my first article in Inside Orienteering and a photo of mine had Cover honours. The collaboration get more and more closer and in the following two years and half 24 articles were signed by me on 13 numbers. Adding to this 13 interviews for the “Athlete of the Month” and we can have an idea about the scale of this work. Volunteer, I repeat! And always, but always, with the huge support of Anna and the understanding and patience of Clive Allen, “washing” my English.

That is why, alongside of a sense of pride and commitment, I cannot help but feel some sadness today, in the precise day of Anna's departure from the office at Radiokatu. A major overhaul in the structure of the IOF and the changing of the office from Finland to Sweden eventually spell the end of a beautiful story, based on trust and friendship. I know Anna, wherever you go, whatever you do, that you'll always be successful. You're a fighter and your ability to work are the guarantee of a promising future. As for me, I don't know. Officially I've not received any invitation to keep the collaboration with the IOF, in current or new terms. But, about one thing, I'm sure: I'll miss you, Anna!

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

JWOC 2015: Middle distance titles to Ojanaho and Ahlsand

By the same margin - 14 seconds (!) - Olli Ojanaho and Anine Ahlsand won the gold medal in the final of Middle Distance that filled the third day of the program of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2015.

The Finnish Olli Ojanaho and the Norwegian Anine Ahlsand are the new Junior World Champions in Middle Distance after victories by the same margin of 14 seconds face their most direct opponents. Bronze medalist in the last Junior World Championships in this distance, Ojanaho showed once more why he is already a “guarentee” of the world Orienteering, coming this time to the gold medal, after having already won his qualifying heat, yesterday. The young Finnish athlete demonstrated again an impressive technical capacity and, thanks to of a strong start, managed to grant a valuable distance over his adversaries. Despite the difficulties in the latter part of his course, Ojanaho eventually reach the victory with a time of 25:13, against 25:27 of the Swedish Erik Andersson, second placed. The third place fell to the Swiss Sven Hellmuller, with more 1:03 than the winner.

The women's course had a more "tight" outcome, with the first six ranked separated by differences of less than one minute. Playing home, the young Anine Ahlsand, of only 18 years old, turned out to be the strongest, fulfilling her course in 26:57 and offering to Norway a much acclaimed victory. As in Men class, here also Sweden reached the silver medal, by Johanna Oberg, while the bronze medal went to Switzerland, by Sandrine Mueller. Defending the world title achieved in Borovets (Bulgaria, 2014) and big favourite for the victory, the Swedish Sara Hagstrom was again in “day out”, finishing in the 11th place with more 03:01 than the winner.


1. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 25:13
2. Erik Andersson (Sweden) 25:27 (+ 00:14)
3. Sven Hellmuller (Switzerland) 26:16 (+ 1:03)
4. Jonas Madslien Bakken (Norway) 26:22 (+ 1:09)
5. Audun Heimdal (Norway) 26:43 (+ 1:30)
6. Nikita Stepanov (Russia) 26:57 (+ 1:44)
7. Emil Granqvist (Sweden) 27:21 (+ 2:08)
8. Jens Ronnols (Sweden) 27:32 (+ 2:19)
9. Markus Holter (Norway) 27:33 (+ 2:20)
10. Anton Kuukka (Finland) 27:44 (+ 2:31)

1. Anine Ahlsand (Norway) 26:57
2. Johanna Oberg (Sweden) 27:11 (+ 0:14)
3. Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) 27:14 (+ 00:17)
4. Anna Haataja (Finland) 27:30 (+ 0:33)
5. Ingeborg Eide (Norway) 27:48 (+ 00:51)
6. Tilda Johansson (Sweden) 27:55 (+ 0:58)
7. Paula Gross (Switzerland) 29:04 (+ 02:07)
8. Pihla Otsamo (Finland) 29:25 (+ 2:28)
9. Andrea Svensson (Sweden) 29:26 (+ 2:29)
10. Marie Olaussen (Norway) 29:52 (+ 02:55)

Complete results and further information at

[Photo: Jan Kocbach /]

Joaquim Margarido

Plzeň MTBO 5 Days: Victories of Vojtěch Stránský and Emily Benham

The Plzeň MTBO 5 Days, internationally renowned event of MTB Orienteering, came to the end. With a record of participation of 721 athletes from 26 different nations, Vojtěch Stránský and Emily Benham were the big winners in the Elite classes.

Daniel Marques classifies it as “the best MTBO competition in the planet" and he knows well what he is talking about. Organized by Klub Orientačních Sportu Plzeň and the Czech Orienteering Federation, the Plzeň MTBO 5 Days attracted to that popular city in the center west of the country, the absolutely stunning number of 721 athletes from 26 nations, for five days of great competition and fun. Consisting in three stages of Middle Distance, a stage of Long Distance and a stage of Sprint and directed to 19 competition classes and two open classes, the event scored for the World Ranking of this discipline, for the Czech Republic Cup in MTBO and allowed also know the new National Champions of that country in the Sprint distance.

In the Men Elite class, the victories in the five stages were divided between the French Baptiste Fuchs, the Norwegian Hans Jørgen Kvale and the Czech Vojtěch Stránský, Jiří Hradil and František Bogar. With the results in the Long Distance weighing significantly on the overall standings, Stránský took the lead for the decisive stage. Runned in the format of “chasing start”, the course gave to him an advantage over the Czech Hradil of 4:16, 4:55 on the Finnish Jussi Laurila and 5:40 on Fuchs, their most direct adversaries. In the end, Hradil almost would reach Stránský, but he knew to keep jealously the advantage, winning by mere 14 seconds. In the third position, at 1:38 to the winner, was ranked Jussi Laurila.

Benham get a “full”

Unlike the Men Elite class, with the victories in the five stages evenly distributed for as many athletes, in the Women Elite class Emily Benham “cleared” the five stages. With more than eleven minutes to manage and a quiet last stage ahead, the British won also the final course, showing - if there were doubts - why she is the leader of the IOF World Ranking. In the end, the British registered an advantage of 11:13 over the French Gaëlle Barlet. In third position, with more 20:49 than Benham, ranked the Italian Laura Scaravonati.

Five Portuguese also embraced the challenging adventure in the Czech Republic, with a prominent note to Daniel Marques, 13th ranked in the Men Elite class. In the same class, João Ferreira finished in the 27th place, while Guilherme Marques participated only in the first three stages. In the M50 class, Inácio Serralheiro finished in the 10th place, while Pedro Serralheiro would be disqualified in the fourth stage.

Final Results

1. Vojtěch Stránský (Czech Republic) 4:41:58
2. Jiří Hradil (Czech Republic) 4:42:12 (+ 00:14)
3. Jussi Laurila (Finland) 4:43:36 (+ 01:38)
4. Baptiste Fuchs (France) 4:45:43 (+ 03:45)
5. Luca Dallavalle (Italy) 4:53:01 (+ 11:03)
6. Rasmus Sogaard (Denmark) 4:53:52 (+ 11:54)
7. Hans Jørgen Kvale (Norway) 4:54:08 (+ 12:10)
8. Margus Hallik (Estonia) 4:54:09 (+ 12:11)
9. Kevin Haselsberger (Austria) 4:56:09 (+ 14:11)
10. Radek Laciga (Czech Republic) 4:59:58 (+ 18:00)

1. Emily Benham (Great Britain) 4:22:26
2. Gaëlle Barlet (France) 4:33:39 (+ 11:13)
3. Laura Scaravonati (Italy) 4:43:15 (+ 20:49)
4. Susanna Laurila (Finland) 4:48:01 (+ 25:35)
5. Hana Garde (France) 4:52:22 (+ 29:56)
6. Sonja Zinkl (Austria) 4:52:50 (+ 30:24)
7. Caecilie Christoffersen (Denmark) 4:53:09 (+ 30:43)
8. Marquita Gelderman (New Zealand) 5:08:48 (+ 46:22)
9. Marina Reiner (Austria) 5:13:01 (+ 50:35)
10. Štěpánka Stankova (Czech Republic) 5:17:40 (+ 55:14)

Complete results and other information at

[Photo: Zuzka Jedličková /]

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, July 06, 2015

JWOC 2015: Norway with twelve athletes in the Middle Distance Final A

With the Middle Distance's qualifying heats, continued today in Norway the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2015. Straining all the twelve athletes into the final A, the home team is the great winner of the day, while Portugal stayed out of the big decisions scheduled for tomorrow.

Krossen, in Telemark region, Norway, hosted the second day of the program of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2015. In a very detailed and technically demanding terrain, 158 male athletes and 136 female, representing 40 countries, participated in the courses. Divided into three heats each, male and female athletes discussed a place to the final, ensured by positioning among the top 20 of their respective boards. Norway, with twelve athletes, was the big winner of the day, while the individual triumphs in each of the heats belonged to the Swedish Simon Imark, Erik Andersson and Sarah Hagstrom, the Finnish Olli Ojanaho and Noora Koskinen and Sandrine Mueller, from Switzerland.

Among the sixty athletes from 26 nations qualified for the final A in the Men class, highlight Norway and Finland, with six athletes each. Sweden and Switzerland, with five athletes each and Russia and Denmark with four athletes each, complete the set of the most represented countries in the final. The New Zealander Tim Robertson, currently the World Champion in Sprint and the Italian Ricardo Scalet, silver medalist in last year's JWOC, are some of the names that will be present in the final, along with the north american Morten Jorgensen and the canadian Alexander Bergstrom, real surprises in this very particular list. Out of the finals are the Portuguese Daniel Catarino and André Esteves, as some other respected names, including the Swedish Oskar Leinonen and the French Quentin Rauturier.

In the women's class, the sixty athletes who stamped the passport to the final represent 21 nations, with Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and the Czech Republic placing six athletes each into the final. With five athletes in the final will be Finland and Denmark while Germany and France lead four representatives to the decisive stage. Among the best performances, the focus is on the Swedish Sara Hagstrom, shattering in her heat, leaving the second placed at a distance of more than three minutes. Who hadn't a good day was the Norwegian Heidi Martensson, losing about ten minutes on the first control, but eventually reaching the final for narrow margin. The surprises in the final gave by the the name of Amanda Johansson (United States) and Martha Guijo Alonso (Spain). On the negative side, a reference to the British Fiona Bunn (out of the final for just five seconds), the Finnish Karoliina Ukskoski and the Polish Angelika Maciejewska. Here too, Portugal saw its athletes staying out of the big decisions, with Joana Fernandes and Carolina Delgado ranked in the second half of their standings.


1. Simon Imark (Sweden) 00:14
2. Sven Hellmuller (Switzerland) 24:54 (+ 00:40)
3. Jens Ronnols (Sweden) 25:46 (+ 1:32)
43. Daniel Catarino (Portugal) 37:47 (+ 13:33)

1. Erik Andersson (Sweden) 23:41
2. Markus Holter (Norway) 23:42 (+ 00:01)
3. Audun Heimdal (Norway) 24:49 (+ 01:08)

1. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 00:49
2. Simon Hector (Sweden) 25:16 (00:27 +)
3. Alexei Yaganov (Russia) 25:52 (+ 01:03)
47. André Esteves (Portugal) 43:54 (+ 19:05)

1. Sandrine Mueller (Switzerland) 25:13
2. Anine Ahlsand (Norway) 25:37 (+ 0:24)
3. Simona Aebersold (Switzerland) 26:36 (+ 01:23)

1. Noora Koskinen (Finland) 00:39
2. Andrea Svensson (Sweden) 24:58 (+ 00:19)
3. Sigrid Alexandersen 25:57 (+ 01:18)
33. Joana Fernandes 42:20 (+ 17:41)

1. Sara Hagstrom (Sweden) 25:00
2. Niina Hulkonen (Finland) 28:10 (+ 3:10)
3. Lisa Schubnell (Switzerland) 29:01 (+ 04:01)
34. Carolina Delgado (Portugal) 44:32 (+ 19:32)

Full results and further information at

[Photo: Lars Rönnols]

Joaquim Margarido