Thursday, October 29, 2015

Olli Ojanaho: "My biggest goal is to take the next step closer to the best athletes"

Those who have seen him competing, have no doubts. Here he is, the great successor of names like Janne Salmi or Jani Lakanen, Pasi Ikonen or Mårten Boström who, over the years, glittered worlwide with the colours of Finland. On the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's stage, today, we welcome Olli Ojanaho. Come to know him a little better.

Last 3rd October you ran, at Arosa, your first World Cup stage ever. How important was it for you?

Olli Ojanaho (O. O.) - It was very important to get a first impression of what is waiting in the Elite class. I was sick just before the competitions, had to skip the Long Distance and wasn't able to run well in Middle Distance as it was my first hard effort for over a week - and even made a couple of pretty stupid mistakes. But I think the experience was really important for me. Being in the same competitions with (almost) all the best athletes, running tough and challenging courses and seeing the level the best guys are performing at is extremely inspiring and motivating, something that I value more than my position or even my performance when running a World Cup for the very first time.

The season is over and it's time, now, for a well deserved rest. Can you choose the ideal place for fifteen days of vacation without maps? Are you able to focus in everything else but Orienteering?

O. O. - This year I will spend the off-season at home but, for the upcoming years, the place of my dreams for fifteen days of vacation would be like the following: A place with a temperature between + 25º to 35º C and a lot of sunshine, a comfortable all-inclusive hotel close to the beach, as well as some mountains or beautiful nature around. Most days like on a beach holiday, but a couple of nice hiking days in the mountains/nature as well. One shopping day, one day in a water park and, perhaps, some nightlife in the last night. Good food every day! That kind of vacation could surely make me totally forget orienteering for a while.

How boring life can be without Orienteering?

O. O. - I don't think it would be boring but it's, of course, better with orienteering! It's such a special thing to run in different kinds of forests in different countries, finding your way with a map in places you haven't been before and discovering the beautiful nature on the Earth that way. It's the feeling when you are running in a new place with a new map that makes me remember why Orienteering is my sport for life.

You did an amazing season, first with two gold medals at EYOC and, one week later, with another three gold medals at JWOC. Did you expect it?

O. O. - There are always a lot of guys aiming for medals so I can't say I was expecting to win in total of six medals [also a bronze at EYOC's Relay] before the Championships. But I knew that I was in a good shape as well as able to achieve top results when it really counts. And considering that we had strong teams in both relays, it wasn't a surprise either.

Can you mention one particular moment during these two weeks that lasts in your mind?

O. O. - Definitely! The moment when we crossed the finish line, with Topi [Raitanen] and Aleksi [Niemi] at JWOC Relay. We had known each other for years and been to many training camps together so it was extremely great to end a fantastic week with a fantastic team performance with those guys.

I'm sure that you followed the big events along the season. What moments / athletes impressed you the most?

O. O. - There were so many impressive performances and moments, so it's hard to pick just a few. But one of the most unforgettable experiences of the season as a follower was IFK Göteborg's victory in 10mila. A nice mix with older guys and young talents, running through the night in a balanced way leg after leg and finally, after a tight and exciting decision, winning the relay, to many people's surprise, was something special. The most impressive athlete was probably Daniel Hubmann, doing again a brilliant season and showing once more his ability to achieve absolute top results, no matter what's the terrain or the distance.

Have you a person which is an inspiration for you? Can you tell me why?

O. O. - Let's say the multiple World Champion in Ski Orienteering, Staffan Tunis. I was in the same Finnish team when both senior and junior European Championships took place in Latvia in 2013. I was impressed on his attitude to the sport, the way he prepared himself for the competitions and how he handled the races one at a time when they were over. A lot can be summarized with Eivind Tonna's (the headcoach of the national team) words that I once read in a newspaper: “I have never heard him complaining about anything. He only focuses on things he can affect by himself.”

Searching on the web, we can see that you have a blog - - where you write a lot. Can you present your “work”? How important is it for you?

O. O. - I don't have time to write so much there, but I try to do an overview of what has happened in the past weeks every now and then. Updating a blog takes more time than short updates in social media but I think, and have heard the same from other people, that it's often more interesting to read stories that contain more information, more analysis and are generally a bit more profound, compared to the posts in social media.

I ask you for a comment to Thierry Gueorgiou's words: “It's in winter that you win the upcoming Summer medals”.

O. O. - That's definitely true because during the winter season, when there are not many competitions all the time like in summer, it's easier to focus on specific things that one needs to improve their performance. In winter there is a lot of time to train the basics as well as those specific things and winter creates the basis for the competition season. But on the other hand, every single day of the year is, of course, as decisive if one wants to think it that way.

How will your winter season be? Do you plan to come to Portugal for the Portugal O' Meeting?

O. O. - I will spend my winter mostly at home, in Rovaniemi, going to school and doing physical training. Then it's going to be some shorter training camps in Southern Finland and possibly Sweden or Norway. We'll have a longer training camp with the junior national team in Antalya, in late February, so I unfortunately don't have room for POM in my agenda, even though it would be great competitions and nice to take part as well.

What's your biggest goal for the next season?

O. O. - My biggest goal is to take the next step closer to the best athletes, both physically and technically. Single races or results are not so important; rather I want to have a stable season and progress in every section.

[Photo: Ethan Childs /]

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, October 26, 2015

Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg: "It's nice to see that I still can be part of the game"

She offered to Norway two silver medals in the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015 and got a winning in the World Cup's penultimate stage. To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Anne-Margrethe Hausken Nordberg highlights these and other moments, recalling a season full of emotions.

Congratulations on your victory in a World Cup stage, seven years after the last one. What special meaning does it have for you? Did you expect it?

Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg (A. M. H. N.) - Thanks a lot. It felt good to make a clean race at an individual competition, in contrast to WOC this year. My coach Frode Balchen advised me to do some mental preparations to convince myself that I could perform well in Arosa, despite no preparations for high altitude (I arrived at 10 pm the evening before the race) and no recent trainings in Swiss alpine terrain. One can never expect the victory, but I felt comfortable about my race plan and thought my shape was good enough to win. I went to the start with a nice balance of self-confidence and respect for the upcoming task.

You're not exactly a teenager, you have children to take care, ... Well, there must be a secret for such good results this season. Would you like to share with me what you did, what changes have you done?

A. M. H. N. - For several years I have not done big changes in my training, but after Sigrid was born (July 2014) I did because two children means less time for training and rest. Running is the most effective training. After the first 10 weeks of build-up after birth, all my endurance training was running or orienteering. From Oct 1st 2014 to Sep 30th 2015 I ran 535 hours. My previous highest amount of running during one year was 420 hrs in 2008. Back then – and every other year – I have done a lot of alternative training on top of the running, but not this year.

Another change was that I trained at home in Oslo all the time, because traveling with a baby is stressful. I agreed with Kenneth Buch (Norwegian head coach) to skip the national team training camps, except our WOC precamp. This flexible solution was important to me. Staying home also meant I did not care about chasing world ranking points from winter competitions. My ranking position in April was about 900 (forest) and 1300 (sprint), so I know something about early starting times this year.

I enjoyed local competitions and club trainings with Nydalens SK, where my husband Anders is head coach. I prepared for relays by competing with the boys in our club. Even if I skipped the camps, there was plenty of logistics for the competitions. Both pairs of grandparents live far away from us, but we are lucky to get help from them when we travel.

Talking about the WOC, did you feel well prepared for the Championships? What goals have you drawn?

A. M. H. N. - I felt well prepared, as I had been healthy and injury free. My WOC goal was to perform well and fight for medals.

Would you like to talk about your amazing performances and the silver medals in Relay and Sprint Mixed Relay? Did you expect it?

A. M. H. N. - For the sprint relay, I expected to start out behind the favorite teams. As that happened I tried to stick to my plan - be calm and save energy for the last 5 minutes. That relay I started thinking of last autumn, and I told Øystein Kvaal Østerbø that I was keen on us chasing a non-expected medal. For the forest relay, I predicted all kinds of scenarios, and hoped that my experience would help me getting the best out of it. I tried to be calm in the first part and switched to be more offensive with 10 controls left, keeping the initiative from then on.

Which of them is more significant to you?

A. M. H. N. - I think the sprint mixed relay medal was something extra. I have been so fed up about the attitude towards sprint in Norway. Certain voices tell us that we run too slowly and that we have no chance in sprint, which is by the way not real orienteering. Bringing home a relay medal does probably not change everything, however I believe it meant something. Sharing it with my old sprint mates Elise Egseth and Øystein Kvaal Østerbø was great, and “the kid” Håkon Jarvis Westergård did a solid WOC debut. Our mapmaker Gaute Hallan Steiwer did not make it to the team, but his work made us feel very well prepared. In addition, it was great to see our sprint coach Emil Wingstedt so happy.

And what about the WOC individual races?

A. M. H. N. - In the Middle Distance I lost my flow and self-confidence to the second control, even if I didn’t lose that much time there. I hesitated throughout the course, and after the race felt I was never close to anything. It was easy to forget that race and reload for the forest relay.

I feel good about the Long Distance, except the longest leg. Two parallel mistakes there cost me all the time I was behind the big fight. I grew up on the island Karmøy, on the western coast of Norway, and the first half of our long distance was just like my home terrain. I enjoyed it a lot.

What motivation your results during the season represent for the future?

A. M. H. N. - I think that you should not take decisions about the future when you are either too high or too low. Most days are ordinary training days, and as long as I am motivated for those, I can go on. However, of course it's nice to see that I can still be part of the game.

If I asked you a moment - the great achievement of the season -, what would be your choice?

A. M. H. N. - Running O-Ringen this year was a big challenge. It started three days after I found out my arm was broken in the elbow. It happened during our WOC sprint selection two weeks earlier, but I did not care taking a picture of it earlier because I was mostly on travel. We decided just to tape it stiff before the races and I promised the doctor not to fall. The races themselves make O-Ringen a tough week, but we travelled to Borås with our kids and stayed in a hired caravan. My arm was not capable of carrying kids, as well as a lot of other practical stuff. We left our caravan early every morning, caught the bus, Anders ran his H21K after dropping Tarjei by the children care on his way to start, by the time he finished his race I had put Sigrid to sleep and had to leave for my start, then he took both kids to miniknat while I ran, and we all took our time after the race and caught a late bus, going directly to the dinner tent at O-Ringentown, joining the prize giving there on our way back to the caravan. Of course, there was time for nice chats with both our club mates in Nydalen and other friends, but O-Ringen with small kids means no rest. When I ran toward the finish inside Borås Arena and heard that I had defended my lead, it was a special moment. I was happy for a clean race under high pressure, it was my first big individual victory for several years, and I looked forward to some rest…

It's time for a break, now, I believe. What have you planned for a well deserved rest?

A. M. H. N. - Normal family life and no traveling, except a visit to my parents on Karmøy. Some weeks of less training hours and without high intensity training.

Are you already thinking about next season, now that present season is over?

A. M. H. N. - Next summer I would like to run O-Ringen and WOC. I am not sure if I will travel to World Cup and EOC during spring. It is easier to peak for just one competition period. In addition, there is already plenty of fun with the club during spring.

[Photo: Anders Robertsson]

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, October 24, 2015

WTOC 2015: Photography exhibition presented in Zagreb

It is open to the public, at the HPD “Zagreb-Matica”'s house, a photography exhibition that recalls some of the WTOC 2015's finest moments. The opening took place last night and was a pretext for meeting many members of the World Championships' organizing team, revisiting a precious time of communion and joy.

The headquarters of the Croatian Mountaineering Society Planinarsko Hrvatsko Društvo "Zagreb-Matica" hosted, yesterday's early evening, a singular event. Meeting the memories, the places and the people who made the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2015, held in Zagreb and Karlovac last month of June, took place the opening of a collective exhibition authored by the photographers Branka Dimić, Senke Jurkovic Gros, Mladen Fliss and Čedomil Gros, complemented by a Velimir Brezar's video. The opening words were given by Anton Bikic, President of HPD “Zagreb-Matica” and exhibition's host. Čedomil Gros, main organizer of this event and Damir Gobec, Director of WTOC 2015 also uttered welcome words. Zdenko Horjan and Ivana Gobec, respectively Planner and Mapmaker of WTOC 2015, the athletes Iva Lovrec, Ivica Bertol and Tomislav Varnica, and even names related to the organization, such as Sanja Zuzic or Boško Opalić, were some of the many personalities presented at the event.

“We all thought that everything was worth showing, but we also wanted a little bit of gathering together again”, Ivana Gobec said to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog about the purpose of the event. Ivana still leaves some impressions: “The photos were very selected, and very few, by photographers' own choice, and it was a little surprise for us too”. Still a note to the fact that, during the cocktail reception, followed to the opening ceremony, having be displayed on a large screen a set of images from other photographers, many of which with the signature of Joaquim Margarido and the Portuguese Orienteering Blog. The exhibition will be open to the public during the month of November and it is expected that, after that, could be presented in other places.

[Photo: OK Vihor /]

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, October 10, 2015

6th CISM Military World Games: Switzerland and Russia take the gold in Relay

With the victories of Switzerland and Russia in the Relay, came to an end the Orienteering program included in the 6th CISM Military World Games. Overall, Russia showed all his power, winning six of eight gold medals.

After a well earned break, Orienteering has returned to 6th CISM Military World Games for the last stage. Similarly to what happened in the individual races of Middle and Long Distance, the uneven area around Dongyang University, at Mungyeong (South Korea), hosted the Relay, putting on trial 37 male teams and 16 female. Starting by the women's competition, after the higher performances of Tatiana Ryabkina and Yulia Novikova in the individual races, nobody expected anything other than a Russian victory. Called to join the team, Svetlana Mironova proved to be a weight reinforcement and, in the end, the demonstration of Russian's superiority translated into a new victory with the time of 1:46:46, and a lead of seven minutes on Latvia, second placed and 8:36 over Lithuania, ranked third.

In a more detailed analysis to the course, it is worth noting that Russia took the lead from the start, with Tatiana Ryabkina finishing the first leg with a comfortable advantage over Lithuania and Norway, at the time her most direct opponents. Latvia had a disastrous first leg, with Elina Karklina losing more than fourteen minutes (!) for the leadership and to leave her team in the 7th place; but Aija Skratina first and, in the final leg, Laura Vike, were perfect to ensure the best split times, crowning with the silver medal an absolutely sensational recuperation. After the achievement in the previous edition of the Games (Rio de Janeiro, 2011), where they reached the bronze medal, the Brazilians were this time many holes below than what would be expected. Franciely de Siqueira Chiles, the current Brazilian Champion, got badly on the map and the penultimate place in the end of the first route lay down any hope for a good result. Tania Maria Jesus de Carvalho still would regain a position, but the performance of Leticia da Silva Saltori eventually fixed Brazil in the 15th final position, at 1:24:23 from the lead.

Matthias Kyburz, the “golden boy”

In the men's course, the fight between Switzerland and Russia was running high, with only ten seconds separating, in the end, the two teams. Austria started best, thanks to Gernot Kerschbaumer's great performance, but it was Russia who took the lead at the entrance for the decisive leg, with Dmitriy Tsvetkov having an advantage of 24 seconds over the Austrians, while Switzerland and Estonia ran already something apart, with a disadvantage of 2:31 and 2:44, respectively, for the lead. The truth is that Matthias Kyburz was absolutely unstoppable in this final leg, blanking the time that separated him from Tsvetkov and reaching the victory with the final time of 2:02:33. Russia finished, as stated above, ten seconds later, leaving the third place to Estonia, with a time of 2:03:51, thanks mainly to the performances of the brothers Lauri Sild and Timo Sild. With Leandro Pereira Pasturiza, Ironir Ev and Sidnaldo Alberto Farias Sousa in the team, Brazil finished in the 12th place with a time of 2:33:37, being the first non-European team overall.

In the final accounts of these 6th CISM Military World Games, we can see that only five countries have reached medals, with Russia taking six gold medals, four silver and one bronze. With two gold medals, one silver and one bronze, Switzerland ranked second in the medalist of the Games, while the third place fell to Latvia with two silver medals and two bronze. France, with a silver medal and Estonia with two bronze medals, occupied by this order the fourth and fifth positions.

Complete results and further information at

[Photo: CISM Orienteering /]

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, October 08, 2015

6th CISM Military World Games: Russians in the lead

After the two individual courses of the 6th CISM Military World Games, Tatiana Ryabkina is definitely the big name of the competition so far. As for the men, Dmitriy Tsvetkov and Matthias Kyburz shared the gold.

The 6th edition of CISM Military World Games is being held since last 2nd October, at Mungyeong region, in South Korea. The event includes 24 different sports, involving approximately 8,700 athletes representing 110 countries. Orienteering is one of the sports represented in the Games, attracting the attention of 204 male and female athletes, wearing the colors of well known countries in Orienteering as Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark or Russia, or lesser known countries as Georgia, Indonesia or the United Arab Emirates.

The competition started yesterday with the Middle Distance course, held on the neighborhood of Dongyang University and involving the participation of 141 male athletes and 63 female. In the men's sector, the victory smiled clearly to the Russian Dmitriy Tsvetkov with a time of 33:22, against 34:26 of his compatriot Andrey Khramov. The Swiss Matthias Kyburz finished in 3rd place, 1:10 behind the winner. In the women's sector, Russia also occupied the top two positions, with Tatiana Ryabkina being the fastest with a time of 35:20, relegating Yulia Novikova to the second place with 1:05. Aija Skrastina, Latvia, was the third ranked, 2:03 behind the winner. In this course, another huge applause goes to the amazing 10th place of the Korean Ji Soo Park.

Brazilians highly rated

Returning to the terrains around Dongyang University, today was held the Long Distance course, in which Matthias Kyburz was the fastest among the 135 male participants. The Swiss athlete finished his course credited with the time of 1:23:32 after a titanic struggle with the French Frederic Tranchand, second placed, 1:05 behind the winner. Andrey Khramov was third, while the Polish Wojciech Kowalski repeated the fourth placed reached the day before. In the women's sector, among 62 participants, Tatiana Ryabkina and Yulia Novikova repeated the positions reached yesterday, although the difference between them was now much more expanded. Ryabkina needed 1:02:55 to complete her course against 1:07:04 of Novikova. The bronze medal was again to Latvia, this time thanks to the performance of Laura Vike, ranked third with a time of 1:08:35. It should be noted that the sum of the four best times of each country in the men's course and the three fastest times in the women's course allowed to generate a collective standing, in which Russia, in both Men and Women classes, was a convincing winner.

Brazil is represented in South Korea for a group of 10 athletes - six male and four female - going prominent note to the 18th place achieved today by Franciely de Siqueira Chiles. It should be noted that the Brazilian female athletes had already been in high plan on the first day, with three athletes in the Top 25, while in the male sector will worth the excellent 23rd place of Sidnaldo Farias Sousa in the Long Distance race as the best result achieved so far. In the team competition, Brazil was ranked 9th in Men class and 8th in the Women class in today's race.

All information at

[Photo: MWG-2015 /]

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Angus Robinson: "I hope I can use my gold to increase this great sports popularity in Australia"

Angus Robinson lives close to Melbourne, studies at Victoria University to become a Paramedic and... is the current MTBO world junior champion in Sprint distance. In this Interview he takes us from his debut, at the age of 12, joining the Bayside Kangaroos Orienteering Club, to the gold at Liberec, in the Czech Republic, last August.

What do you see in MTB Orienteering that makes it so special?

Angus Robinson (A. R.) - I like having to be both physically and navigationally 'fit' in order to race well, the fact that it doesn't rely solely on the amount of training you do on the bike adds another level of difficulty that a lot of other sports lack.

Have you a training routine? How is, in your case, a typical week?

A. R. - I follow my coaches training program which varies depending on how full my week is and whether there is a race or not, but generally it involves 5-6 rides a week of various lengths, as well as hill sprints and interval training. I do a combination of MTB, MTBO and road training as the trails are not always convenient to get to each day.

What do you like the most: Long Distance or Sprint?

A. R. - Sprint would have to be my favourite discipline. The speed of navigation, intensity and pressure on each minor decision is something I always look forward to in a sprint distance race.

I can imagine your gold medal this year, in Czech Republic, as the best moment in your career so far. Do you have another significant moments that you'd like to talk? And what about the worse?

A. R. - The gold medal has definitely been a great moment for me, and it will be hard to beat. Other significant events would be racing at previous JWOCs in Estonia and Poland, as they were necessary to build experience and control my nerves making it easier in the lead up to racing in Czech Republic. My worst experience in MTBO would have to be my first ever race, where I got completely lost, thankfully I persisted with the sport and improved relatively quickly. Just because you struggle in the first race doesn't mean you can't orienteer.

Talking now about the gold medal, an historical one, the first ever for the Australian Junior MTBO. How did you prepare for the competition?

A. R. - In the lead up to major competitions I try to do as much orienteering as I can, which usually involves riding old maps from previous events and just cycling as much as I can as well as studying old Czech maps of the expected areas.

Was the gold medal in your plans?

A. R. - At JWOC Poland 2014 my best result was 10th in the sprint, so this year I went in with the mindset that I could improve my result given I had another year of training, experience and maturity to race with, but I wasn't sure by how much.

What about the JWMTBOC overall?

A. R. - The competition was very well run overall and the training maps represented the competition areas quite well which was nice. The terrain was very steep and hilly in the Middle and Long making for tough racing. The navigation was very interesting and technical as well, especially having to change my thought process about not riding off tracks.

If I asked you a moment - the great achievement of the Championships -, what would be your choice?

A. R. - It would have to be winning the Sprint bar far!

How important is the Junior World title for you? And for the Australian MTBO?

A. R. - Having trained for such a long time, travelled to many events each year and made sacrifices to my studies and other areas of my life, it is nice to know that it has all been worth it. I hope I can use my gold to increase this great sports popularity in Australia, making it more well known and competitive. In Australia the sport is very limited, with only a small number of competitors at each race. I'm working with various orienteers on how to better publicise MTBO in order for it to grow, and therefore produce more athletes to compete on the world stage, hopefully my gold medal will help to do this. It's always difficult to gauge my level of fitness in the lead up to JWOC as I don't get a chance to race against many other competitors at that level throughout the year, so I just have to be as fit as I can be and hope it is good enough when I get there.

Have you some goals already designed for the next season? Are you able to be a new Adrian Jackson?

A. R. - Having only won one gold medal, I try not to compare myself to other riders and just race as well as I can and hopefully do it again at some point throughout my career.

Would you like to share the biggest wish for the future?

A. R. - I hope to represent Australia as best I can at future races and would love to take home some more medals. Also in the future I hope Australia can become more highly recognised within MTBO as a country that can achieve great results each year.

[Photo: WMTBOC 2015 /]

Joaquim Margarido