Trail Orienteering has taken another important step towards its establishment in Brazil. Under the motto “Trail Orienteering is the sport where different are equal” the 1st MB/ADAAN TrailO Cup, which brought together a total of 75 competitors, has taken place in Rio de Janeiro. The event was organised by the Admiral Adalberto Nunes Sports Association (ADAAN) along with the Rio de Janeiro Orienteering Federation and took place at the Admiral Adalberto Nunes Physical Education Centre (CEFAN). The competition was open to all, regardless of age, gender or physical ability – so people with less mobility and lower physical strength could compete on equal terms with everyone else. Key leader of the initiative, Cmdt. Rubens Igreja, says that “the organisation of this event is part of a project aiming to develop Trail Orienteering within the Armed Forces and by extension to the civil environment, providing for the social integration of a specific population. Thus promoting the development of Trail Orienteering is a way of promoting social inclusion, health and leisure, according to the guidelines of the Ministry of Sports in Brazil. In a broader sense, it promotes actions of social integration, environmental awareness and healthy sport and leisure practices.”
The support of CEFAN, which offered its facilities and infrastructure, was crucial to enable the event to take place. Distributed by Paralympic and Open Classes, the competitor group proved to be quite mixed, with some experienced orienteers and also a significant participation of athletes who didn’t know the sport and were having their first contact with Orienteering in this competition. The competition was attended by representatives of the Niteroiense Association of Physically Handicapped (ANDEF), which organises activities in health, education, social welfare, community sports and training prominent Paralympic athletes at national and international level, and representatives of the Association of support for people with disabilities in the West Zone (ADEZO), where the work is aimed at the professional training and inclusion of people with disabilities in the labour market, and their social development.
With the ethos of equality to the fore, the competition was marked by a fraternal atmosphere. In the Paralympic Class the contest was particularly tight between Eloi Mandarino and Mara Davila Oliveira, finishing with a tie in the number of correct answers (8 out of 10 possible). Mara was the fastest on the timed controls, but the penalty for an incorrect answer turned Eloi into the big winner. As for the Open Class, there was an absolute tie for first place between Fabricio Zorzanelli and Geraldo Luciano dos Santos.
The competitors didn’t hold back in their kind words to the organisers and were excited about the next steps. The Paralympic athletes expressed their intention to move forward with the founding of a club having Trail orienteering in their flag. The participation of Physical Education teachers from Rio de Janeiro and Paraná was also very important with regard to the presentation of this discipline at schools, and meanwhile the news came that the Brazilian Orienteering Confederation intends to include a ‘taster course’ of Trail Orienteering during the Brazilian Championships.
Cmdt. Igreja’s last words show commitment and ambition: “Organising a competition of this nature is not simple, requiring planning and hard work before, during and after the event. Bearing in mind the experience of our team, we are satisfied with the final result. The Orienteering team MB/ADAAN is aware that it still needs to learn a lot, but is always ambitious. We organised the MB/ADAAN MTBO Cup that is already going for its 4th edition and now dared to organise the 1st MB/ADAAN Trail Orienteering Cup. And in the course of this year there will be even more!”
[Text: Joaquim Margarido. Photo: Ricardo Lorençato. See the original article on IOF Newsletter's last issue at http://orienteering.org/trail-orienteering-the-first-steps-in-brazil/. Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation]