Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Portugal O' Meeting 2017: North Alentejo is ready to host the World's Elite

The countdown to the Portugal O 'Meeting 2017 has already started. The recognized organizational quality of the winter season’s biggest international orienteering event, the excellence of maps and terrains and the environmental and heritage value of this particular region of southern Portugal makes of POM an unforgettable experience. The participants can expect four days of competition at the highest level, at a time when there are already athletes from 20 countries entered for the event.

Repeating the “recipe” of 2011, the Municipalities of Alter do Chão, Crato and Portalegre join efforts, embracing orienteers from all over the World. It’s the 22nd edition of the Portugal O' Meeting, the great event of the international calendar in the winter, which promises, from 25th to 28th February, to spread the Orienteering’s perfume for the North Alentejo.

Similar to what happened in 2003 and 2011, the Portuguese Orienteering Federation has decided to entrust the organization of the prestigious event to Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos. Worked in detail, the program has to offer two Middle Distance stages, on 25th and 27th February, two Long Distance stages, on 26th and 28th, a night Sprint, also on the 25th, and a Trail Orienteering stage in the afternoon of the 26th. The four forest stages score for the Portuguese Foot Orienteering League Vitalis 2017 and the sum of points achieved in each of them will allow to know the overall winners of the 35 competition classes, four initiation classes and four open classes. It is also important to highlight the stage of February 27th - very appropriately called “WRE North Alentejano O’ Meeeting" -, which scores for the IOF World Ranking.

Good depth of breathing for local economy

Despite being too early to name those who will be present at the event, it won't be difficult to predict that the great majority of the world's best orienteers will head to the North Alentejo, once again. The Swedish Helena Jansson and Annika Billstam - the latter, the POM 2016's winner – the Russian Svetlana Mironova, the British Catherine Taylor, the Canadian Emily Kemp, the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska, the Finnish Marika Teini or the Belarusian Anastasia Denisova, in the Women, and on the Men's side, the Norwegians Olav Lundanes and Magne Dæhli, the Swedish Gustav Bergman and Albin Ridefelt, the French Thierry Gueorgiou – five times winner of the POM, the last of which in 2016 - Frédéric Tranchand and Lucas Basset or the Ukrainian Oleksandr Kratov, are just some of the many stars who have given their preference to the Portugal O' Meeting in the last years and with whom, certainly, we will cross again.

It's important to emphasize that the relevance of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017 is not just the competitive part and, of course, an event of this nature and magnitude has a very positive impact on the economy of the region and the Country. The hotels throughout the North Alentejo register already very high occupancy rates, and from small shops to restaurants and services, it's a whole region that moves thanks to the more than two thousand participants expected in the event.

To see the details of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017, please visit the official webpage at

Joaquim Margarido

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