With the bronze medal achieved in his first presence in a World Championship, Sondre Ruud Bråten exploded from unknown to a Trail Orienteering star in a blink of an eye. Today, he recalls the glorious journey of Zagreb and reveals some ambitious goals for the future.
Let’s start by an easy question: Who is Sondre Ruud Bråten?
Sondre Ruud Bråten (S. R. B.) - Yeah, I’m 24 years old, born and raised in Jessheim, north of Oslo. Now I live in Oslo and I’m 100% Elite TrailO athlete, working as a substitute teacher and orienteering coach in Nydalens SK.
When did you find out that your future would be the TrailO?
S. R. B. - As both my parents were passionate about the sport, I can say I was born into orienteering. For the upgrade to TrailO I have to blame my brother, Vetle. We were injured at the same time, and Vetle tried TrailO at Norwegian Spring 2014, reaching the 5th place in the first day. On the second day I wanted to show Vetle that I would be the best, and managed to win the course. As a competitive person, I love to win. So, I continued.
What do you see in this discipline that makes it so special?
S. R. B. - The fact that all the competitors have the same possibility to manage the course, disable or not, is amazing! And that I’m good!
It's quite unusual to see a newcomer reaching the podium in our discipline, but you managed to do so in the World Trail Orienteering Championships 2015, achieving an impressive third place in the TempO. How did you do that? Did you expect it?
S. R. B. - My map reading skills are quite good after years of orienteering at a good level. I’m also able to stay calm in stressed situations and answer really quick. Even though. I didn’t expect the 3rd place at all . My goal was to fight for a top 10, on a good day, so the bronze felt as gold for me.
Why aren't you that good in PreO?
S. R. B. - My lack of patience is my biggest weakness in PreO, but I have managed some good PreO competitions as well.
What does it mean to be a Trail orienteer in Norway?
S. R. B. - You’re either: old, nerd or super cool. I am super cool.
How do you see the present moment of Trail orienteering? Are we going in the right way?
S. R. B. - Yes, I think so. As a youngster, my plan is to make it cool for the kids! We need to bring the average age down.
We don't see as many youngsters doing Trail Orienteering as we would like. Why is Trail orienteering a less participated discipline? Is it a question of lack of promotion, is it kind of bias (always the wrong idea that TrailO is for disabled people), what is it?
S. R. B. - There is clearly a misunderstanding that PreO is just for the disabled or old guys. My goal is to make TrailO super cool for the youngsters.
In the beginning of a new season, which are your main goals?
S. R. B. - My goal is to qualify for the Norwegian team in both TempO and PreO and fight for a medal in the TempO and Relay.
Now that 2017 is here, would you like to share your biggest wish?
S. R. B. - My biggest wish is to be famous.