Tuesday, February 28, 2017

POM 2017: Gueorgiou and Niggli won the Portugal O' Meeting

Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli were the great winners of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2017. Repeating the achievements of previous years - it was Niggli's seventh victory in the Portuguese competition against six wins of Gueorgiou - both showed an enviable technical condition and the reason of being the best world orienteers ever.

Portugal O 'Meeting 2017 has come to an end. Fulfilling its 22nd edition, the biggest world event of the Winter calendar took place in Alter do Chão, Crato and Portalegre, stretching over four intense and exhausting days. Anchored in the good graces of a wonderful weather, ideal for the practise of Orienteering, the organisers – Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos - did a remarkable job, offering maps and courses highly challenging, both physically and technically, meeting the expectations of more than 2,300 participants from 36 countries.

For the last day was reserved a Long Distance stage, in Chasing Start system, with the athletes starting according to the sum of times reached in the previous three stages. Thus, Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) was the first to go into the forest, having the hard task of managing the 1:03 lead over his closest opponent, Olav Lundanes (Paimion Rasti). The truth is that Gueorgiou was able to withstand the pressure imposed by the current World Champion of Long Distance and still win 1:40 to Lundanes, being the first placed in the Men Super Elite class with the time of 1:17:18. Lundanes was second, 2:43 after the winner, while Johan Runesson finished in the third place with the time of 1:20:46, after being the fastest in the final stage. With this result, Gueorgiou reached his sixth victory at Portugal O 'Meeting.

In the Women Elite class, Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) had a much easier task, as the advantage over Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK), the second ranked at the start for the final stage, was more than six minutes. Like Gueorgiou, Simone Niggli's race wasn't a clean one, hesitating when approaching to several controls and losing some time, but in the end the difference between both athletes would exceed the eight minutes. Simone Niggli finished with the time of 1:06:22 against 1:15:01 of Jurenikova, achieving her seventh victory in the Portugal O' Meeting. Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) was third ranked with more 13:03 than the winner. In the Men Elite class, Rafal Podzinski (PNT) did a great race, starting for the final stage with a ten-minute advantage and finishing with a difference of 18:17 over Timon Schweizer (Individual SUI), second placed. Ken Peeters (OK Linné) got the third position with the time of 1:46:01.

Final Results

Men Super Elite
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 1:17:18 (+ 00:00)
2. Olav Lundanes (Paimion Rasti) 1:20:01 (+ 02:43)
3. Johan Runesson (Tampereen Pyrintö) 1:20:46 (+ 03:28)
4. Frederic Tranchand (Paimion Rasti) 1:20:49 (+ 03:31)
5. Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen) 1:26:18 (+ 09:00)

Women Elite
1. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 1:06:22 (+ 00:00)
2. Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) 1:15:01 (+ 08:39)
3. Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) 1:19:25 (+ 13:03)
4. Tessa Strain (IL Tyrving) 1:32:14 (+ 25:52)
5. Johanna Öberg (OK Linné) 1:34:41 (+ 28:19)

Men Elite
1. Rafal Podzinski (PNT) 1:27:10 (+ 00:00)
2. Timon Schweizer (Individual SUI) 1:45:27 (+ 18:17)
3. Ken Peeters (OK Linné) 1:46:01 (+ 18:51)
4. Emil Andersson (Ärla IF) 1:46:12 (+ 19:02)
5. Pavel Novikov (MO Yakhroma) 1:55:01 (+ 27:51)

Complete results and further information at http://pom.pt/en/

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, February 27, 2017

Simone Niggli: "I want to win"

Simone Niggli achieved a great win today, in the “queen stage” of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017. Returning to Portugal after a three-year pause, Simone is in the perfect position to get her seventh victory at POM. And she's looking forward to it!

The last time you'd been to Portugal O' Meeting was three years ago, in Gouveia. Did you miss us?

Simone Niggli (S. N.) - I was just looking forward to coming to Portugal. We always know that we're going to have nice terrains, nice challenges here, at POM... Yeah, I have to say that I missed it a bit (laughs).

Even if the time was short, mainly because your commitment with the Junior World Orienteering Championships 2016's organisation...

S. N. - Yes, with the event and with my family, of course. It was more than two years of a really nice challenge, which was part of a project for me and Matthias [Niggli]. We had the big goal of making the competition as good as possible for both competitors and spectators. You're really in this organisation if you're the head organiser, so you have the perception how things are working and how much work is needed. I didn't know it before and it's really hard work, so I really appreciate also the work here, at POM.

Would you do everything the same way if you knew how hard the work can be?

S. N. - Yes, I would. We are already in the next project, which will be the organisation of next World Cup in Switzerland, in Autumn. Matthias is the head organiser and I'm the technical director.

Let's talk about the Portugal O' Meeting's three first days. Did you enjoy it?

S. N. - It's again an incredible terrain. I don't know how do you always do to find this nice places (laughs). For sure, it's very hard working to map this areas. Today's course was really good, very difficult technically and also physically. You had to be very coordinative with the stones, still it was possible to run on the stones. There was no climbing and not too much green, but it was a really demanding course.

I believe that you did a mistake in the early part of the race.

S. N. - Yes, I missed the first control even though I was taking a safe route. Then I just try to stay calm because I saw there was a lot of controls which you could miss. In fact I missed two of them afterwards, it wasn't a clean race, but... I don't think anybody could do it without some small mistakes. I just try to push hard until the end and it was great, I'm very happy.

Did you expect to win?

S. N. - No, I didn't. When I catched Ida Marie [Naess Bjoergul], I knew that my speed was good. I was expecting to come along the five best but I didn't predict a victory in this terrain, where you never know how the others run.

Could you tell me where is the secret of your youth?

S. N. - (Laughs) Well, I think it's just loving orienteering. I love this sport, I love such places like this where you would never come if you're a tourist, all the friends around here, my children running in the terrain. Well, I think it's there the secret.

About tomorrow, are we going to see you winning the Portugal O' Meeting for the seventh time?

S. N. - I don't know exactly the standings, but I think I have a good lead and, of course, I want to win. Tomorrow we'll have a Long Distance and, in this terrains, lots of things can happen. But I'm looking forward to it and I'll try to do my best.

Joaquim Margarido

Lucas Basset: "Even unexpected, it was a great win"

One week after winning the two WRE stages of the Rainha Santa Trophy / Beira Litoral O' Meeting 2017, Lucas Basset was, once again, the fastest in a stage scoring for the IOF World Orienteering Ranking. It was at Norte Alentejano O' Meeting 2017, the “queen stage” of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017. Really happy with the victory, the French shared his thoughts with the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, along a nice and relaxing talk.

Did you expect to win?

Lucas Basset (L. B.) - To be honest, I didn't think too much about it. It was a hard and good training week and I was quite tired. I didn't know which way my legs would be able to react; so, even unexpected, it was a great win and I'm really happy.

What did you think about the race?

L. B. - I loved it. It's the type of Middle Distance that I really like, very fast but also very technical. It was really nice, with a precious map, quite well detailed. There wasn't too much climbing and you could keep a good pace along the course. Like every time at POM, the start field was quite strong and it's always a pleasure when you get ahead.

So, the perfect start of the season.

L. B. - Yes. Three WRE courses, three wins. Even if it doesn't mean too much this time of the season, it's always cool. It's better than not being in good shape, definitely (laughs).

Let me ask you about 2016. How do you rate the last season?

L. B. - I'm very happy with my season. In 2015, I reached some super-results in Scotland, during the World Orienteering Championships, and I didn't know if it was a fluke, the shape of my life or something else. I had to find my real level and, in the last season, I could prove to myself that I'm in the group of the world's best.

What about 2017? Is your attention focused on the World Orienteering Championships?

L. B. - Yes, like every year, WOC is the goal. We'll see what I can do. Estonia, it makes you wish to be there. I've been to Estonia last September and I liked a lot. I'll focus on the Middle Distance, it's my favourite distance, the one that I feel better, that I'm better, I think. Mainly, I'm waiting for a great result in the Relay. There's an “old aged” that will leave and it will be his last chance... (laughs).

The Portugal O' Meeting 2017 will end tomorrow. Do you still think in the overall win?

L. B. - No, no. I kept my strength on yesterday's stage and I'm out of battle. I think I'll manage to finish the course, taking profit of such beautiful terrains. Even if I'm very tired, I'll enjoy my last course in Portugal this year.

Joaquim Margarido

POM 2017: Victories in the WRE stage for Basset and Niggli

Lucas Basset and Simone Niggli won the Norte Alentejano O' Meeting 2017, the WRE stage of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017.

The third and penultimate day of the competitive program of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017 was dedicated to the Middle Distance, acclaiming the winners of the Norte Alentejano O' Meeting 2017, the chosen name by the organisation to the “queen stage”, scoring for the IOF World Orienteering Ranking. Expanding for a small area at Entre-Ribeiras e Coutadas, Portalegre, the course was tough and demanding, with lots of rocky and vegetation features asking for good legs and full focus. In the Men Super Elite class, Lucas Basset (OK Linné) managed quite well the 6.8 km of his course, finishing with the time of 35:30 and getting his third victory in a World Ranking Event this season. Johan Runesson (Tampereen Pyrintö) achieved the second best time, finishing 32 seconds after the winner. Just one second after Runesson, Rassmus Andersson (OK Linné) got the third place. Forty-six seconds after Basset, Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) got the fourth position, but he's still in the lead of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017 overall standings, being the first to start tomorrow for the last stage of the competitive program, the Chasing Start Long Distance.

Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) will be the first athlete to start tomorrow for the last stage, after her second victory in a row in the Portugal O' Meeting 2017. The gazillion-time World Champion was the only athlete able to break the thirty-five-minute barrier in the Women Elite class, completing the 4.9 km of her course with the time of 34:54, 26 seconds faster than Hollie Orr (Halden SK), second placed. The very young Elin Månsson (IFK Göteborg) was a surprising third placed, spending 57 more than the winner. Lari Pernu (Essu) was an unexpected winner in the Men Elite class, with the time of 40:12. Jakob Andersson (OK Linné) and Topi Anjala (Koovee) achieved the immediate positions, with more 00:33 and 00:44 than the winner, respectively. Pedro Nogueira (ADFA) in the Men Super Elite class, João Mega Figueiredo (CN Alvito) in the Men Elite class and Mariana Moreira (CPOC) were the best Portuguese athletes in today's stage.


Men Super Elite
1. Lucas Basset (OK Linné) 35:30 (+ 00:00)
2. Johan Runesson (Tampereen Pyrintö) 36:02 (+ 00:32)
3. Rassmus Andersson (OK Linné) 36:03 (+ 00:33)
4. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 36:16 (+ 00:46)
5. Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen) 36:17 (+ 00:47)

Women Elite
1. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 34:54 (+ 00:00)
2. Hollie Orr (Halden SK) 35:20 (+ 00:26)
3. Elin Månsson (IFK Göteborg) 35:51 (+ 00:57)
4. Helena Jansson (OK Ravinen) 36:36 (+ 01:42)
5. Ida Marie Naess Bjoergul (Paimion Rasti) 36:44 (+ 01:50)

Men Elite
1. Lari Pernu (Essu) 40:12 (+ 00:00)
2. Jakob Andersson (OK Linné) 40:45 (+ 00:33)
3. Topi Anjala (Koovee) 40:56 (+ 00:44)
4. Álvaro Prieto (Malarruta) 41:52 (+ 01:40)
5. Göran Winblad (Rehns BK) 42:07 (+ 01:55)

To see the complete results, please visit the event's webpage at http://pom.pt/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, February 26, 2017

POM 2017: Heikoop, Valente and Guedes da Silva won PreO stage

The beautiful historical spaces of Coudelaria de Alter hosted the PreO competition of the Portugal O' Meeting 2017. After twenty three funny and challenging controls, Mark Heikoop and João Pedro Valente were the big winners in the Open class with the same score. Alexandre Guedes da Silva was the fastest and more accurate in the Paralympic class.

The usual PreO competition of the Portugal O' Meeting took place today, with a 23-task course at Coudelaria de Alter. 115 competitors in the Open class and 11 in the Paralympic class faced a great course, both challenging and pleasant, with a three-task timed station in the pre-start. With two controls voided, four competitors in the Open class were able to solve successfully all the tasks, with the Dutch Mark Heikoop (Aligots) and the Portuguese João Pedro Valente (CPOC) being the fastest in the timed station with the same score, thus achieving a tasty victory. Faster than Heikoop and Valente (CPOC) in the timed controls, but with a 60-second penalty following a wrong answer, Peter Huzan (TVOC) was the third placed and the young Jorge Valente (CPOC), João Pedro Valente's son, got the fourth place.

In the Paralympic class, Alexandre Guedes da Silva (Individual POR) achieved the triumph with 20 points and a comfortable two-point lead over Ricardo Pinto (DAHP), second placed. Miguel Angel Garcia (ADOL) finished in the third position with 17 points. Just two curiosities: The 126 participants in the PreO stage is the biggest number ever registered in a TrailO competition in Portugal; and, Mark Heikoop achieved his second victory in the Portugal O' Meeting, four years after his triumph in Idanha-a-Nova. 


Open Class
1. Mark Heikoop (Aligots) 21 points / 48 seconds
1. João Pedro Valente (CPOC) 21 points / 48 seconds
3. Peter Huzan (TVOC) 21 points / 111 seconds
4. Jorge Valente (CPOC) 21 points / 146 seconds
5. Zoltan Mihaczi (Tipo Orienteering) 20 points / 16 seconds
6. Nuno Rebelo (Ori-Estarreja) 20 points / 18 seconds

Paralympic Class
1. Alexandre Guedes da Silva (Individual POR) 20 points / 87 seconds
2. Ricardo Pinto (DAHP) 18 points / 98 seconds
3. Miguel Angel Garcia (ADOL) 17 points / 107 seconds
4. Carlos Riu (COMA) 16 points / 109 seconds
5. Julio Guerra (DAHP) 13 points / 99 seconds
6. José Laiginha Leal (DAHP) 13 points / 180 second

Complete results at the POM 2017's webpage or here [Open class and Paralympic class

Joaquim Margarido

POM 2017: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli are back to the victories

Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggle were the winners of POM 2017's second stage. Returning to Aldeia da Mata for another beautiful sunny day, both athletes showed why they are the best orienteers ever, leading a really strong start field.

Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) won the Long Distance stage on the second day of Portugal O' Meeting 2017 . In a quite demanding course, particularly from a physical point a view, the French kept an intense duel with Albin Ridefelt (Ok Linné), finishing with a short nine-second advantage. Gueorgiou spent 1:36:10 in a eighteen-kilometer course, against Ridefelt's 1:36:19. Frederic Tranchand and Olav Lundanes, both from Paimion Rasti, were third and fourth placed with more 2:30 and 3:05, respectively, than Thierry. Andreu Blanes (Colivenc) achieved a great fifth position, finishing his course 4:16 after the winner. In the 45th place, with 1:57:31, Manuel Horta (GafanhOri) was the best Portuguese athlete in the Men Super Elite class.

After a three-year gap, Simone Niggli (OK Ravinen) returned to Portugal and to the victories in the Portugal O' Meeting. Keeping the focus during all race, she was able to be consistent enough to complete the 11.3 km of the race in 1:12:37, the best time today in the Women Elite class. Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) got the second place with a three-minute disadvantage from Simone. Ida Marie Naess Bjoergul (Paimion Rasti) was third with 1:16:37, Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) was a surprising fourth placed with 1:19:23 and Lizzie Ingham (Halden SK) finished in the fifth position, 7:24 after the winner. The best Portuguese athete was Mariana Moreira (CPOC) in the 18th position with the time of 1:30:23. As in the Men Super Elite class, the Men Elite class' course had 18.0 km and the fastest was Johan Ek-Larsson (SNO) with the time of 1:54:33. Yesterday's winner, Rafal Podzinski (PNT), got the second place, one minute after Ek-Larsson. Podzinski reinforced his leading position in this class, while Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli are the new leaders of the Men Super Elite class and the Women Elite class, respectively.


Men Super Elite
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 1:36:10 (+ 00:00)
2. Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 1:36:19 (+ 00:09)
3. Frederic Tranchand (Paimion Rasti) 1:38:40 (+ 02:30)
4. Olav Lundanes (Paimion Rasti) 1:39:15 (+ 03:05)
5. Andreu Blanes (Colivenc) 1:40:16 (+ 04:06)

Women Elite
1. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 1:12:37 (+ 00:00)
2. Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) 1:15:39 (+ 03:02)
3. Ida Marie Naess Bjoergul (Paimion Rasti) 1:16:37 (+ 04:00)
4. Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) 1:19:23 (+ 06:46)
5. Lizzie Ingham (Halden SK) 1:20:01 (+ 07:24)

Men Elite
1. Johan Ek-Larsson (SNO) 1:54:33 (+ 00:00)
2. Rafal Podzinski (PNT) 1:55:33 (+ 01:00)
3. Timon Schweizer (Individual SUI) 2:01:58 (+ 07:25)
4. Ken Peeters (OK Linné) 2:03:50 (+ 09:17)
5. Emil Andersson (Ärla IF) 2:04:57 (+ 10:24)

To see the complete results, please visit the event's webpage at http://pom.pt/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

POM 2017: Martínez and Kadan were the fastest in the Night Sprint

Antonio Martínez and Ursula Kadan won the Night Sprint of POM 2017. Alter do Chão's historical centre and the “dark” Jardim do Álamo hosted a great course attended by over 1,100 competitors.

As usual, the first day of Portugal O' Meeting ended with the Night Sprint party. More than 1,100 competitors headed Alter do Chão, changing the Sprint race into a fast, furious and funny moment. Antonio Martinez (Turun Metsänkävijät) was the fastest in the Men Super Elite class, covering the 3.2 km of his course in 12:22. Ivan Sirakov (Variant5) got the second best time, 9 seconds after Martinez. In the third position, both with 12:33, finished Riccardo Scalet (HS) and Timo Sild (Koovee). The Men Elite class presents another Spanish athlete on top of the final standings. Marc Serralong (Dreamteam) achieved the best time between the sixty finishers with 12:49, sharing the first place with Chris Smithard (OK Pan-Kristianstad). Luis Sanchéz (Villena-O) finished in the third place, 21 seconds after the winner.

In the Women class, Ursula Kadan's great performance meant the first place, finishing the 2.8 km of her course in 11:38. Catherine Taylor (OK Södertörn) got the second place, 8 seconds after Kadan. The third place was achieved by Tereza Janosikova (TSM Hana) with 11:40, while Svetlana Mironova (Koovee) finished fourth, 18 seconds after the winner. Without competitors in the Men Super Elite and Women Elite classes, Portugal's best athlete was Nelson Baroca in the Men Elite class with the time of 16:14 which earned him the 41st position.


Men Super Elite
1. Antonio Martinez (Turun Metsänkävijät) 12:22 (+ 00:00)
2. Ivan Sirakov (Variant5) 12:31 (+ 00:09)
3. Riccardo Scalet (HS) 12:33 (+ 00:11)
3. Timo Sild (Koovee) 12:33 (+ 00:11)
5. Frederic Tranchand (Paimion Rasti) 12:44 (+ 00:22)

Women Elite
1. Ursula Kadan (Austrian Military Team) 11:30 (+ 00:00)
2. Catherine Taylor (OK Södertörn) 11:38 (+ 00:08)
3. Tereza Janoziková (TSM Hana) 11:40 (+ 00:10)
4. Svetlana Mironova (Koovee) 11:48 (+ 00:18)
5. Tessa Strain (IL Tyrving) 12:00 (+ 00:30)

Men Elite
1. Marc Serralonga (Dreamteam) 12:49 (+ 00:00)
1. Chris Smithard (OK Pan-Kristianstad) 12:49 (+ 00:00)
3. Luis Sánchez (Villena-O) 13:10 (+ 00:21)
4. Vladimir Gribin (Individual RUS) 13:24 (+ 00:35)
5. Jakob Andersson (OK Linné) 13:40 (+ 00:51)

Complete results and further information at http://pom.pt/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

POM 2017: Night Sprint Maps

Saturday, February 25, 2017

POM 2017: Middle Distance Day 1 Maps

Joaquim Margarido

POM 2017: Lundanes and Volynska won the first stage

Portugal O’ Meeting 2017's kick off, in Aldeia da Mata, couldn’t be better. A perfect weather, demanding courses and, in the end, Olav Lundanes and Nadiya Volynska winning comfortably the Middle Distance stage on the first day.

Alter do Chão, in the North Alentejo region, is hosting by this days the 22nd edition of the Portugal O’ Meeting. More than 2,300 competitors from 36 nations headed the event which had, this morning, its first stage. In the Women Elite class, the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) started quite early and, from the very first moment, she showed very confident, very fast, taking really good route choices and reaching here a good advantage that she was able to keep all the way till the end. Volynska finished the 4.7 km of her course with the time of 33:43, large 2:30 over Lizzie Ingham (Halden SK) and Emma Johansson (Fredrikstad SK), both in the second position with the same time. Great figure of the Portugal O' Meeting, which on for six times, Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) finished her course in the fourth position, with the time of 36:19.

As for the Men Super Elite, Olav Lundanes showed why he's the World Ranking leader, achieving a great winning with 33:25 for 6.4 km of his course. A great start of the Portugal O' Meeting for the Norwegian, now with the colours of Paimion Rasti. Joahn Runesson (Tampereen Pyrintö) and Frederic Tranchand (Paimion Rasti), got the second and third position, respectively with more 1:15 and 1:16 than the winner. Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen) finished in the fourth position with the time of 35:18, while the fifth position went to the Lucas Basset (OK Linné) and the five times winner of Portugal O' Meeting Thierry Gueorgiou, both with the time of 36:17. In the Men Elite, Rafal Podzinski (PNT) was stronger than his opponents, winning with the time of 40:15. Assar Hellström (OK Ravinen) was the second placed with 41:17, while João Mega Figueiredo (CN Alvito) got the third place, 1:03 after the winner.


Men Super-Elite
1. Olav Laundanes (Paimion Rasti) 33:25 (+ 00:00)
2. Johan Runesson (Tampereen Pyrintö) 34:40 (+ 01:15)
3. Frederic Tranchand (Paimion Rasti) 34:41 (+ 01:16)
4. Gustav Bergman (OK Ravinen) 35:18 (+ 01:53)
5. Lucas Basset (OK Linné) 36:17 (+ 02:52)
5. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 36:17 (+ 02:52)

Women Elite
1. Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) 33:43 (+ 00:00)
2. Lizzie Ingham (Halden SK) 36:13 (+ 02:30)
3. Emma Johansson (Fredrikstad SK) 36:13 (+ 02:30)
4. Simone Niggli (OK Tisaren) 36:19 (+ 02:36)
5. Helena Jansson (OK Ravinen) 36:33 (+ 02:50)

Men Elite
1. Rafal Podzinski (PNT) 40:15 (+ 00:00)
2. Assar Hellström (OK Ravinen) 41:17 (+ 01:02)
3. João Mega Figueiredo (CN Alvito) 41:18 (+ 01:03)
4. Jakob Andersson (OK Linné) 41:41 (+ 01:26)
5. Topi Anjala (Koovee) 41:45 (+ 01:30)

Complete results and further information at http://pom.pt/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

POM 2017: It's show time!

There's a great enthusiasm in Alter do Chão, Crato and Portalegre, host cities of Portugal O' Meeting 2017 for the next four days. The Portuguese Orienteering Blog was in the Event Center, in the Castle of Alter do Chão, and shares a couple of interesting impressions.

It's 4.30 p.m. and Alter do Chão remains absorbed in its pacing, despite a quite unusual movement of “strange” people, speaking and behaving strangely. Contrasting with the quietness of the streets, the Castle of Alter do Chão, where the Event Center is housed, is full of excitement. From all ages, from all over the world, orienteers arrive with the single purpose of doing their accreditation, raising their bib and collecting a nice blue t-shirt offered by the organisation. They exchange greetings, take pictures in the courtyard of the castle in front of the giant card and make plans for the remainder of the afternoon and for the next few days.

Gernot Kerschbaumer explains why he's again in Portugal for Portugal O' Meeting: “Look at the weather? It's really wonderful, that's why I'm here”, he says, clearly pleased. But the Austrian, currently No. 16 of the IOF World Orienteering Ranking, is not in Portugal just because of the weather, of course: “During this week we had a training camp and POM brings us always very nice competitions”. The projects for the POM do not include every day of competition and Gernot will skip the two last dais, including the Middle Distance WRE on the 3rd day: “Because of many competitions, I'll just run the first two stages - Middle Distance and Night Sprint - and the Long Distance on Sunday, at medium speed. My goal is in the first Middle Distance”, he assures. Ending this short conversation, Gernot leaves a message to all participants: “I'm really thankful to the organisers and I wish everyone good luck, both competitors and organisation.”

Another important person again at the Portugal O' Meeting is Baptiste Rollier. “The fact that I have retired from the International Elite doesn't mean that I'm retired from orienteering. The passion remains. And then, it's always a pleasure to take advantage of the Portugal O' Meeting, a great organisation, the quality of the terrains and the excellency of courses it offers”, he explains. Despite remaining in the top positions of the IOF World Orienteering Ranking, in the 9th position, Baptiste doesn't have high expectations when talking about the fight for the best positions: “One can expect great things, but we'll see... The training was a little sidelined and this will be my first competition of the season, so I don't make predictions. Maybe in one or two months, in the Spring, things can come out better”, he says. And, like Gernot Kerschbaumer, Baptiste Rollier leaves also a message to all participants in the Portugal O' Meeting: “I wish everyone fun, that the weather remains fantastic and that everyone be able to enjoy this sun in shorts and t-shirt after the races.

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, February 24, 2017

Portugal O' Meeting 2017: Step by step

A new edition of the Portugal O' Meeting is here and the North Alentejo embraces the World Foot and Trail orienteering Elite. Along six days, Alter do Chão, Crato and Portalegre will host the most important Portuguese Orienteering event, offering to 2.342 competitors a warm welcome, great maps and terrains and lots of fun.

For the third time in its history, GD4C - Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos organizes the Portugal O' Meeting. Is the returning to Alter do Chão / Crato / Portalegre where, in 2011, the 16th edition of the Portugal O' Meeting took place. In a scenery of great beauty, perfect for tourism and orienteering, all the conditions are gathered for an amazing Portugal O' Meeting.

The party has already started with the Model Event, yesterday and today. But tomorrow onwards everything will be different ... and for real! Two Middle Distance stages on Saturday and Monday and two Long Distance stages, on Sunday and Tuesday. In the meanwhile, there will still be room for a Urban Night Sprint, on Saturday, in Alter do Chão and, on Sunday afternoon, the usual PreO stage.

Portugal O' Meeting 2017 official schedule

February 23rd
– Event centre opening – Alter do Chão
10h00 – Model Event open – Crato
18h00 – Event centre closing

February 24th
– Event centre opening – Alter do Chão
10h00 – Model Event open – Crato
22h00 – Event centre closing

February 25th
– Event centre opening – Arena
10h00 – Middle distance – Crato
17h00 – Event centre opening – Alter do Chão
19h00 – Night Sprint – Alter do Chão

February 26th
– Event centre opening – Arena
09h00 – Long distance – Crato
11h00 – Event centre opening for PreO (Alter do Chão)
12h30 – PreO – Alter do Chão
18h30 – PreO – Prize giving ceremony

February 27th
– Event centre opening – Arena
09h00 – Middle distance WRE (NAOM 2017) – Portalegre
15h00 – Middle distance WRE and Night Sprint – Prize giving ceremony

February 28th
– Event centre opening – Arena
09h00 – Long distance – Portalegre
14h00 – POM2017 – Prize giving ceremony

Note: All timings are in local time (GMT timezone).

Technical details


The overall number of participants in this edition of the Portugal O' Meeting is of 2342, representing 36 countries. Portugal, with 582 competitors, is the most represented country, followed by Sweden (302 competitors), Spain (273), Finland (244), France (157), Norway (145) and Switzerland (144 competitors). The list also includes athletes from Australia, Brazil, Canadá, Colômbia, Japão, Macao, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States of America, among others. It's the highest number ever registered in 22 editions of the event, both in competitors and nations.

Olav Lundanes, Norway, is the competition's headliner. Following her preparation to the World Orienteering Championships, the Long Distance gold medalist in 2016 and current leader of the IOF World Orienteering Ranking chose Portugal to some good training tests. Other important names present in the competition are Gernot Kerschbaumer, Austria, Magne Dæhli, Norway, Jan Sedivy and Milos Nykodym, the Czech Republic, Catherine Taylor and Hollie Orr, Great Britain, Baptiste Rollier, Switzerland, Helena Jansson, Emma Johansson, Johan Runesson, Albin Ridefelt and Gustav Bergman, Sweden, Frederic Tranchand and Lucas Basset, France, Nadiya Volynska and Oleksandr Kratov, Ukraine, Svetlana Mironova, Russia and Timo Sild, Estonia. Six times winner of the Portugal O' Meeting Simone Niggli, Switzerland and five times winner of the Portugal O' Meeting Thierry Gueorgiou, France, are also two of the most important names in the Elite category. There are 116 competitors in the Women Elite class and 211 in the Men Elite class. 

141 entered the PreO stage

The number of entries in the PreO stage has risen beyond the best organizing team plans and that is due to the high interest of the athletes, in number of 141 entered for the stage. For that reason, there is a commitment of POM 2017 organizing team in order to allow everyone to participate and not frustrate expectations by limiting entries.

In the Open class, names like Remo Madella, Italy, Koji Chino, Japan, Bartolomiej Mazan, Poland, Zoltan Mihaczi, Hungary, Guntars Mankus, Latvia, Mark Heikoop, the Nederlands or Toño Hernandez, Spain, will face the Portuguese squad, with Inês Domingues, Luis Gonçalves, João Pedro Valente, Jorge Baltazar, Cláudio Tereso, Edgar Domingues and Nuno Pires, amongst others. In the Paralympic class, it will be interesting to watch a particular duel between Portugal and Spain, with Carlos Riu, Miguel Angel Garcia and Sergio Martin, from the Spanish side, against the Portuguese Ricardo Pinto, Cláudio Poiares, Julio Guerra and Alexandre Guedes da Silva.

For further information, please visit the Event's website, at http://pom.pt/2017/en/.

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ten years after...

Back home. The weekend is about to end and the journey home is done quietly, no hurry, as if, instinctively, I refused to leave the Alentejo. I dip in my thoughts and remain in silence as the afternoon falls. Hanged in the rearview mirror, the little orange-and-white flag swings in front of me, beckoning me. I fix it absently and sketch a nostalgic smile. Then I look at it carefully and my thoughts go back in time...

Friday morning. It's a cold and rainy day. I leave to Nisa and to the North Alentejo O' Meeting. “We are children of the dawn”. The words of the singer Zeca Afonso come to mind, so today it has been 20 years since he left. I want to get to Amieira do Tejo quickly, but the thick drops of water advise caution. I must curb my enthusiasm and wait for the time it takes to open this “little box of surprises” called Orienteering.

I know it's principles, but I know that I am only at the tip of the iceberg. I need to understand what makes it so special, how magic is the potion that gives the gift of eloquence to those who live in it and who turns every conversation into a huge source of exciting discovery. I want to dive into that fountain too, to suck its substance, to drink its soul.

“Here it is the River”. The Tejo River, I mean. From the North bank, I see my beloved Alentejo, land of dreams where I lose and rediscover myself. For now, I'm lost. Dam, EN 359, nothing ... Return to starting point. Another dam, again the EN 359 (!) and the result returns to be negative. Another reversal and again at the starting point. The third time is for good. There I go with the right dam, with the right road, and I reach Amieira. So much mistakes for someone who's heading an Orienteering event can only be harbinger of “disaster”. However, I was just putting into practice one of the basic principles of the sport: “If you're lost, do not persevere in the error. Go back to the start and reorient yourself”. As everything in life!

It's lunch time. In the “epicenter” of this fantastic organization, a man deserves a special mention. It's Fernando Costa and it's him who welcomes me with open arms, introducing me to the “hard core” (and “less hard”), who makes a point of joining me to this fantastic “family” that is Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos. But now, the lunch is served. I sit down at the table, “cuddle” my stomach with a divine homemade chicken soup and indulge myself in sliced pork with black beans.

In addition to the delicious palette of flavors that makes my body satisfied, the lunch serves to feed the spirit as well. I get to know how important is the compass, I get acquainted with the signs, I get in touch with terms such as cartography, bearings, spurs. And I get a more precise idea of the heavy organizational machine. From logistics to course setting. “Seven thousand souls worked seriously”, Zeca Afonso and his music again in my mind. Everything seems to be set in detail, the hypothetical flaws identified and the corresponding alternatives properly equated.

Now it is time to leave for Nisa, to visit the Event Centre and then to Arez, for a demonstration course. It will be a debut, but there's a first time for everything. I don't know what's expecting me but the afternoon is promising!

[23.Feb.2007 - 23.Feb.2017. I was introduced to Orienteering ten years ago in Nisa, for the NAOM's first edition. The first flag I photographed is here, illustrating this message. The prose is the first chapter of my book, “Crónicas Norte Alentejano O' Meeting 2007 / 2008”, reporting the start of a beautiful friendship. This way, I wanted to point out a decade of passion for Orienteering and to thank all those who, every day, give me the strength and courage to continue this way.]

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Marisa Costa: "First the effort, then the reward"

She is one of the youngest personalities ever to step on the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's stage, but her quality as athlete, grounded in the results recently achieved, justifies her presence between us, today. Please, listen carefully to Marisa Costa, 15 years old, a great talent and with much to say.

“My club helped me interacting with the sport, but my father awakened in me the interest by MTB Orienteering, providing me with the necessary bases to get involved with this discipline”, started by saying Marisa Costa, today's guest of the Portuguese Orienteering Blog. “Having fun with friends, practising sports and spending time with the family” are three of the aspects that Marisa mostly values when it comes to spend some time rest, those who is left out of what is above everything, that is, her studies, in the city where she lives, Tomar.

Since she was a little girl, Marisa feels a huge attraction for maps and compasses. And why not to put into practise everything she have been learning, becoming an athlete, could be the question she asked herself and which she carried forward. MTB orienteering was the starting point, hand in hand with Foot Orienteering. “Both emerged simultaneously, although most of the training sessions are focused on FootO, trying to improve my technique”, says Marisa, for whom “MTB orienteering is a special discipline, a huge family where, despite the competition, there's a fantastic union among all.”

It's important to have someone as a reference”

Demanding discipline, MTB Orienteering requires a good physical condition and a high ability on reading and interpreting maps, all in a two-wheel context and with the added factor of speed. To be able to manage all tasks, Marisa dedicates herself to improving her skills, which seems to be the ideal complement to the daily routine: “Training is what I love most”, she says.

- What is the best advice you have been given so far?

“The most important thing isn't to win but to know that you gave everything you had to give and never gave up, looking forward what brought you there, the passion for sport. This was, so far, the best advice I've been given, which was conveyed by the great Susana Pontes, an athlete that I respect, not only for the titles she won, for the time she dedicated to the sport and for the advices she has been given along my journey, but also for the humble and honest person she is. I think it's important to have someone as a reference, and Susana is for me a source of great inspiration and a model to follow.”

Portugal is one of the best countries in the World for the practise of MTB Orienteering”

For Marisa Costa, being a MTB orienteering athlete is great, but being a MTB orienteering athlete in Portugal is even better. She explains why: “I feel that Portugal is one of the best countries in the World for the practise of MTB Orienteering because the terrains are very good, as is the temperate climate, which is a great help! Another great help comes from the Portuguese Orienteering Federation and the results of their work can be seen in the evolution of the Portuguese MTB Orienteering over the years”, says Marisa Costa.

Nevertheless, the number of athletes present in the events continues to decline in Portugal and there seems to be something missing in order to reverse this fact. Marisa Costa comments in an introspective way: “In my opinion, it's us, the athletes, that have to worry about the future of the sport and make an even greater effort to call the attention of new practitioners”, she says. From the young athlete's perspective, “the basis for attracting new athletes must be a commitment of the Federation and the Clubs, but especially of the athletes, who have the duty to introduce the sport on to others. It will be easier for someone to be attracted by MTB Orienteering if they have as reference an athlete, someone who knows this discipline and more easily explains all its beauty.”

I still have a lot to learn”

Recently, Portugal hosted two major international MTB Orienteering events, hosting the European Youth MTB Orienteering Championships in 2015 and 2016. Marisa evaluates the importance of these events in her growth as an athlete: “My evolution was notorious. I know I still have a lot to learn, but maybe because I was better prepared, both physically and psychologically, I learned to deal with situations and to take the most of it. These were experiences that helped me to interact with athletes from abroad, which can be seen as an important part of my learning and growing as an athlete. On the other hand, I feel that they were very well organized events, leaving an excellent impression on those who visited us”, she says.

- If I asked you to choose a moment - just one (!) -, either in Idanha-a-Nova in 2015 or in the region of Bairrada last year, what would it be?

“Without taking any importance to all other moments, I would choose the EYMTBOC 2016 Middle Distance race in Bairrada because it was there that I achieved my first international goal, a hard-working 6th place.”

Fighting for goals

The new season is about to atart and the physical training and the reading and analysis of the maps are a constant of the day to day. The commitment is great and the goals for 2017 seem to be perfectly established: “In my opinion, an athlete who wants to reach good results should set real goals and make the best to fulfil them. This year, I wish to focus on the European Championships, which will take place in France, and in the qualification for the World Championships, in Lithuania. I don't set particular results, but goals. First the effort, then the reward. I'm sure that, with my work, I'll bear the fruits in the end”, she says ambitiously.

And it's with ambition, but especially with her feet firmly on the ground, that Marisa Costa looks to the future when faced with what she might be in five years from now: “Well, that's a question difficult to answer, because I'm not able to do such projects in the long term for my life. But I'll certainly be fighting for my goals, both in sports and at an academic level”, she concludes.

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BLOM 2017: Hector and Ohlsson won in Coimbra

Simon Hector and Karolin Ohlsson were the winners of Rainha Santa Trophy / Beira Litoral O' Meeting 2017. The event took place last weekend, bringing together to Coimbra and Cernache nearly 750 competitors from 18 countries.

Five weeks after the 15th Center Orienteering Meeting, the Portuguese Orienteering League Vitalis 2017 moved to Coimbra and the nearby village of Cernache for its second round. The event was organized by Ori-Mondego, Associação Desportiva do Mondego, having the participation of 577 athletes in the competition classes, to which should be added 155 competitors in the Formation and Open classes, making a total of 732 participants representing 18 Countries. The event included a Sprint stage scoring for the IOF World Sprint Orienteering Ranking and two Middle Distance stages, the last of which scoring for the IOF World Orienteering Ranking.

Totally dedicated to the beautiful “city of the students”, the program of the first day saw the French Lucas Basset (Pôles France) and the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) win the opening stage, a challenging Sprint in the uneven historical center of Coimbra. Alternating in the lead with the Swedish Hakon Jarvis Westergard (Järla Orientering), Basset ended up by imposing himself in the final part of the race, reaching the victory with the time of 15:20, against 15:25 of his direct opponent. João Mega Figueiredo (CN Alvito) was the best Portuguese in this stage, finishing in the 17th place with more 1:40 than the winner. The women's race had in Nadiya Volynska the great character, winning notably with the time of 12:51. Karolin Ohlsson (Järla Orientering) still threatened the Ukrainian's leadership in the early part of the course, ending up not resisting to the power of her opponent and finishing in the 2nd place with more 38 seconds than the winner. Mariana Moreira (CPOC) spent three more minutes than Volynska and was the best Portuguese in the 13th place.

Tiago Romão and Mariana Moreira, the best Portuguese

Coimbra's map returned to carry out excellent duels in the afternoon of the first day with the accomplishment of the Urban Middle Distance stage. In the Men's competition, only 33 seconds separated the top three athletes, with the Swedish Simon Hector (Snättringe SK) holding the win with the time of 36:58. The Swedish Johan Ek Larsson (Södertalje-Nykvarn) finished in the 2nd place 17 seconds after Hector, while Tiago Romão (CMo Funchal) reached the 3rd place with more 37:31 than the winner. In the Women Elite class, Mariana Moreira performed greatly, being able to get in the lead throughout the first half of the course, handing over the leadership to Karolin Ohlsson who ended up winning comfortably with the time of 34:51 against 37:43 of the Portuguese.

For the last day was reserved a forest stage of Middle Distance, which would reveal the winners of Rainha Santa Trophy / Beira Litoral O' Meeting 2017. In the Women Elite class, Ohlsson's advantage from the day before kept her safe from major problems and the third place in this stage turned out to be enough to ensure the final victory. The triumph in the stage went to the French Isia Basset (Pôles France) with a time of 39:45, with the Swedish Elin Mansson (IFK Göteborg) reaching the second place with more 1:57 than the winner. Volynska's fourth position, 3:07 after Isia Basset, allowed her to rise to the final second place in the Trophy. Finishing in the 13th place with the time of 50:11, Mariana Moreira was able to reach a wonderful place on the final podium, being the third placed. In the Men's chapter, the bills seemed much harder to do, especially after Lucas Basset had given up on running the Urban Middle Distance and being out of the Trophy's contest. The French would be the winner of this stage with a time of 36:16 and a one-minute advantage over the Austrian Gernot Kerschbaumer (OK Pan Kristianstad). The next places fell to the Estonian Timo Sild and the Ukrainian Oleksandr Kratov, both representing Koovee, who thus ascended to the 2nd and 3rd final place. The Trophy's winner would be Simon Hector who ended up getting the best of the victory in the second stage, after being the 6th placed of the final stage, with more 3:27 than the winner. Manuel Horta (GafanhOri) was, this time, the best Portuguese, finishing in 13th place at 5:45 of Basset, while Tiago Romão reached a worthy 5th place in the final accounts and was the best representative from Portugal.


Sprint WRE

Men Elite
1. Lucas Basset (Pôles France) 15:20 (+ 00:00)
2. Hakon Jarvis Westergard (Järla Orientering) 15:25 (+ 00:05)
3. Nicolas Simonin (IFK Lidingo SOK) 15:36 (+ 00:16)
4. Loïc Marty (Pôles France) 15:56 (+ 00:36)
5. Timo Sild (Koovee) 16:01 (+ 00:41)

Women Elite
1. Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) 12:51 (+ 00:00)
2. Karolin Ohlsson (Järla Orientering) 13:29 (+ 00:38)
3. Isia Basset (Pôles France) 14:20 (+ 01:29)
4. Elin Mansson (IFK Göteborg) 14:32 (+ 01:41)
5. Lou Lenoble (Pôles France) 14:42 (+ 01:51)

Urban Middle Distance

Men Elite
1. Simon Hector (Snättringe SK) 36:58 (+ 00:00)
2. Johan Ek Larsson (Södertälje-Nykvarn) 37:15 (+ 00:17)
3. Tiago Romão (CMo Funchal) 37:31 (+ 00:33)
4. Pedro Nogueira (ADFA) 38:10 (+ 01:12)
5. Nikita Asoyan (Dyusash) 38:28 (+ 01:30)

Women Elite
1. Karolin Ohlsson (Järla Orientering) 34:51 (+ 00:00)
2. Mariana Moreira (CPOC) 37:43 (+ 02:52)
3. Filipa Rodrigues (ADFA) 39:08 (+ 04:17)
4. Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) 39:40 (+ 04:49)
5. Krystal Neumann (Järla Orientering) 40:26 (+ 05:35)

Middle Distance WRE

Men Elite
1. Lucas Basset (Pôles France) 36:16 (+ 00:00)
2. Gernot Kerschbaumer (OK Pan Kristianstad) 37:16 (+ 01:00)
3. Timo Sild (Koovee) 38:15 (+ 01:59)
4. Oleksandr Kratov (Koovee) 38:23 (+ 02:07)
5. Loïc Capbern (Pôles France) 39:07 (+ 02:51)

Women Elite
1. Isia Basset (Pôles France) 39:45 (+ 00:00)
2. Elin Mansson (IFK Göteborg) 41:42 (+ 01:57)
3. Karolin Ohlsson (Järla Orientering) 42:17 (+ 02:32)
4. Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) 42:52 (+ 03:07)
5. Adela Indrakova (IFK Lidingo SOK) 43:43 (+ 03:58)

Overall standings

Men Elite
1. Simon Hector (Snättringe SK) 2860,61 points
2. Timo Sild (Koovee) 2791,63 points
3. Oleksandr Kratov (Koovee) 2778,93 points
4. Johan Ek Larsson (Södertälje-Nykvarn) 2729,43 points
5. Tiago Romão (CMo Funchal) 2676,47 points

Women Elite
1. Karolin Ohlsson (Järla Orientering) 2893,12 points
2. Nadiya Volynska (OK Orion) 2805,86 points
3. Mariana Moreira (CPOC) 2527,67 points
4. Krystal Neumann (Järla Orientering) 2468, 06 points
5. Mariia Makarova (MO Yakhroma) 2400,39 points

Complete results and further information at http://blom.admondego.pt/.

Joaquim Margarido