Thursday, April 06, 2017

Bosse Sandström: "Fair play is very important in our sport"



It's been over seven months, but for Bosse Sandström it looks like it was still yesterday. Main figure of the 2016 World Trail Orienteering Championships, he was the course setter of four great days of the best and most challenging Orienteering. This is part of the memories he shares today to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog. But there's more!


I would start by asking you to introduce yourself. Who is Bosse Sandström?

Bosse Sandtröm (B. S.) - I'm 56 years old, born, raised and live near Lysekil, on the west coast of Sweden. I work in a metallurgic factory and as a firefighter. I'm divorced and I have four sons. My hobbies are orienteering, photography and travelling, and to be able to combine all of my hobbies at once is really nice.

You were the course setter of the last World Trail Orienteering Championships, held in Strömstad, Sweden. What came to mind when you first received the invitation to play such an important role? How hard was it to say yes?

B. S. - I didn't hesitate one second. I saw it as an honour to be able to play such an important role.

What was the most difficult part of the course planner's job?

B. S. - I was the sole course planner and, to be honest, it was a little bit too much responsibility and it felt like a great pressure on my shoulders. But I had good help from my staff, especially Knut Ovesen, who volunteered as my mentor.

If you had the chance to go back, would you do anything differently?

B. S. - I probably wouldn't have been course planner for all competitions, because the last year before WTOC I felt as though I had three jobs. Every free weekend was dedicated to planning and I also took some days off work to be able to do a good job with the courses. On the other hand, I must admit I'm a little bit of a control freak, so I would probably have nosed in their work anyway… (laughs). Seriously, I am very happy with my work, and to be able to present the venues, Saltö and Tolvmanstegen, was very satisfying. And with the TempO competition, I deliberately made the controls easier than previous WTOCs, to speed up the answering time, making competitors make mistakes when I made some controls a little bit trickier. As I understand, the competitors appreciated that.

Could you mention one or two of the strongest moments of the Championships from the course planner´s point of view?

B. S. - Some words from Jana Kostova moved me. She said, after the competition at Saltö, “On this course I did not feel I had any disadvantage, sitting in a wheelchair”.

Is there any organizational issue in a TrailO competition which always runs on the edge of a knife, that's quite easy to escape your control?

B. S. - It's very important to bring a chair when you plan controls, to get the view of wheelchair users, and avoid any disadvantages for them. Fair play is very important in our sport. It's better to void a nice control if it's not solvable for wheelchair users.

You've been part of the strong start field in Lipica, a few days ago, for the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering 2017's kick off. How “free” did you feel there, without WTOC's concerns?

B. S. - As soon as WTOC was over, I put it behind me, so I could enjoy every competition after that very much. And since the trip to Lipica was a small vacation for me, I appreciated the Vilenica cave and I also took a trip to Venice.

Are you happy with your performance at Lipica TrailO? Did you like the courses and the maps?

B. S. - Both yes and no. I know I'm a little bit slow in TempO and, as I didn't compete so much in 2016 (for obvious reasons), I was a little bit rusty. But only three wrong answers and placing 25th was a little surprise. But four wrong answers on the PreO competition on Sunday was at least two too many. The maps and courses were of good quality, but courses were tricky, in a good way.

How beautiful can Trail Orienteering be?

B. S. - TrailO is a relatively small sport, and, if you compete a lot, you get a lot of friends from different countries, which is very nice. And to be able to solve a tricky course and not fall into the course planner's pitfalls is a very good feeling. Too bad this does not happen too often for me.

Is Trail Orienteering going in the right direction? If you had the power, would you change anything?

B. S. - Yes, I think so. The maps are getting better, and we had, at least in Sweden, in recent years many education possibilities for course planners, so there will also be better courses. And the new Relay format is a good continuation for TrailO.

Would you like to share your goals for the season?

B. S. - As I'll compete more in 2017 than I did in 2016, I hope to climb up the Swedish rankings. I also plan to compete in all ECTO competitions this year. I am also planning for our district's Championships in June, using one of the WTOC venues. And since I'm allowed to be coach again for the Swedish national team - despite the fact that Swedes didn't take any medals in Croatia, where I was coach, and last year when I wasn't able to be coach, Sweden took six gold, three silver and two bronze, in ETOC and WTOC -, I will try to lead my team to more medals.

Do you have any tips or advice to the WTOC 2017 Lithuanian organizers?

B. S. - I'm sure that they have everything under control by now, only four months before competition, but one thing I experienced was how good it is to have fine relationships with landowners. The attendant of reservation on Saltö was very helpful both before and during competition.

If, hypothetically, your Federation invited you to be the course planner of the next Swedish European or World Trail Orienteering Championships, would you accept?

B. S. - No, and for two reasons. It was a little bit too much work, and since my district federation is small, I feel we can’t summon marshals once again for such a big competition.

Joaquim Margarido

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