Wednesday, May 16, 2012

EOC/ETOC 2012: Miguel Silva, one second away from the final of Sprint

Portugal will not have any athlete in the individual finals of the European Orienteering Championships EOC 2012. The final chance was lost this morning, during the Sprint heats, in which Miguel Reis e Silva failed the qualification for a short second.

Passing the first three days of the European Championships, came to the end the qualifying series of the individual disciplines comprise in the program. Middle Distance, Long Distance and Sprint will attract the attention in the coming days, with exciting finals that will proclaim the new Champions. Absent from all the individual finals, only on Sunday the Portuguese back to the great competition, in the Relay race. Until then, we must content ourselves with the B Finals.

And the things could have been something different, if the luck was with us. Running in the first qualification heat, Miguel Reis e Silva stay at one little second away from the target. Miguel Reis e Silva completed his course in the 18th place with the time of 16:08, one second longer than the Russian Roman Ryapolov, ranked 17th, and three seconds beyond the British Richard Robinson, who finished in the 16th place. The Portugal’s Vice-Champion of Sprint in title and 39th ranked in the latest World Orienteering Championship, thus loses an important chance to hit the big Final of next Saturday, side by side with all the big names of the world Orienteering, and to join Marco Póvoa in the gallery of the "historical" as the only Portuguese athletes up to date to run a Final A in a European Championship (22nd ranked in the Sprint EOC 2004, held in Roskilde, Denmark).

"What's done is done"

The Portuguese Orienteering Blog talked to Miguel Silva about his race: “I was really confident in the qualifying. The beginning of the race was in the forest and I started too slowly, losing valuable seconds in the first four points. Along the race, as I gained confidence, I increased the speed. I could have been stronger at the end and I failed the qualification for the A Final by less than one second, which was very frustrating.” And his final words: “What's done is done and now is left for me to lift my head and give my best in the remaining B Final to come.”

About the other Portuguese athletes, Paulo Franco also ran the first round of qualification, having finished in the 33rd and last position with a time of 20:31. Manuel Horta and Tiago Leal ran the second heat and, while Horta finished in the 28th position with a time of 16:13, Leal was disqualified. In a heat that registered the participation of 34 athletes, Manuel Horta tipped to 1:07 away from the Austrian Robert Merl, ranked in the 17th place. Finally, in the third and last heat, among 34 participants, Tiago Aires couldn’t do better than the 27th place, with the time of 16:12 and distanced 1:12 away from the Hungarian Zsolt Lenkei and from the qualification.

Helena Jansson and Simone Niggli: A duel of giants in perspective

As in the last World Orienteering Championships, the Frenchman Thierry Gueorgiou was absent from the qualifying series. In the same way was the European Champion of Sprint in title, the Swiss Fabian Hertner, absent of these Championships. In the male sector, Martin Hubmann and Matthias Kyburz, both from Switzerland, and the Swedish Jerker Lysell won their respective heats. As for the female sector, we could see also two winners from Switzerland, the athletes Judith Wyder and Simone Niggli and the European Champion of Sprint in title, the Swedish Helena Jansson.

Everything to follow at

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EOC/ETOC 2012: Long Distance of our discontent

Paulo Franco was 33rd in his heat, Tiago Aires abandoned by injury and Miguel Silva didn't even start. This is the balance of the participation of the Portuguese team in the qualificatory of Long Distance held this morning.

The second day of the European Orienteering Championships brought the competitors back to Hökberg for a new qualifying session, this time in Long Distance. 108 male and 75 female athletes answered the call, spread over three series in each category of qualification. With Manuel Horta and Tiago Leal out of these qualificatory, by option, and Miguel Silva missing the call, still recovering from a wearing Middle Distance race, Paulo Franco and Tiago Aires took over their shoulders the responsibility to defend the colors of Portugal.

Participating in the second heat of qualifying, Tiago Aires was particularly unfortunate today and was forced to abandon the race. Speaking to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, the major portuguese athlete began by noting that “since the beginning I was having pain in the toe, the result of an old injury, aggravated yesterday in the Middle Distance race.” Joining this to an "unsafe navigation and without guts”, and the result was the inevitable abandonment. Tiago Aires stresses "the enormous discomfort in the foot to run out of paths and slopes," reserving, however, a word of hope regarding his future on these Championships: “Tomorrow I hope to do the Sprint.”

Even without Hubmann, Switzerland takes twelve into the finals

Paulo Franco ran the third heat and, from the beginning, he showed great difficulties in the progression, but without very significant mistakes. His 33rd final place, with a time of 1:03:47, left him at distant 13:04 away from the Czech Milos Nykodym and the 17th place, which would guarantee him the passport to the desired final. Paulo Franco spoke about his race to Portuguese Orienteering Blog: “I started well, with some small hesitations, but without losing too much time. At control 5 I lost about one minute and the Latvian athlete caught me. We leave the control 6 at the same time but he took a different option and I didn't come to see him again. At the control 9 I was passed by two other athletes who came behind me - Thierry Gueorgiou and Ionut Zinca - without seeing them. Until the end, I lost about one minute and half, which gives five to six minutes of loosing time.” In a more deep analysis, the athlete says that “in terms of navigation I think it was positive and I felt good physically.” And he concludes: “Tomorrow is the Sprint qualification, and although I'm not a great specialist in Sprint, I will do my best! As for Miguel Silva, at purpose of his absence from the race this morning, here's his explanation: I was scheduled to run every races of the EOC program. However, today I felt a pain in the left Achilles tendon, which has haunted me in the recent months, inclusive at the Spanish National Championship and Portuguese National Championship of Long Distance and Relay. I thought it would be better to keep myself for the Sprint tomorrow, in which I think I have a better chance. It was a pity, because the course today was interesting.”

The series had male winners as the Russian Dmitry Tsvetkov, the Norwegian Anders Nordberg and the Finnish Olli-Markus Taivanen. The World Champion in title, the French Thierry Gueorgiou, was second in the third heat, 15 seconds behind a surprising Taivanen. The European Champion in title, the Swiss Daniel Hubmann, did not leave. In the women sector, the victories in the series fit the Russian Tatiana Ryabkhina, the Finnish Merja Rantanen and the European Champion of Long Distance in title, the Swiss Simone Niggli. Among the 102 athletes accurate for the big final (51 in each category), 12 are Swiss, while Finland and the Czech Republic will bring 11 athletes to the departure each.

Everything to follow at

[Photo courtesy by Tiago Aires]

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, May 14, 2012

EOC/ETOC 2012: Portuguese Fail the Middle Distance Final

The Middle Distance qualification opened the European Championships today. In Hökberg, the six heats ran up this morning, involving 126 male and 88 female athletes. In a competition where Spain is an illustrious absent, Portugal didn't have a good start and Miguel Silva, with the 30th position in the C-Heat, turned out to be our best athlete.

Running in the A-Heat, Manuel Horta and Tiago Leal couldn't get a better result than the 38th and 40th position, respectively, among 42 competitors. Manuel Horta finished with a time of 32:44, while Tiago Leal spent over 2:20 more than his teammate. With the time of 26:05, Valentin Novikov (Russia) was the winner of this heat, starting in the best way the defence of his European title at Middle Distance.

To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Tiago Leal stated: “After the last month, when I had injuries, my physical shape was not the most appropriate and, facing a hard race, the result was not properly the ideal. At the Sprint race, that I expect less hard physically, I hope to do a better outcome.” Manuel Horta also left us his impressions: “It was in the Middle Distance that I had placed the highest expectations, but things didn't run as desired, probably because I'd been sick the previous week. I started rather quickly and soon began to fail for the first two points. In the following controls I started to develop the rhythm but I felt some difficulty in breathing, which prevented me from doing the rest of the race at a good pace. I hope to recover to be in better shape for the Sprint race.”

Even with a clean race, I would be more than a minute away from the final”

Paulo Franco and Tiago Aires participated in the second round of qualifying, having achieved slightly better results than the previous competitors. In a race dominated by a superior Olav Lundanes (Norway), Tiago Aires has finish in the 32nd position, with a time of 31:17. Among 42 participants, Paulo Franco was ranked the 37th, with a record of 34:34.

I'm very disappointed with my performance because I have lost just two minutes for the first control, in an area that should be simple. At the rest of my race, I didn't commit any more errors.” This is how Tiago Aires, the best Portuguese runner of the present moment, saw his performance. He adds: “It's hard to make such a basic mistake early on the race. Now, for tomorrow's Long Distance qualifying, I have to think about the 17 points that went well, and hopefully get a better performance. But I know that, even with a clean race, I would be more than a minute away from the final.” Paulo Franco also gave us his impressions: “Looking at the terrain and the time for the first athlete, I thought the race would be fairly quick. My strategy was to get safe and try to increase the pace during the race. I lost about 30 seconds to the first control, but I got to control the navigation in the next three points. In total, I missed about four or five minutes in errors and hesitations.” He concludes: “Apart from errors in navigation and physical handicap, I felt that the difference is in the ability of progression in this type of terrain. It is a matter that we have to work hard and gain more experience on.”

Lack of experience to run on this terrains”

Finally, Miguel Reis e Silva ran the third and final heat, achieving the best result among the Portuguese team. His 30th place, with a time of 30:32, left him 2:52 away from the final A, 4:53 away from the World Champion of Middle Distance, Thierry Gueorgiou (France) and 5:08 away from Johan Runesson (Sweden), the surprising winner of this qualifying heat.

In the end, Miguel Reis e Silva declares: “After a week of training in fantastic terrains, where I regained the taste for Orienteering, it's time to compete. Facing a map where you could easily lose some time, my goal was to make a clean race. I managed to miss only about 30 seconds to point 5. Having managed to master the navigation, the rest of the lost time was clearly the result of a lack of experience to run on this terrains of more difficult progression.”

Sweden and Norway at full strength

In the women category, Minna Kauppi (Finland) won the A-Heat with an enormous advantage, beating the Swiss Ines Brodmann by the difference of 1:59. In B-Heat, Anne-Margrethe Hausken Nordberg (Norway) beat the European Middle Distance champion, the Swiss Simone Niggli, by a margin of 23 seconds. Finally, in the third qualifying heat, the winner was the Swedish Helena Jansson, 45 seconds ahead of his teammate Tove Alexandersson.

Due to the technical problems with time-keeping, it was decided by the Competition Director Mark Baljeu to take 20 runners from A-Heat to the Final (instead of usual 17) to maintain fairness of the competition. So, at Skattungbyn Arena, next Thursday, 51 athletes will dispute the European title in the male elite and 54 in the female elite. With six athletes each, Sweden and Norway are the more numerous formations in the men's final, while Finland, Sweden and Norway keep their female teams intact for the final.

Everything to follow in

[Photo: Anders Öberg]

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, May 11, 2012

EOC/ETOC 2012: There they are, the first major international competitions of the year!

The 9th edition of the European Orienteering Championships EOC 2012 and the 3rd edition of the European Trail Orienteering Championships ETOC 2012 are about to begin. The cities of Orsa, Falun and Mora, in the heart of Sweden, will receive a competition that runs between the 13th and 20th May and will bring an among of 483 athletes, representing 33 countries.

The first major competition of the season is about to begin. It is on Sunday that the Championships EOC / ETOC 2012 will start, calling to Sweden 387 athletes from 33 countries for the pedestrian event and 96 participants from 13 nations to compete in Trail Orienteering. The epicentre of the competitions is located in the historic copper-mining town of Falun, in the Dalarna region of Sweden.

The vast and varied program of the European Orienteering Championships extends over a week, with the titles of Sprint, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Relay in dispute. The European Trail Orienteering Championships will take place at the weekend of 19th and 20th May, being preceded by the European TempO Trophy, on Friday, May 18th. The three individual finals of the pedestrian competition constitute the first three races in this year’s World Cup programme.

Tiago, Miguel e Paulo are already in Sweden

Tiago Aires, Miguel Reis e Silva and Paul Franco, three of the five athletes of the Portuguese national team, are already in Sweden since May the 5th, having participated in the prestigious Tiomila. In the company of the well known Ionut Zinca, the "three musketeers" headed Mora on Monday, in order to adapt to similar terrains of the competition. To Orientovar, Paulo Franco said that the terrains are "composed mostly of forest, rich in details of relief, swamps and rocks, with some areas that are very similar to the typical terrains of Marinha Grande, but with less visibility."

Despite the very strong competition, the mood within the team is quite high. "We have been training every day with map and we can see that some areas still have snow, which implicates from us another factor of adaptation," says Paul Franco. About the snow on the maps, our interlocutor reveals that "there has been talk about the best way to address this situation, since it may influence the results facing the inevitable tracks in the snow." Talking about the goals, there is no need to hide the game and to reach the final in each distance is in the heads of our athletes. Orientovar knows that Miguel Reis e Silva and Tiago Gingão Leal want to be in the Sprint final, Paulo Franco and Tiago Aires are more confident in Long Distance and Middle Distance finals and Manuel Horta believes in a presence at the Middle Distance final. At the Relay, the target is to reach the top 20.

Portuguese National Team will be completed tomorrow

Tiago Gingão Leal and Manuel Horta will join the group tomorrow, being accompanied by Grigas Piteira and Manuel Dias, the latter two to participate in the EOC Tour, a competition that promises to keep the attention of something like 5000 participants.

There is considerable media interest in these championships and the Sprint final, Middle distance final and Relay races will be transmitted live by Swedish TV, with edited extracts shown in sports programmes in several other countries. The EOC and ETOC organisers have just published Bulletin 4, containing a wealth of information about the races and venues. Everything to follow in

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Promotional Video

From 9th to 12th February 2013, Portugal O'Meeting will by held in Idanha-a-Nova’s municipality. During these four days, the region shall be the centre of the World Orienteering community's attention. Idanha-a-Nova is ready to get to be known for its both precious Orienteering terrains and remarkable historical monuments.

See the promotional video of Portugal O' Meeting 2013 and consult all the information at Idanha-a-Nova is waiting for you!

Joaquim Margarido