Monday, February 25, 2013

Marek Pospisek: "You have to experience MTBO, that's where its strenght is"

Marek Pospisek is one of the biggest names of the MTBO international scene. In our minds is still the duel fight against the Austrian Tobias Breitschädel for the world title in the Sprint race, that he lost for two single seconds. But this is just one of the topics of a long talk, where we can also have his opinions about the Athletes' Commission, the present moment of MTB Orienteering and the future. A future that can mean a historical gold medal for the Czech team or, later in the autumn, a victory in the World Cup... in Portugal.

I start by asking you who is Marek Pospisek?

Marek Pospisek (M. P.) - I was born in 1989, 8th of April. I live in Brno (2nd biggest city in Czech Republic). I studied economics. Now I am an entrepreneur and co-founder of WeLoveMail (, focusing on marketing and business development. I like innovations and hi-tech technologies. I’m always trying to get to know people who can think 'out of the box'. I really love good food, beer, wine and coffee.

When did you find out that your future would be as a MTB orienteer?

M. P. - At first I was purely a foot orienteer. Then I heard about MTBO as a punk orienteering discipline. In 2003 I rode my first MTBO event and I really enjoyed it. And of course I won in my class :-D

What do you see in this discipline that makes it so special?

M. P. - People, speed, fast decisions, real connection with nature, punk/free taste of the discipline (at least in orienteering sports family), parties (at Czech Cup).

Will you tell me something about your daily routine?

M. P. - Daily routine? I don't have anything like that. I am a really lazy person :-D. In winter, I seek xc skiing, running, gyms and spinning. I also ski down the slopes and next winter I want to try alpine skiing. Recently I've taken a liking to long runs by classic technique. I've just run the Tartu Marathon in Estonia. In summer, I ride at least a half of my training time on a road bike. I ride it either to train my technique or map orientation. In the final stage I'm training for speed improvements.

What does it mean to be a MTB orienteer in the Czech Republic?

M. P. - Czechia is probably the best place for MTBO. I would like to explain why, shortly: Approximately 300 competitors are attended in each one of Czech MTBO Cups. The cup counts 18 individual races in a season. We have, of course, relays' and teams' race. It’s about 10 MTBO weekends in a year. Participants of different long distance score races are counted to thousands. Terrains are various in Czechia - from flat to hilly roads, from relatively thin to thick road networks. I think there are also a lot of mapped terrains for Foot-O that just haven't been used for MTBO. There is no professional MTBO biker in Czechia. Everyone's doing some other job for a living or they are studying. You can get a sponsor only if you're racing road bicycle races also. But it's always a material support only. It's a little bit different with the national team. They're getting money from the Union which is getting it mostly from various government resources. So the representation luckily has enough resources for us to ride the whole World Cup and Championship without the need of paying it on our own.

Looking at the special moments you’ve been through in MTB orienteering until now, could you mention the most thrilling one or two?

M. P. - The first moment was in Denmark on Junior World Championship where I had diarrhea and fever the whole night before middle, which was my main goal of the season. I felt terrible in the morning. But I said to myself I have to bring my A game. Luckily I haven’t had my legs fully ruined and I managed to concentrate on the race just fine. Even though it wasn’t my fastest day, that flawless effort was enough for reaching the first position. And the second moment was probably two months later on the Championship in Israel. On the contrary I was totally over-motivated on the middle and I was doing silly things from the start. On the way to the 4th control I didn’t notice a rock about meter and a half tall and jumped over it – well, felt over it. That have damaged my frame, but we didn’t noticed that till the day before relay race. And just during the relay race it happened. I was riding my last segment and two controls ahead of the spectators area I was in the lead. Sadly in one abrupt turn the frame broke. Luckily right behind me was Lubos Tomecek from the second Czech relay team that made it on the 2nd place in the end. I finished the race by running on the 8th position.

Going back to August 21st, 2012, in Hungary, what did you feel when you realized that for two single seconds you lost the opportunity to win the first gold medal of the Czech Republic's history in a WOC?

M. P. - Shit happens :-D I lost the gold medal but I got my first individual medal in senior category. That was my goal. Luckily no other Czech in Hungary did manage to get that gold, so I can still be first :-D

You have just been appointed to the IOF Mountain Bike Orienteering Athletes’ Commission. How did you see the invitation and what were the reasons that led you to accept the position?

M. P. - When Michi offered me this chance, she said she’d be glad if there was someone from Czechia in the commission. I refused that offer at first, but then I thought about it and realized it’s a great opportunity to affect and form something.

Is being so young an advantage or a disadvantage for such a task?

M. P. - I think it’s an advantage. Respectively it’s a big advantage for the whole commission, because no one else has been through the system of youth and junior contests. I can have a different point of view and that’s important for the work in the commission.

If you had the power to decide, what would you change in the MTB orienteering?

M. P. - I don't like the effort to get MTBO or the orienteering in general onto TV. We simply are not an attractive sport to watch. You have to experience MTBO, that's where its strength is. That's why I'd like to insist on getting orienteering to be offered in the most various forms as an activity. Not through media. Media will find orienteering when its time comes. And if the necessary condition for getting it onto Olympic sports list should be the devaluation of this discipline, I am against to see some orienteering sport in the Olympic Games.

At the beginning of the season, which are your main competitive goals? It will be this year that we are going to see Marek in the podium's highest place?

M. P. - As I said earlier, the first gold medal for Czech Republic can still be mine :-) We’ll see how much I’m going to be able to combine training with work, that is probably going to change a lot during March. So we will see.

You will return to Portugal in October, I'm sure, for the final round of the World Cup. What do you expect to happen? Winning the World Cup here?

M. P. - I would definitely like to come for the final round of the World Cup. Perhaps even to win it. Memories of WOC 2010 are positive. Races were really well arranged. Hard terrains, good maps and track construction. I really liked Portugal as a country and for its culture. Unfortunately the injury that happened to Hanka Dolezalova is another memory that is strongly settled in my mind. Sadly it’s a thing that can happen anywhere in the world. Thumbs up for organizers for their work and I hope that autumn races are going to be as good as the World Championship 2010.

Eight years after Nove Mesto na Morave, the Czech Republic will receive the WOC 2015. Although we are still at a huge distance from the event, I ask you to give us a preview of what we can expect.

M. P. - We can expect really nice and interesting terrains nearby the Liberec city. Also the courses will be hard and tricky and everything will be going perfectly smoothly on the organizers’ side. And finally we can be looking forward to the best beer in the world :-)

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Catherine Taylor: "One day I want to do that!"

She is one of the big names of the Portugal O' Meeting 2013 and surprised by his determination, class and... youth. Her name is Catherine Taylor, she is a rising star and is also our guest today.

I must confess I was surprised to see you having such great results since the first day of the Portugal O' Meeting. Did it surprise you, also?

Catherine Taylor (C. T.) - I'm not sure that I'm surprised because I’ve trained really hard this winter. I live in Uppsala, in Sweden, I've been training with Annika [Billstam], we have really strong and fast girls in Uppsala, and these good days of training are starting to show in my results.

You mentioned Annika Billstam. How do you see Annika?

C. T . - I look up to Annika a lot but, really, we are a team, we all look to each other. We train a lot together, maybe five times a week, we know each other very well, we support each other and maybe one person will have a good day one day, maybe somebody else the next day, but we all look after each other and that makes for a really happy training environment.

How did you start in Orienteering?

C. T . - I didn't have the choice (laughs). My mom and dad were orienteers before I was born so... I've been racing since I was 8 years old.

When did it happen, that “click”, when you decided to be a top orienteer?

C. T . - I was about ten years old. At that time we had the World Championships in Scotland [Inverness, 1999] and Yvette Baker was the big star, she won the Short Distance's gold medal and than I said to myself: “One day I want to do that!”

And now we can see you in Portugal, running so well... Is this your first time in the Portugal O' Meeting?

C. T . - No, I was here in 2007, when I was still a junior. Since then I haven't come back, but this year I couldn't miss it. I've been looking forwards to this all winter because I knew that there would be good races, good maps and good weather here.

And what about your four days of the Portugal O' Meeting 2013?

C. T . - In every race I've made mistakes, but in every race there's been a lot of controls that I've taken really well. And when things go really well, you know, it's such a great feeling... I think I’ve got something to take from all the races, something to learn from all the races as well.

In the deciding day, the last day of Portugal O' Meeting, you managed to catch Amélie [Chataing], you were so close of the third place overall, and then...

C. T . - I lost her in the downhill, I guess I wasn't strong enough. Downhill is something that I need to work on, definitely. Maybe if it had been on the flat, like on the beginning, then things could be different. Maybe...

Are you happy with your fourth position overall?

C. T . - I don't think I could be happy with a fourth place but I didn't know what to expect when I came here. So, I think fourth is okay, it could certainly be worse!

What are your next goals?

C. T . - My main goal for the season is the World Championships' Long Distance... I think. I'm not quite sure yet. And also Tiomila and Jukola with OK Linné, they’re the biggest races and a lot of fun.

When are we going to see you on IOF's World Ranking top 10?

C. T . - (Laughs) Soon... I hope!

In 2015 we'll have the World Championships in your country and you’re organising, with some other british orienteers, the “Project 2015”. Can you tell me something about the Project?

C. T . - There are two main aims for the project. The first is that our team gets a really enthusiastic way of working, to be inspired by having a WOC in our country. And also to stay connected with the rest of the orienteering public back home, letting them to know more about us, not the names or the results but how we train and why we do what we do, and help them to understand what kind of life it is when you're trying to be an elite orienteer.

Until now, how is the project running?

C. T . - There's a lot of things we're still working on at the moment, but I think already we feel like a strong team, and we feel that we're developing.

One last question: Are you still thinking in a podium at WOC 2015, making true your dream of being like Yvette Baker?

C. T . - (Laughs) Well... I've been thinking about it, actually. But most of all, I think that will be a great World Championships. I'm really excited about it, everyone in our team is excited, everyone at home is excited... It's going to be great and, of course, I expect a lot from myself.

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

EYOC 2013: "It's ours, it's of Portugal!"

These are great news. The European Youth Orienteering Championships 2013 will be held in Portugal. The European Working Group considered the arguments of the Portuguese application and the spotlights are focused now to Portugal.

The news came by the International Orienteering Federation's webpage: “EYOC 2013 to be organised in Portugal”. The message states that “the EWG based its decision on the results of evaluation visits to both short listed countries [Poland and Portugal].” Both candidates had good arguments but, as regards Dusan Vystatel, EWG Chairman, “there can only be one winner and this time it is Portugal.”

The Portuguese Orienteering Blog met Antonio Amador, the Portuguese Orienteering Federation's Executive Director. He and Augusto Almeida, POF's Chairman, were the big workers of this application and Antonio Amador should be, very soon, nominated as EYOC 2013's Event Director. These were his first words: “When this opportunity arose, we felt thet we could meet the necessary conditions to organize EYOC. It would be, in a certain way, the reward to the work that has been done by our youth teams. Whether in technical chapter or the commitment of the athletes, we have improving a lot in the last few years and it will be a big motivation for everyone to organize EYOC at homeground.”

The areas are quite good”

The EYOC 2013 will take place from October 24th to 27th, with its epicentre pointed to Foz do Arelho, a magnificent natural setting dominated by the confluence of the lagoon with the sea. An entire region that Antonio Amador evaluates as follows: "The areas are quite good. We will make the competition on Ferrel and Óbidos's maps, the Event Center will be in Foz do Arelho and this, in addition to a very beautiful region, has the advantage of proximity, which will allow greater interaction between all the participants.”

The next days will be of intensive work: “When we advanced with the application, we would have seen that we have the conditions for this step. It was a safe step, being safeguarded the fundamental aspects related to logistics, transport and accommodation for about 400 participants. On the technical chapter we have maps that give us the guarantee of excellent competitions but they will need an update and that is the next step, for now. Thereafter there will be the question of the courses because, when we receive the visit in July of the Event Adviser [the Czech David Ales], we want to present, already, the maps and a first version of the courses. Until then, we have an intense work ahead, but it is perfectly feasible and I believe we will have no problem in achieving these goals”, says this responsible. And the last words of Antonio Amador: “At the moment, what we can promise is a lot of work, looking to another event of excellency organized by Portugal. We just end a cycle of three international events, of very good quality, and I am sure that EYOC 2013 will be an event within this line, a high quality event.”

"A big motivation for those who want to go further"

But talking of EYOC is to talk about Diogo Miguel and his "golden sprint" in Eger (Hungary, 2007), where the athlete wrote one of the most beautiful pages ever of the Portuguese Orienteering. Hence it was also important to listen to the athlete: "I participated in three EYOC, with some very good results. These are moments that are always present in my mind and that I keep in a very special way. Of course they were abroad, because if it had been in Portugal the emotion would have been ten times bigger,” said Diogo Miguel.

The athlete recalls that “for many, EYOC is the first opportunity to represent the country in a major international competition. It comes at a crucial time in the athlete's life, when he begins to realize the importance of Orienteering.” But competing in EYOC “is also a great motivation for those who want to go further”, said Diogo Miguel, who gives the example of the current leader of the IOF's World Rankings: “I recently read an interview with Matthias Kyburz in which he stated that one of the most important moments of his career was exactly the victory in the EYOC's Relay in the Czech Republic.” Looking for the future, Diogo hopes “that this organization could be at the level of the organizations that we had in Portugal the past three weeks.”

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, February 18, 2013

XIV MOC - WRE 2013: Days 1 & 2, Maps and Photos

Joaquim Margarido

XIV MOC - WRE 2013: Happy end!

Matthias Kyburz and Simone Niggli were the big winners of the 14th edition of the MOC – Meeting de Orientação do Centro. In the fantastic land of dunes along the Osso da Baleia's beach, in the municipality of Pombal, the two Swiss athletes showed why they lead the IOF's world rankings and finished in the best way their stay in Portugal.

It's the ending of another great Orienteering marathon in Portugal. A set of three events – from Nisa to Pombal, passing by Idanha-a-Nova – that called to our country a huge number of athletes from everywhere, including many of the best world runners. Along three weekends in a row, the menu served by Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos, Associação dos Deficientes das Forças Armadas and Clube de Orientação do Centro had the virtue to match high organizational quality with a great variety of competitions.

Those who were moving from event to event had the opportunity to compete in five Middle Distance races, three Long Distance races, four Sprint races (three of them at night) and a Trail-O race, with this increase of interest to concentrate here the first eight stages of the Foot-O Portugal Cup 2013, the first stage of the Trail-O Portugal Cup 2013 and still three races counting to the IOF's World Rankings. Added to this, once again, the excellent weather, we can easily understand why there is so much interest for Portugal and why so many people look for us at this time of the season.

Kyburz has the last laugh

Looking now to the cycle's ending and to the XIV MOC - WRE 2013, in the Men Super-Elite class Olav Lundanes (Halden SK) and Matthias Kyburz (Swiss O 'Team) reissued today the duel that made them the big players of the day before. And if yesterday Lundanes got the advantage of 26 seconds over the Swiss, today was Kyburz's day. It was his the last laugh, adding to the victory in this stage the triumph at MOC's overall. Kyburz fulfilled the 7.4 km of his course in 33:45, one second ahead of a surprising Latvian Kalvis Mihailovs (IKHP) and with less 32 seconds than the Russian Valentin Novikov (CSP V. Novgorod), third. Lundanes couldn't get better than the fourth place, 42 seconds behind the winner. With a high level race, with the excellent time of 37:50, Diogo Miguel (Ori-Estarreja) achieved the 18th position today and he was the best Portuguese runner.

For Matthias Kyburz, “it was a really fast terrain today, perfect for a full speed race all the way. I did some small mistakes, I've lost maybe twenty, thirty seconds... In such a flat terrain, you must be very concentrated. Otherwise, it's a really nice terrain, much more runnable than yesterday.” Evaluating almost two weeks in Portugal he says: “It was really good to be here at this time of the season. I could do a lot of kilometres, a lot of controls. It's always a good start of the season to get technically use of your skills, we had good trainings and it was a very good decision to come to Portugal.” For Kyburz, “it's always good to see that the shape is already quite good and technically it fits. And it's good to win, of course, despite being really early in the season.” The next three weeks will be in a Training Camp in Italy but we can see, right now, the goals of the season: “The next one will be the World Cup at the Nordic Orienteering Tour, and some other races like Tiomila or Jukola. And then the World Championships, of course!”

Still and always, Simone

As for the Women Elite, Simone Niggli was again at a higher level, winning with a time of 33:39 for a 6.0 km race. Immediately after, were classified Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) and Anastasia Tikhonova (MS Parma), with more 58 seconds and 2:21, respectively. Second placed at yesterday's stage, the Danish Ida Bobach stood today in the 4th position, at distant 3:07 of the winner. Among the Portuguese, we have to get down on the classification board until the 32nd place to see our best representative, Vera Alvarez (CPOC), registering at the Finish the time of 48:15.

At the end, Simone Niggli didn't hide her happiness: “For the middle distance, the race today was perfect because it was a little bit flat and there was a lot of directions. I enjoyed it a lot. It wasn't a clean race for me, I did some small mistakes but I'm happy and this was a good ending of my stay in Portugal.”

Overall Results

Men Super-Elite
1st Matthias Kyburz (Swiss O' Team) 1995.17 points
2nd Olav Lundanes (Halden SK) 1979.68 points
3rd Valentin Novikov (CSP V. Novgorod) 1944.69 points
4th Leonid Novikov (Belgorod Spartak) 1944.63 points
5th Hannu Airila (Kalevan Rasti) 1925.78 points
6th Jani Lakanen (Terä) 1920.84 points
7th Tero Föhr (Individual FIN) 1920.59 points
8th Kalvis Mihailovs (IKHP) 1916.26 points
9th Tsvertkov Dmitriy (Russia The 'Team) 1887.64 points
10th Martin Hubmann (Swiss O'Team) 1874.10 points
29th Diogo Miguel (Ori-Estarreja) 1722.15 points
32nd Tiago Aires (GafanhOri) 1710.07 points
34th Manuel Horta (GafanhOri) 1690.59 points
38th Miguel Silva (CPOC) 1655.19 points
39th Tiago Romão (ADFA) 1624.65 points

Women Elite
1st Simone Niggli (Swiss O' Team) 2000.00 points
2nd Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) 1917.96 points
3rd Ida Bobach (OK PAN) 1868.36 points
4th Anastasiya Tikhonova (MS Parma) 1801.05 points
5th Catherine Taylor (GB O' Team) 1751.86 points
6th Dana Safka Brozkova (Individual CZE) 1746.39 points
7th Natalia Vinogradova (AngA) 1744.98 points
8th Riina Kuuselo (Individual FIN) 1726.14 points
9th Karoliina Sundberg (Lynx) 1715.27 points
10th Irina Nuberg (Hellas) 1672.42 points
31st Vera Alvarez (CPOC) 1354.72 points
33rd Magalie Mendes (COC) 1293.37 points
34th Mariana Moreira (CPOC) 1290.14 points
35th Maria Sá (GD4C) 1278.16 points
37th Raquel Costa (GafanhOri) 1257.81 points

Full results and other information at

Joaquim Margarido

[Sponsored by Orievents and SERI]

Friday, February 15, 2013

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: POM Sprint Cup, Maps and Photos

Joaquim Margarido

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli winners in Monsanto

Ending the Portugal O’ Meeting 2013′s 3rd day, the Sprint race at Monsanto was an unforgettable event. Sure of a very special moment, many were those who were keen to be present in ‘the most Portuguese village in Portugal’. In the end, Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou carried, once again, the laurels of victory!

To visit Monsanto is to plunge into a sea of serenity. Sighted at distance, the village merges into the granite as something mystical, magical. On every street, in every home, we can see deep marks of a time stopped in time. Each stone is a piece of life and every body, every face, displays a telluric energy that invades us, making us feeling more alive.

It was a tribute to this land, Monsanto – the ‘ship of stone’ that Fernando Namora described so well in his ‘Fragments of a Doctor’s Life’ – that the Organization of Portugal O’ Meeting reserved for the second half of the 3rd day. After an exhausting WRE Middle Distance course, the whole orienteering ‘tribe’ moved to Monsanto, to encounter this ‘monument to creation’ and a map that, in the end, would deserve from Thierry Gueorgiou this comment: “I do not keep a lot of maps in my archives any more, but I have to find a room for today´s POM sprint map…” And a very special room, we must say!

Clash of Giants

Made of alleys and stairways, and narrow passages between houses or on the rocks – but always, always rising up to the towering castle – the planned courses put unimaginable challenges to the 970 participants, in what was, to all of them, a unique orienteering experience. And a life lesson, too.

Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) and Matthias Kyburz (Swiss Team), respectively 3rd and 1st in the IOF World Ranking, fought for the triumph in a clash of giants. They were the only ones to achieve under 19 minutes to cover the 2.1 km of the race, but the victory eventually came to Gueorgiou by a difference of 37 seconds (18:17 to 18:54), after using all his enormous courage and skill. In the next three places, more than a minute after the winner, were classified Severin Howald (Swiss Team), Gernot Kerschbaumer (Pan Kristianstad) and Antonio Martinez (Colivenc).

Simone Niggli, again!

In the Women Elite class, the best orienteer of all time showed herself in Monsanto at a high level. Just two hours after winning the ‘queen race’ of the Portugal O’ Meeting 2013, Simone Niggli (Swiss Team) came here to fulfil her route of 1.6 km in 15:51, leaving behind, by 1:06, her compatriot Julia Gross. Anastasia Tikhonova (MS Parma), Ausrine Kutkaite (SNO) and Elena Roos (Swiss Team) occupied in this order the next positions.

But this was only the ‘second act’ of the POM Sprint Cup, a set of two events that started in the night of the first day at the urban centre of Idanha-a-Nova. So, while Thierry Gueorgiou enjoyed a decompression training, Matthias Kyburz tried hard, achieving victory both in the stage and in the overall POM Sprint Cup. In the Women’s Elite class, Anastasia Tikhonova was the big winner, as well as taking the overall victory.

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Trail-Orienteering's Maps, Solutions, Results and Photos

Joaquim Margarido

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Mark Heikoop and Julio Guerra, the winners of Trail-O

Mark Heikoop and Julio Guerra were the big winners of the Portugal O’ Meeting’s Trail Orienteering course. Very challenging technically, the course was the biggest TrailO event ever in Portugal, both for the number of participants and for their expertise.

“The best Trail Orienteering course ever in Portugal”; that’s how Mark Heikoop, a ‘professional’ in this challenging discipline, expressed his opinion at the end. Ranked 6th in the Open Class in the last World Trail Orienteering Championships, Heikoop is a common visitor to Portugal and the POM since the late 90s, and has been following the evolution of Trail Orienteering in this country for some years now. Thus he hasn’t any doubt in saying that “it was a good and challenging course and Portuguese Trail Orienteering is in a good state”.

In the Open Class, Mark Heikoop was the only athlete to complete his course without error, answering the 18 problems correctly and having also the third best time in the timed controls with two answers in 19 seconds. The fastest was the Hungarian Zoltan Mihaczi, with 15 seconds, which, added to the 14 points scored on the course, earned him 3rd position. Second place went to the Portuguese Antonio Aires, with 15 points. In the Paralympic Class, the fight was among the five athletes of DAHP – Adapted Sports of Prelada’s Hospital. Newcomer to Trail Orienteering Julio Guerra was the winner with 8 points, 1 point ahead of Diana Coelho, the winner of the Portugal’s Cup 2012. In third position was Ricardo Pinto, three points behind the winner.

Both frustrated and satisfied”

On a course set by Joaquim Margarido and Luís Sérgio, 88 athletes have taken part, which makes this event the biggest TrailO event ever in Portugal. Names such as Thierry Gueorgiou, Annika Billstam, Kiril Nikolov, Frédéric Tranchand, Philippe Adamski and the winners of the FootO Portugal Cup 2012, Tiago Aires and Raquel Costa, were a significant presence in an event that came in danger of being cancelled due to the thick fog that suddenly enveloped Idanha-a-Nova.

The well-known Jan Kocbach ( also took part. He said at the end that he felt himself “both frustrated and satisfied, as always in Trail Orienteering”. In his short life as a trail orienteer, Jan recognises the enormous merits of this discipline but, at the time of discussing options, “it is not always easy to see what were the criteria of the course planner, and which were the essential elements to resolve each problem, and the result can be, in fact, a little bit frustrating. But it was nice to have Trail Orienteering at the Portugal O’ Meeting and I enjoyed myself”.


Open Class
1º Mark Heikoop (Aligots) 18/18 (00:19)
2º António Aires (Individual) 15/18 (01:29)
3º Zoltan Mihaczi (Pannonnian) 14/18 (00:15)
4º Luís Leite (GD4C) 14/18 (01:41)
5º Heather Walton (JOK) 13/18 (00:57)
6º Nuno Pedro (CAOS) 13/18 (01:31)
7º Kiril Nikolov (Kalevan Rasti) 13/18 (02:15)
8º Tiago Aires (GafanhOri) 12/18 (01:05)
9º Raquel Costa (GafanhOri) 12/18 (01:07)
10º Urtzi Mota (Columbia) 12/18 (01:50)

Paralympic Class
1º Júlio Guerra (DAHP) 08/18 (01:34)
2º Diana Coelho (DAHP) 07/18 (01:45)
3º Ricardo Pinto (DAHP) 05/18 (01:53)
4º António Novais (DAHP) 02/18 (02:05)
5º Ana Paula Marques (DAHP) -02/18 (03:00)

Joaquim Margarido

[Sponsorized by Orievents, SERI and Municipality of Idanha-a-Nova]

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Day 4, Maps and Photos

Joaquim Margarido

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Day 3, Maps and Photos

Joaquim Margarido

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli, of course!

Ending a very well succed campaign, Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli did what they do best: to win! They were the big winners of the Portugal O 'Meeting 2013, fully demonstrating why they are the best orienteers ever.

Bathed by the light of a glorious sun, the fabulous Arena of POM 2013 in Cidral (Idanha-a-Nova), was even more lively and bustling as ever. After all, the end of the biggest Foot-Orienteering event in Portugal was fast approaching to the end and all the participants, totaling over 1600, wanted to conclude on the best way. As the days progressed, the strength were running out, but everyone knew that the time of the big decisions had come.

The Women Elite’s race opened the final day of the Portugal O’ Meeting this year, with Simone Niggli starting in the chasing start as the first competitor on the Long Distance. Her lead of 8:45 before her most direct opponent, Annika Billstam, was a huge one. In the end, Simone Niggli would even extend her lead, being the fastest of all the participants with a time of 1:06:22 and winning for the fifth time (fourth consecutive) the Portugal O ‘Meeting. Next finishers were Annika Billstam and Amélie Chataing, with over 11:37 and 12:48, respectively, after the winner.

Afterwards, Simone Niggli didn’t hide her satisfaction: “I’m really happy. The four races were very good and techical. Today I made one mistake, otherwise the race was very good, I performed well.” When asked which day she liked the most, Simone replied: “Actually I liked most yesterday because it was also the most important race. Today it was quite a touristic race because you went on the top of the hills and I could also appreciate the views.” But the season is only just starting and Simone Niggli has a long way to go to Vuokatti, Finland, to the World Championships: “I will continue with my preparations, since the important races are far in the season, but I can say that my next major goal will be the Nordic Orienteering Tour.”

“This is my place!”

In the Super-Elite Class, Thierry Gueorgiou was, as Simone Niggli, a winner more than anticipated. The French was again the best in the race, finishing with a time of 1:12:15. Philippe Adamski was the runner-up in the race, with just over 45 seconds after his countryman and teammate, managing to pass the Swede Albin Ridefelt in the final standings and reach the second step on the podium. Ridefelt was ranked third after losing 4:57 today to Thierry Gueorgiou.

“Portugal O’ Meeting it’s always a very high standards and you know that you’ll never be disappointed”, Thierry Gueorgiou said, and added: “For me, POM is also a check point, breaking the winter in two parts. I’ve been doing quite a lot of good trainings before and I hope to do the same after. It’s a way to get a little bit more in competition mood.”  Asked which moment marked this POM 2013, the athlete didn’t even need to think: “The moment I like the most is always the same. When you come to the competition arena and you discover such fantastic hills, you already know that it will be a fantastic day for orienteering. It was the same in Monsanto, when you see the villlage with the castle on the top, then you know that it will be very special. When you’re really passionate and you like this kind of challenges, you stop the car in the arena, you look around and you say to yourself: This is my place!”

Overall Results Day 4 (Times Elite)

1º Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 3:25:17
2º Philippe Adamski (Kalevan Rasti) 3:34:48
3º Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 3:36:46
4º Tue Lassen (Vaajakosken Terä) 3:45:26
5º Milos Nykodym (Kristiansand OK) 3:47:51
6º Doug Tullie (TUME) 3:48:28
7º Matthias Kyburz (Swiss Team) 3:49:35
8º Alexey Sidorov (AngA) 3:49:43
9º Andreu Blanes (Colivenc) 3:52:15
10º Hector Haines (Individual GBR) 3:52:23

1º Simone Niggli (Swiss Team) 3:13:40
2º Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 3:25:17
3º Amélie Chataing (Kalevan Rasti) 3:26:28
4º Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) 3:26:50
5º Celine Dodin (HVO) 3:31:28
6º Svetlana Mironova (Hellas) 3:33:55
7º Emily Kemp (Individual CAN) 3:36:02
8º Riina Kuuselo (Individual FIN) 3:37:22
9º Anastasia Tikhonova (MS Parma) 3:38:59
10º Sofia Haajanen (Individual FIN) 3:44:30

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli's Hat Trick

Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli win again on the third day of Portugal O 'Meeting. A full of victories until now on the most important Portuguese event and a demonstration of the superior qualities and capabilities of the two best orienteers ever.

Counting for the world ranking, the Middle Distance races that filled the morning of the third day of Portugal O' Meeting had two repeated winners. Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou continue to show their entire class, leading the «queen-race» of POM 2013.

The course took place on the map of Cidral, a small village northeast of Idanha-a-Nova, in unique terrains in Portugal for this sport, mixing the high technicality with enormous physical demand, which makes this map a wealth of challenges, especially when one considers the competition at the highest level. Adding an Arena in a fantastic place and the animation, normal in an event that attracts more than a thousand and a half of participants, we can easily be seen that were assembled all the ingredients for a memorable race.

«I had to fight from the beginning to end»

Confirming the excellent performance of the first half of POM 2013, Thierry Gueorgiou won the race in the time of 35:21, leaving behind him the Swiss Matthias Kyburz and Russian Dmitriy Tsvetkov, with more 1:41 and 1:54, respectively. For the 'super-champion' French «it's very unusual to see a terrain with so much slope, which makes me think at Aichi, in 2005, during the World Championships. It was really hard phisically and I had to fight from the beggining to the end. What interested me the most was some technical details in the map, very chalenging. I made some little mistakes mostly at the two last controls, and lost 30 seconds, but I'm very happy and waiting now for the Sprint at Monsanto, that I'm sure that will be special.»

Matthias Kyburz was also satisfied at the end: «It was quite good at the beginning, quite fast, but I made a small mistake for the second control, I misunderstood the map and I've lost maybe one minute. I always try to challenge Thierry but a mistake like that was too much and I'm very happy with the second position. Therefore, it's a good start of the season and a result like this, in such a technical terrain, it is very good.»

«I'll be at the starting line tomorrow»

In the female sector, Simone Niggli continues unbeatable and she was again the winner with a time of 35:12. The second position, also expected, was to Swedish Annika Billstam with over 1:32, while in third place was ranked the "little-big" Danish Ida Bobach, registering 2:34 more than the winner. In the end, Simone Niggli did not hide his satisfaction for another victory: «I'm very happy with this victory. Before the start I felt tired legs because the two competitions, but I told me yo just concentrate on the map and I managed it quite well. I made some small mistakes at the beginning for the second and third controls, but than it entered very well and I came in the orienteering flow in this challenging terrain. It was very nice because of the tricky stones and phisically it was tough, which is obvious. I was quite open about the race today, I can't say that I expected this terrains, exactly, but I expected something special as usual on Portugal O' Meeting. Yes I will! I think I've quite a big lead and so I can run not at the maximum speed but I'll be at the starting line tomorrow.»

Another athlete heard in the aftermath of this third stage of the Portugal O 'Meeting was Annika Billstam, which would refer: «My aim is always doing very good technical races. I made some mistakes today but I'm happy with the result. It was a very good map and the course was very well setted, you had to fight hard all the way. I'm really happy with this POM overall and to be here in Portugal. It's particularly good in this time of the year, with such good terrains and races.»

Thierry and Simone will start with comfortable advantages

After Tiago Aires and João Mega Figueiredo, it was now time to fit Diogo Miguel (Ori-Estarreja) to be the best Portuguese today, with a time of 44:23 which corresponded the 42nd position. As for the ladies, Magalie Mendes (COC) took the time to 53:58, reaching No. 51, and relegating Vera Alvarez (CPOC) to the immediately position, with further 20 seconds.

And we arrive to the day of all decisions. The departure will follow the «chasing start» system. In Men Super-Elite, when the clock mark at 10:30 am, Thierry Gueorgiou will leave with the comfortable margin of 6:32 on Albin Ridefelt, while the French Philippe Adamski and Frédéric Tranchand will depart at the same time after 8:46 Thierry Gueorgiou output. The Women Elite's race will start soon, at 09:00 am, with Simone Niggli to present an advantage even more comfortable standing at 8:28 and 10:48 for their more direct rivals, Annika Billstam and Amélie Chataing, respectively.


1º Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 35:21
2º Matthias Kyburz (Swiss Team) 37:02
3º Dmitriy Tsvetkov (Russia O-Team) 37:15
4º Valentin Novikov (CSP V. Novgorod) 37:29
5º Martin Hubmann (Swiss Team) 37:30
6º Philippe Adamski (Kalevan Rasti) 37:41
7º Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 37:42
8º Jarkko Huovila (Kalevan Rasti) 37:52
9º Olle Boström (Järla Orienteering) 38:24
10º Milos Nykodym (Kristiansand OK) 38:34

1º Simone Niggli (Swiss Team) 35:12
2º Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 36:44
3º Ida Bobach (OK Pan) 37:46
4º Dana Safka Brozkova (Domnarvets GoIF) 38:03
5º Amélie Chataing (Kalevan Rasti) 38:11
6º Svetlana Mironova (Hellas) 38:51
7º Maja Alm (OK Pan) 39:08
8º Natalia Vinogradova (AngA) 39:42
9º Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) 39:46
10º Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) 39:56

All to check at

Joaquim Margarido

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Portugal O' Meeting 2013: Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli win again

Contrary to the idea that «history never repeats», Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou relapsed the victory in this second day of Portugal O' Meeting 2013. Tighter victories than the day before, but still victories!

A different day, the same winners! After the successful debut in POM 2013, Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou took another victory, this time by smaller margins than the day before. Sunday’s stage took place on Saturday’s map, revisiting the challenging terrains on nice courses perfectly set for a Middle Distance race. The weather was cold and cloudy, but it did not seem to bother the 1600 participants.

Thierry Gueorgiou was the big winner in the Men Super-Elite Class, covering the 6.5 kilometers of his course in 34:30. Just five seconds slower, on the second position, was his teammate Philippe Adamski, while the Swede Albin Ridefelt repeated the same place of the previous day, ranking in the third position with a time of 35:08. For Thierry Gueorgiou, “it was a beautiful race, in excellent terrains for a Middle Distance, despite two mistakes that made me lose one minute and a half overall. I couldn’t keep focused throughout the race, but I hope to improve tomorrow.” Talking about the “queen-race” of the POM 2013, Thierry Gueorgiou says: “I think the race will be quite difficult, but I’m keen to get a good performance. I love the Portugal O ‘Meeting and this is the ideal event for me, in February, to achieve the result of the winter training in order to prepare the major competitions that will follow. I hope to be well focused in this race and still in the Sprint race, which I am sure will be a very special moment.”

A surprise named Catherine Taylor

Also in the Women Elite, we could see a ‘remake’ regarding to the winner, with the Swiss Simone Niggli winning 38 seconds before Swedish Annika Billstam, after spending 31:59 for 5.3 km of her race . After the 5th place in the opening stage, Britain’s Catherine Taylor reached a third position with a time of 33:02. She is now second in the overall POM rankings, and so far the biggest surprise of this years events. As for the Portuguese, Mariana Moreira was once again the best athlete with the time of 42:05, on the 37th position, while João Mega Figueiredo was today the best portuguese athlete in the Men Super-Elite Class, concluded in the 31st place with a time of 40:40.

Tomorrow is fulfilled the most important stage of POM, a Middle Distance counting for the World Ranking. Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou are the natural candidates for victory, but there are several athletes that compete seriously with them. A big rival for everyone, including the organisation, will be the weather that seems to be getting worse. The Portuguese Weather Service puts even this whole region on orange alert, the second most severe, due to forecasts of snow and strong winds that can reach 100 kilometers per hour.


1º Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 34:30
2º Philippe Adamski (Kalevan Rasti) 34:35
3º Ridefelt Albin (OK Linné) 35:08
4º Hannu Airila (Kalevan Rasti) 35:27
5º Frédéric Tranchand (OK Hallen) 35:40
6º Kalvis Mihailovs (IK Hakarpspojkarn) 36:13
7º Tomas Dlabaja (RR) 36:26
8º Simo-Pekka Fincke (Kalevan Rasti) 36:36
9º Lucas Basset (JOG) 36:37
10º Jakob Enmark (Gavle OK) 37:16

1º Simone Niggli (Swiss Team) 31:59
2º Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 32:37
3º Catherine Taylor (OK Linné) 33:02
4º Brigitta Mathys (Järla) 33:53
5º Chataing Amélie (Kalevan Rasti) 33:53
6º Riina Kuuselo (Individual FIN) 34:45
7º Ausrine Kutkaite (SNO) 34:53
8º Sofia Haajanen (Individual FIN) 35:00
9º Céline Dodin (HVO) 35:16
10º Natalia Vinogradova (AngA) 36:08

Full results and other information in

[Photo by LUZIR]

Joaquim Margarido