Thursday, April 18, 2013

XXI Iberic Championships 2013: Tiago Gingão Leal and Anna Serralonga won in Gouveia

Beautiful but tough and demanding! The first leg of the XXI Iberic Foot Orienteering Championship 2013, held in Gouveia, was just like this. On the sum of the 3 stages, Tiago Gingão Leal and Anna Serralonga were the winners, as in the collective competition, on this turning page, Portugal is in the lead.

The Iberic Foot Orienteering Championship is an annual meeting point for Portuguese and Spanish orienteers, and in 2013 the first leg of the competition was held on Serra da Estrela, highest mountain of Continental Portugal. On a very adequate setting for nature sports and with a very lucky weather conditions (sunny after a very long winter), the Clube Português de Orientação e Corrida and the Municipality of Gouveia served a pile of challenges to the 700 runners, with 2 forest events in Vale do Rossim and a very entertaining sprint in the town centre of Gouveia.

With top performances, Tiago Gingão Leal (Gafanhori) and Anna Serralonga (Grions – Girona) were the top runners on the first day of the competition, winning firstly the Middle Distance and afterwards, on the puzzling streets of the mountain town of Gouveia, the one of the Sprint distance. The event of Long Distance that closed the Championships would reveal itself particularly tough, having Diogo Miguel (Ori-Estarreja) and Anna Serralonga the great winners. On the general classification of the 2 days of the competition, this first leg of the Iberic Championships revealed Tiago Gingão Leal and Anna Serralonga has the worthy winners. Diogo Miguel and Tiago Romão (ADFA) were next on the male competition and Magalie Mendes (COC) and Alicia Cobo (Navaleno) closed the podium with this exact order.

Counting all classes that leads to the team classification, the Spanish runners took the lead, winning 11 of the 20 classes of competition. But on the collective classification, things are different and Portugal his a small step away of repeating the victory of 2012 on the Iberic duel, presenting its runners in Aranda del Rey (Madrid) on the next September, with 842 points against 729 to Spain.

We had very beautiful terrains”

On the end, Serralonga was very happy with her victory but seemed even more pleased with the terrains: “We had beautiful terrains, very technical, just as I was waiting for. This was the reason why I came to Gouveia because I was told that these would be very special terrain.” She confessed to have her preference over the Middle Distance event, “the one who his more demanding technically and that includes always great challenges”. The athlete also revealed that the Sprint was very interesting “very amusing on the puzzle of streets”, and the Long Distance that although “I wasn´t expecting such a difficult race, it was a very nice training”.

Tiago Gingão Leal on the other hand said that “after some recent bad races, I confess that I was not expecting this. However, I felt well physically, the races had a high technical level and I managed to have good races.” Considering the Long Distance Race, the runner was particularly surprised with his result: “I lost motivation during the race for being so slow and not being used to this sort of terrain but when I went by the spectator control and understood that my race was being quite good, I tried then to end very strongly on the final part of the race. I am really very happy.”

Luís Leite and Júlio Guerra won TrailO Competition

TrailO assumed an important role with the first edition of the Iberic Championship in this challenging and inclusive discipline. In the north side of Vale do Rossim Dam, 50 portuguese and Spanish competitors fought for the first Iberic titles in Open and Paralympic Classes.

As it was expected, the fight for victory in the Open Class was extremely tight, with 3 participants ending on first place with the same number of points. In this case the timed controls solved this draw conceding the victory to Luís Leite from GD4C, followed by Nuno Pedro from CAOS and Nuno Rebelo from Ori-Estarreja. In the Paralympic Class the results were also tight and the 3 first places were occupied by Júlio Guerra, the most accurate, followed by Ricardo Pinto and Diana Coelho, all of them representing DAHP – Núcleo de Desporto Adaptado do Hospital da Prelada.

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Frédéric Tranchand: "Between Long Distance and Sprint"

Safe value of the French Orienteering, Frédéric Tranchand is our invited today. With his eyes in Vuokatti, he tell us how the season is going on and what to expect for the Summer. For now, he has a single word in his vocabulary: Work!

What memories do you keep from the four days of the Portugal O' Meeting?

Frédéric Tranchand (F. T.) - It was a very interesting competition. I came to Portugal to train for about a week and a half before the event and I could find excellent terrains, first in Nisa's region, more open, flat and with some rocks and here in Idanha-a-Nova a more challenging terrain, with much greater slopes and rocks. Two types of excellent terrain, really challenging, for training and also for competing.

Was there a moment that you value above the rest?

F. T. - I think that I will keep this competition as a whole, for the two distinct terrain types - forest over the first two days and then, in the last two stages, all those rocks and paths with much slope - and the Sprint also. Unfortunately I can't keep a good memory of the Sprint, since I got an injury and it has prevented me from running the last day. But still I got a map, I went for a walk and I could realize that this was another excellent course.

And it would be a beautiful race too (!) ...

F. T. - Yes, of course. Me and Philippe [Adamski] would have started at the same time and it would have been a very interesting race, but things are as they are and injuries are part of the game...

Albin [Ridefelt] started ahead of you, with a less than two minutes long lead, and I guess that you would do a team game to catch him up as quickly as possible. Isn't it a little bit unfair?

F. T. - I was in the same accommodation with Thierry [Gueorgiou] and Philippe and over several days we had discussed this possibility, although never crossed my mind that we would start precisely at the same time. I do not say that we can see an exchange of ideas during the race when two or more runners go together, but being in a group always helps. Whether is it fair or unfair?... We didn't know that we would have this opportunity, it was a matter of luck. But when you have a course with 'loops' and you have the same 'loop' of the athlete that goes with you, is also a matter of luck. Personally, I really like the chasing start system and if you start first, you always have that pressure of knowing that there's someone behind wanting to hunt you. The challenge is to manage to keep in front, regardless of who is just behind you. It's really fun.

A place on the podium, was it a goal for the Portugal O' Meeting?

F. T. - I didn't set goals for the Portugal O' Meeting. My focus was on training and do clean races. I think I got it in the first two days, not so much in the third day and then I got injured. In any case, I came to Portugal to train. Training is training, but if the results are good, much better. That's the truth.

The season is here and the things are going to start to heat up. What's your next goal?

F. T. - I will continue with my preparation, focusing on Silva League, a set of races that will take place in Sweden in late April and May. This will be the launch pad for the Nordic Orienteering Tour, the World Military Games and also to the World Championships. I'll have to be in shape to be able to guarantee a place in the national team and then, depending on the results, to think about the summer tasks.

With team mates like Thierry Gueorgiou, Philippe Adamski, Francois Gonon and many others, I believe it won't be easy to ensure a place in the French Team (?!) ...

F. T. - Well, no, it won't be easy. Especially with Thierry and Philippe, two athletes that lead orienteering on a very professional way. It's good to train with them, it's particularly important because we know how we have to work harder our speed or technique, but there is a great fight to get a place in the group.

Has Kenneth Buch been an asset to the Team?

F. T. - Yes, yes. It is true that he has a slightly different approach that we used to have with the previous coach. He is, perhaps, a little more into the experimental side. But I believe that this diversity, to see the things from different points of view, is very positive.

Can you describe the most exciting moment of your career?

F. T. - Despite not being part of the team, one of the moments that I remember the most is the French victory in WOC's Relay, in 2011, especially after having followed the failure of previous years. Personally, the one that I keep as the highest point of my career, it has to do with the Sprint race in Trondheim, at the World Championships 2010, when I've got the bronze medal. I also like the Relay races, and, as in Bulgaria, in 2010, as in Sweden, last year, I could run and be on the podium with the French Team. But every season has its history and it is always good to start with set goals, hoping to have, once more, a beautiful story to tell in the end.

And will a story to tell at the end of 2013 have a medal at the World Championships included?

F. T. - (Laughs) Well, I don't know... But I will do everything I can to make this possible. Still, it's the World Championships, there are the Swiss, the Nordics, everyone ... It will be very hard!

And if this medal arises, will it be in Sprint again?

F. T. - I don't know yet. This year, the program of the World Championships leaves me in a very big dilemma, since it is very difficult if you want to run the Long Distance and be able also to run the Sprint. These are raced that are "embedded" in each other and I haven't made a decision. I don't think so much about the Middle Distance, as I feel that it's the discipline in which I have less chances, so the choice will be between Long Distance and Sprint. It will depend a lot on my preparation. At the moment, it's too early and everything can happen, but my attention is geared more for the Sprint or the Long and then, who knows (?), for the first leg on the Relay.

Are we going to see you again in Portugal next year?

F. T. - I think there is a good chance that this will happen. But this year I hope to complete my graduation in Civil Engineering and I'm not sure what the future will be. But I want to continue to do Orienteering, of course, and the Portugal O' Meeting is a really friendly competition, from the organization to the environment we live over the four days. And then we must not forget that we'll have in Portugal the European Championships and the Portugal O' Meeting could be an excellent pretext to prepare this competition. If I'll be free from obligation, I'll certainly come back.

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, April 08, 2013

Violeta Feliciano: " I consider myself quite lucky for growing up in a club which has brought on great orienteers"

Violet Feliciano was the big surprise of the Spanish Orienteering Championships CEO 2013. In her first season in the Elite class, the athlete from Alicante achieved two individual titles and a second place in the Relay race. These results were the perfect pretext for a very interesting conversation that you can see here and now.

In the end of the Spanish Championships, you got back home with two gold medals and one silver medal on your chest. Did you expect this?

Violeta Feliciano (V. F.) - I was really surprised, because I didn’t expect to come home with such good results in my first year in the Elite class, and even less in the Sprint and Middle distances, which were the two races I least believed in. Actually, my main goal was the Long Distance because it has always been my favourite distance, but I made a big mistake at one control and lost a place in the podium. Although after this first race I felt a little demotivated, I knew I was fit and if I ran more self-confident, I could do much better and even be in the top three. Eventually, this change of mind wasn’t bad at all... (laughs)

Where is the secret of such good results?

V. F. - Like in any sport, I guess the secret lies in the effort to train every day and in the will to improve. I wasn't very happy with my results as a Junior, so this year I decided to change my way of seeing orienteering and I setted less demanding goals. I didn’t want any pressure or having to prepare for any Championship in particular, I just wanted to enjoy running and that was what I did. I started to care more about my diet and started feeling good with training. Of course, I also have to thank my coach Jesús Gil, who has prepared all my trainings and helped me to achieve these good results.

It was particularly exciting to watch the end of Relay race and the way you comforted Alicia [Gil], who had just lost the sprint for Anna Serralonga. Can you tell me, really, what did you feel at that moment?

V. F. - This year I knew it would be very difficult to win the Relay because my teammates, Alicia and Esther Gil, for some reason, hadn’t been able to train enough and weren’t very well physically, but even so we wanted to do well and win. When I saw Alicia and Anna punch the last control so close I remembered my first Relay in Elite class, in 2010, where Catalonia also beat us for a few seconds. It's one of the things that make this sport so exciting, that everything can always happen and nothing is decided until the end . Although I would have liked to win, I'm very happy with the effort that my teammates made and I'm very happy too for the Catalan Berta, Annabel and Anna.

Now that you're starting in the Elite, can you tell me how everything's happened?

V. F. - I started pretty soon, I think when I was eight, at school. At first, I also did other sports like basketball, football or athletics, but immediately I became more interested in orienteering. Just 10 years ago I went to my first Spanish Orienteering Championship and I remember that I bet with my father that, if I won, he would give me a videogame console. I don’t know if it was the will to win the bet, but finally I won the two races and when I came home my father had to buy the video game console. Since that day he hasn’t bet anything with me any more. (laughs)

What do you find in this sport that makes it so special?

V. F. - Orienteering is an amazing sport, where body and mind are closely linked. Having a good physical shape isn’t enough, but also good skills with the map are required. This makes it so exciting, because a few seconds of mistake or a bad route choice can make the difference.

Can you mention the best moment of your career until now? And the worst?

V. F. - I’ve got a lot of good memories from all these years doing orienteering, but regarding the physical shape, my best moment could be now. And I'd say I did my worst seasons during my last two years, as a Junior.

How can you get the time for your studies and, nevertheless, being in such a good shape?

V. F. - I study German Translation and Interpretation at university and I'm in my second year. That’s a degree that requires much time and work because it has a very practical approach, so I haven’t got much free time apart from time I spend in trainings. Moreover, the classes are always in the evening and therefore I only have time in the morning to do all my class works and to train. I’ve been training alone for more than two years because the training group of my club always trains in the evening. It's a bit hard to train alone, especially in winter, but if you’ve got will and motivation, it isn’t so difficult. Same with time management, if you want to get something you have to find time from anywhere to combine all.

When you look around you and you see Anna and Marc Serralonga, Biel, Pol and Ona Rafóls, the “Spanish Bomb Kids”, Annabel, Esther, Roger Casal and many others, how do you feel amongst this Elite?

V. F. - I have to say that this year some of the best Spanish orienteers have gone abroad or aren’t in their best shape for several reasons. I think this also affected the Championships' level in the Elite class, especially in the case of women class, who unfortunately are always fewer in number, but still I'm very happy to be competing with the best Spanish orienteers of the moment, because they have always been my reference and now have become my rivals.

Is there an athlete that you follow as an example, of which you are a fan?

V. F. - I consider myself quite lucky for growing up in a club which has brought on great orienteers like Esther Gil, Roger Casal or Antonio and Andreu (Bomb-kids), from whom I’ve learned a lot and I have always had as a reference. I think that they and many other Spanish orienteers have become where they are thanks to the effort and will to improve, despite the limited resources that we have at our disposal. That has a great merit and I think that all of them are the best example of how to become a good athlete.

Because of your studies, I know that you will fail the WOC. How do you feel about it?

V. F. - The fact that I'm not going to the WOC is something that I decided earlier in the season. This year I wanted to give priority to my studies and learning the German language because I think it’s very important for my future. I have a contract of employment in Austria for the beginning of June, so I won’t be available for the dates of the WOC. It’s a pity that I can’t go to Finland because now I feel quite good physically, but it's my first year as an Elite runner and I still have many years to go to a World Championship.

I can't resist asking you the following, since within a couple of days Portugal receives the first stage of the Iberian Championship and we cannot see, among the entries in the Elite class, the overwhelming majority of great athletes from Spain, including Violet. When the two federations agreed to take forward the new model, putting an end to Selections, what did they do to the Iberian Championships?

V. F. - Sincerely I preferred the Iberian Championship model we had before, because it was much more exciting than now. It's a shame that now Spanish and Portuguese federations can’t afford to select national teams because it has reduced excitement to the competition. Although this new model also has advantages, such as the Championship being decided in two different terrains, or any participant having a chance to win. I think that the main problem of this new model is that people consider this event as a competition of the National League like any other and if you live far away, as in our case for example that we live in Alicante, we have to consider our assistance because the next week we have another competition of the National League, which also takes us a long way from home.

With the Spanish Championship overcome and without a goal in sight to the WOC, how will the rest of the season be?

V. F. - My main goal this season was the Spanish Championship, but within two months we also have the Spanish University Championship, where there is also a high level and I’d also like to get good results. Beyond that, there are some National League races before summer. Then I'm going to work to Austria and later I’m going to Munich to do an Erasmus semester in September. So from now on, I will have to start looking for a German club to keep on competing there.

All orienteers cherish a dream. Will you share yours with us?

V. F. - Well, now I don’t have any goal because as I said, this year my priority is to improve my German, but next year, when I come back to Spain, I hope to keep on competing in the Elite class and start thinking about the next WOC.

[Photo: Germán Giménez]

Joaquim Margarido

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Albin Ridefelt: Work, talent and ambition

At 21, Albin Ridefelt is already a star rising in the dome of world orienteering. Today we back off two months in time, reliving the conversation held in the Portugal O' Meeting's aftermath. Past, present and future summed in three words: work, talent and ambition!

How do you see your third place overall at the Portugal O' Meeting 2013?

Albin Ridefelt (A. R.) - I'm really satisfied. Even though I've made some mistakes, it was a pretty good competition. In the last day my legs were really tired, I couldn't keep up the way to speed and Philippe [Adamsky] was stronger than me.

And what about the event?

A. R. - The Portugal O' Meeting is a great event, with good courses and really good maps. It's always fun to come down from Sweden, where is cold, and run these great terrains with technical orienteering. It's the perfect way to start the season.

Was it your first time at the Portugal O' Meeting?

A. R. - I was also here last year, but I was far down in the results. I know, since I came in the last year, that it's a very good competition and I felt that I had to go this year too. For me, Portugal O' Meeting is a very good way to go down and get some good trainings at the start of the season and getting into the technical flow.

Did you expect to do such good races here?

A. R. - No, I didn't. I knew that I had done a really good winter training so far, but I couldn't expect that I would be so high up with those very good guys. I'm really satisfied.

For those that don't know who is Albin Riedefelt, please tell me, who are you, Albin?

A. R. - I'm still pretty young, I'm from Uppsala, in Sweden... yeah (I don't know)... I have run some competitions for Sweden, with some pretty good results, but I think – hopefully – you'll get to know me better in the future (laughs).

At what age did you start doing orienteering?

A. R. - I started very early. In the beginning I was more of a football and some other sports guy, but my father was an orienteer and finally I became an orienteer too, and I'm really satisfied with that choice.

When did you discover that you wanted to be a top elite runner?

A. R. - Maybe when I was 15 years old and I went to the Orienteering High School and that's when my real training started, I must say.

Do you have an idol in this sport?

A. R. - Yes, in the beginning it was an athlete from my club, Mats Tröeng, a very good runner. But I also like Thierry [Guergiou], I'm watching him and he always inspires me. These are the two biggest inspirations for me.

What does Thierry have that you don't?

A. R. - I think that he is faster than me. And, of course, he is very good technically. I believe that I'm not so far from him in the technical way, but I need to work my speed, definitely.

After the Portugal O' Meeting, what have you done?

A. R. – I’ve been to some more training camps in southern Europe, but mostly tried to do good basic training at home in Uppsala.

What's next?

A. R. – Unfortunately there are still quite much snow in Sweden with a lot of cancelled competitions, now I just hope for some warmer weather and the snow to melt. My main focus now is 10Mila and the Silva League-series which takes place in april-may here in Sweden.

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

A. R. - Well, I don't know. My dream goal is to run the WOC this year, in Finland, but it will be hard to get a place in the Swedish box. In three years, we'll have the WOC in Sweden and I can see there my long term goal. Maybe at that time.

But in the meanwhile we'll have Finland... and a medal... (!?)

A. R. - Ooooh... a medal!... To get a medal, that will be very hard. In a couple of years, maybe.

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, April 01, 2013

Davide Machado: IOF's Athlete of the Month

Our Athlete of April, Davide Machado, is one of the upcoming stars in mountain bike orienteering. He trains with the High Performance Group in Portugal; a special group of elite athletes from various sports who are subsidised by the Portuguese government, to help improve their performance and ensure yet more excellent results. Read more about Davide’s training, and about the goals he aims to achieve this year.

Name: Davide Machado
Country: Portugal
Discipline: MTB Orienteering
Career highlights: World MTB Orienteering Championships - Long Distance 5th (2011 and 2012), Middle Distance 11th (2012), Sprint 6th (2011), Relay 8th (2012); European MTB Orienteering Championships - Long Distance 29th (2011), Middle Distance 34th (2011), Sprint 45th (2011), Relay 13th (2011). 12th in the overall Mountain Bike Orienteering World Cup 2012.
IOF World Ranking position: 11th

It was at the Portuguese Middle Distance and Relay MTBO Championships 2009 that Davide Machado realised that Mountain Bike Orienteering would be his discipline for the future, the one which could make his dreams come true. Why? In particular because the results achieved in these two competitions put him in the 'selection working group' for the World Championships. The possibility of facing, eye to eye, the best in the world and competing against them, coupled with the fact that the Championships were to take place in Portugal, provided extra-special motivation. Davide Machado took the opportunity with both hands, willing to prove to those who bet on him that they were not mistaken.

Discovering for himself the physical strengths needed for MTB Orienteering, and linking that with his already good results: that was the recipe that has made Davide Machado what he is today - one of the greatest experts worldwide in this demanding and spectacular discipline.

When I set my goals, I like to achieve them”

Davide Machado was born in Póvoa de Lanhoso, a city in the Braga district in northern Portugal. Like any child he had a bike and enjoyed playing on it, but wasn't really interested in cycling. He was never the kind of kid who took his bike out in the morning and appeared back with it only at night, much less someone who imagined that one day he would be at the highest competitive level on a bike.

The connection to Orienteering began at the age of 12 through the 'Scholar Sports' scheme. The first results, very encouraging by the way, were in FootO. One of his successes was in 2004 when he represented Portugal at the World School Sports Orienteering Championships ISF (at Bütgenbach, Belgium). “A high point which settled my devotion to this sport”, he says.

How far Davide Machado could have gone in FootO is something that will never be known. Of one thing he is sure: “When I set my goals, I like to achieve them”. Hence his belief that he could have achieved some good results in FootO because, as he says, “with the right effort, you can achieve anything”.

Erik Skovgaard Knudsen, a complete athlete, phenomenal”

MTB Orienteering first came into his life at the end of 2006, and Davide Machado immediately saw in it a great opportunity. From that point on, his enthusiasm for this discipline grew as that Foot-O declined. “Actually I do very little FootO these days, indeed I probably won't run a race this year”, he says. But there's an health reason for this; he has injured his Achilles tendon and his doctors have advised him not to race, especially in hilly terrain, if he wants to avoid having an operation. “On the other hand”, he explains, “although it can be done, it's not very advisable to have intense work-outs both on foot and on a bike; an expert in mountain biking should focus attention primarily on the bike”.

The fomat he likes the most is Long Distance. The reason, as he explains, has to do with the fact that “it's a distance with a more physical component, and that suits me as I am a strong physical athlete”. But confessing his liking also for Sprint races, especially urban Sprints, Machado acknowledges that these are “faster races, more technical, and I’m still learning the technical part”. Looking at his results, you may well think he has few technical shortcomings. He says this is “all part of the learning process and development of the athlete”.

Davide Machado has one person he regards as a model, an idol. He is the Dane Erik Skovgaard Knudsen: “a complete athlete – phenomenal! I was behind him on two legs in the European Championships in Russia, and I saw how amazing his physical and technical capacities were, achieving error-free map reading and exceptional control of the bike at the same time”.

There's no free time for anything else”

In late 2010, following his 7th place in the World MTB Orienteering Championships Long Distance in Montalegre, Davide Machado joined the High Performance Group. This is a special group of elite athletes from various sports who are subsidised by the Portuguese government, to help improve their performance and ensure yet more excellent results. Davide Machado moved to the High Performance Centre in Cruz Quebrada, near Lisbon, where he now lives. For him as an athlete, the change was “very positive, enabling me to have additional support in training and recovery, such as medical care and help with nutrition”.

The mornings are spent at university where he’s studying Business Management. All of his time is spent on studies and training. “There’s no free time for anything else”, he admits. It’s easy to understand why, as in 2012 alone he cycled approximately 17,000 km and spent over 600 hours on training and competition.

I like Poland the most”

The 2013 MTB Orienteering season has as its highlights the European Championships in Poland and the World Championships in Estonia. His goal is clear, and the same for both competitions: renewing his High Performance status, which in practice means getting a top-8 position in at least one of the eight events that he faces. But the sooner he achieves this goal, the better: “I want to do it in the European Championships, so as to be free from increased pressure in the World Championships. Last year I only achieved it in the last race of the World Championships, and I want to avoid another situation like that”.

And although the ambition of being amongst the top eight has a clear purpose, it should be recognised that getting a medal is not out of his thoughts. His modesty leads him to say: “It’s not that I don’t want it – in fact I really want it very much! I’m working on it – but I know that, like me, there are many other athletes who are struggling to make their dreams come true and working hard to get there, so this is something that depends not only on my own willpower”.

European or World Championships? Poland or Estonia? “Personally, I like Poland the most”, says Machado and explains why: “I believe that in Estonia the terrain is flatter and more technical, while in Poland it is more physical, so here the courses will be tougher and hence my chances are higher in Poland. If I reach the goal of getting in the top eight, then of course I will try to do even better at the World Championships”. About one thing, however, he has no doubt: “In competitive terms they will be two very similar events and the technical and organisational quality will both be very high, as these are two countries with a bright history in MTBO”.

Goal: IOF World Ranking's top ten

The best memories of Davide’s career are from previous World Championships, and he sees his 5th place in the 2011 World Championships’ Long Distance as the greatest moment so far: “When I finished I was in 3rd place, and today I can still feel that euphoria of waiting for the three athletes still in the forest, wishing them to fail”. To stay or not to stay in the medals, that was the question. There were moments of tremendous excitement, the most significant of his career until now, and he was happy to settle for what he believes was “a very good result, after all”.

And because both the European Championships and the World Championships count for World Cup scores, and the final World Cup round will take place in Portugal, it is inevitable to end with the question: “What about the World Cup in Portugal next October?” Davide Machado doesn’t hide his ambitions: “I’ll gather all my strength for what will be, for me, the highlight of the season. I want to exceed everyone’s expectations and give Portugal and the Portuguese a lot of joy”. The keys of a great result could be “the kind of terrain where the competition will take place, which I love, and our cartography, something which I am already familiar with”. This apart, of course, from the home-ground factor, always important in terms of motivation.

After the World Cup finishes the season, Davide Machado will look back and remember that he finished last season in 11th place, only three points away from the top 10. He has been as high as 7th the IOF World Rankings at one point, but the truth is that things didn’t go well at the end last year, to be precise in the final round in Estonia. This year everything will be different: “I really hope to have a good campaign, and reach that goal of being in the IOF World Ranking’s top ten at the end of the season”.

Athlete's question

Question from Stanimir Belomazhev, Athlete of March: - Do you have another sports passion apart from MTB orienteering?

Davide Machado: “Besides MTB Orienteering I love MTB cross-country. I started practising it as a complement to the physical training for MTB Orienteering but now, even though it is secondary, I take things a little more seriously. At national level I’ve got some good results in 2012, e.g. third place in the National Championships, and this year I hope that things go even better. It’s a sport that’s improved enormously in recent years, especially because of the growing number of athletes who practice it, and being an Olympic sport it creates more impact on society and this makes it a little easier to get some support, especially in terms of materials”.

And Davide’s question to the Athlete of May, the Paralympic Trail Orienteer Evaldas Butrimas, Lithuania:

- How do you see TrailO’s future? What are your goals in this sport?

Joaquim Margarido

[See the original article at Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation]