Monday, July 22, 2013

Martin Šmelík: "My only serious goal is to enjoy"

The present article of “Me and my School” takes us to Slovakia, to meet Martin Šmelík. Focused on mathematics and physics, the Long Distance's World Champion of School Sports presents himself on a very peculiar way and confesses to have a single goal in their life of orienteer: to enjoy!

Who is Martin Šmelík?

Martin Šmelík (M. S.) - My name is Martin Šmelík, but almost everybody call me “Šmelo”. I live in the second biggest Slovakian city, Košice, where I was born on 19th may 1996. I have a 5 years older sister who is always in a great mood. The whole family do orienteering. I attend a mathematical school and my favourite subjects are math and physics. I train mostly in Košice in very good conditions because of new maps made or actualized before the last year’s JWOC, and, of course, with an awesome training group full of nice people, who support each other all the time! :) I am interested in all kind of sports, except of combat sports. I used to play football, basketball, badminton, but I like orienteering the most. Nowadays, I do preferentially orienteering, but I support my training with cycling, swimming or skiing. I also like watching movies or TV series, hanging around with my friends or just laying in my bad, relaxing, listening to a music and reading a book. I like all kind of music with an enjoyable rhythm. I have got many memories to each song which makes me happy, but in general, I’ ll change my favourite song almost every week. My favourite book is “Born to Run”, if you haven’ t read it yet I strongly recommend it! I really like Quentin Tarantino's movies and the genre of movie usualy depends on my mood, but mostly drama. I am watching TV series “How I met Your Mather” and “The Big Bang Theory”. And about the food, if I am hungry, I eat almost everything I see but, almost as every young person, I am addicted to sweets :D having a chocolate after a tough training…one of the best feelings!

Would you like to present your school?

M. S. - I live in quite a big city (about 250 000 inhabitants) with amazing forests not so far away. As I already wrote, I attend a mathematical school, I will (hopefully) graduate next year. We have got mostly boys in our class and my teacher is one of the best women I know, Mrs. Viera Nachtmanová, who always support everybody in class, including me with many absences because of sport. At my school, just a few people have ever tried orienteering in their lives but, recently, many students and teachers found out what orienteering is about, unfortunately my classmates mostly think that it is just a great opportunity to miss some lessons and don't know how beautiful this sport can be.

How did you met Orienteering?

M. S. - Well, as my parents had been doing orienteering even before my birth, if I take a look to our family photo album, my first photos with a map are when I was one year old. I orienteered without my parents on the marked route for the first time when I was 6 and that was my first step of “big orienteering”. After that, I was improving in the forest just without my parents.

Was it important in your development as orienteer, the relation between you and your school?

M. S. - Of course, in some cases, my school had to help me. Since I miss a lot in school because of many training camps, the teachers had to be permissive to me when I did not understand what is going on. I think that the biggest credit of my development as orienteer is to my club ATU Kosice.

When did you decided to take Orienteering seriously?

M. S. - After summer training camp for young orienteers in Czech republic called Silva O' Camp, when I was 12, I started to look forward to every competition and enjoying every training. But I was too young for taking something seriously. I started to take orienteering seriously after my first participation at EYOC 2010, in Spain, where I found out how strong are the others and how difficult is to make a good result at such a competition. That motivated me to a hard training in the winter so I was able to compare with the best in my category next year.

What opportunities Orienteering brought to you until now?
M. S. - If I tell to anyone how many countries I have visited because of orienteering in such a young age, he or she just look at me with big unbelieving eyes telling that it is impossible, I have been for example twice in Sweden, in Spain, Latvia, Italy and many other countries. About the friends, I met the best people in my life because of orienteering. When I am with orienteers, I feel like in a different world! It is really difficult to describe it but you definitely know what I am talking about.

Looking to your curriculum, we can see (at least) the gold medal in the Long Distance at the ISF World School Sport Orienteering Championships 2013 (Algarve). Did you expect the title?

M. S. - Already last year, I told to myself that I want to get a medal at this event, so I trained really hard the whole winter (JWOC and EYOC motivated me really much too). Long distance is definitely my strongest discipline and I trusted to myself really much before the start because I knew that I was in good physical shape because at middle I had made some mistakes and got to the top 6 so the only problem was to run without mistakes and not to panic. This medal means a lot for me but mostly it is another good motivation for my improvement in orienteering life.

Talking about Portugal, I would like to know your opinion about the competition and how important can be an event like this in the young orienteers' life.

M. S. - I really liked the competition. I was really surprised about the accommodation but, in general, it was organized at really high level, I must say that the place was chosen very well. Everybody have definitely enjoyed the whole competition, found new friends and came home with a big smile on their faces! This competition is the first contact for young orienteers with orienteering and they will remember it forever so it absolutely is really important.

About the future, what do you expect to be, both professionally and orienteer?

M. S. - I am preparing for math and physics the most, but I don't know yet what university I am going to choose. I would like to continue with training, so my selection will be affected by the training opportunities. As orienteer, my only serious goal is to enjoy it.

Would you like to leave a message for those who always wanted to know about Orienteering, but are afraid to ask?

M. S. - Orienteering is loved by many people. It is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle! If you are not sure, you should definitely try this and talk with all the other at the super after the competition about the courses and you would definitely love this too!

Martin Šmelík in brief

Me ...
  • The best definition to Orienteering is... enjoying the nature
  • To practice it you just need... efficient washer
  • The major difficulty is... not to get lost
  • Essential in my bag is... a compass
  • An extraordinary moment of joy was... When I came to the same place after 5 minutes and the control was suddenly there (happened to me many times)
  • I'm a big fan of... Marian Davidik
  • My major goal in the future is... to enjoy

and my school
  • My school is... obsolete
  • I see my teachers as... helpers in my life
  • My colleagues say that I am... fast
  • To combine study with sport is... difficult but not impossible
  • I look to the world like... everything is good, I think very positive
  • The biggest social problem... politics
  • The quality I admire the most is... my daddy
  • In the desert island, I just needed... friends

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, July 19, 2013

WTOC 2013: Portuguese on high wheel

For the second time in its history, Portugal has attended the World Trail Orienteering Championships. Despite the modesty of the results, the four athletes present in Vuokatti showed some truly interesting notes that allow to design a bright future in this particular discipline.

From July 7th to 14th took place in Vuokatti, Finland, the 10th edition of the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2013. Held in parallel with the World Orienteering Championship, the Precision event was attended by 92 athletes, allocated on Open and Paralympic Classes, together representing 19 countries. After the premiere in 2012, at the World Champs in Dundee (Scotland, UK), Portugal repeated its presence in the largest world exhibition of Precision Orienteering by aligning two athletes in the Open Class - Alexandre Reis and Joaquim Margarido - and two in Paralympic Class - Diana Coelho and Ricardo Pinto.

The courses took place in forest terrains, with a varied cutout relief, excellent visibility and depth of field, calling for a thorough reading of the contour lines and an overview the most accurate as possible. With sections “one way” involving an assessment of anticipated problems, "traps" to peek at every turn and the tiniest details acquiring an unusual importance at the decision moment, the competition proved to a need unique, appealing to the technical qualities of the participants, their timing and their maximum concentration.

Portuguese, one by one

It was under this premise that portuguese athletes have evolved over two days of competition for a total of 45 points, including six timed controls. "Scoring twice" its presence in the World Championships, Joaquim Margarido and Ricardo Pinto reached percentages above what they had achieved a year ago, in Scotland, the first to reach a total of 24 points (twelve on each days), which earned him the final 51st place in the Open Class. Ricardo Pinto concluded its participation in Paralympic Class in the 31st place with an amount of 20 points. Failure to properly manage the time of race eventually proved fatal to Joaquim Margarido. The athlete recorded on both days an excellent early test, but that was diluting the rapid flow of time to finish somewhat bleak, especially on the second day. Already Ricardo Pinto corrected on the best way a less positive entry in the Championships, achieving a motivating performance on the last day.

Newcomers in the PreO high wheels, Alexandre Reis and Diana Coelho eventually surpass the expectations. As Ricardo Pinto, Diana Coelho also demonstrated an extraordinary evolution from the first to the second day, which allowed her to skip a few holes on the table to settle in 32nd place in Paralympic Class, with 16 points total. As for Alexandre Reis, turned out to be a special case in the context of the Portuguese participation, since he is the responsible for mapping and course setting of the next European Trail Orienteering Championships, to be held in Palmela (Portugal), in April next year. So it was in dual quality as observer and athlete that he was in Vuokatti, demonstrating since the beginning a technical strong "muscle" and an innate talent for Precision Orienteering. The 18 points by the end of the first day speak for itselves, particularly given that were achieved in impressive time of just over one hour. The athlete would again be identical provision in the decisive day, finishing in 34th place with a total of 34 points. Portugal also had the opportunity to have a presence in the team competition, finishing in 14th place with a total of 42 points and leaving behind only Hungary with 39 points.

TempO of our discontent

The final day of competition was voted the "timed" variant designated TempO, a kind of "PreO Sprint" and consecrated its first World Champions ever. With the competition restricted to three athletes per country and Alexandre Reis racing "out", was under Joaquim Margarido and Ricardo Pinto that fell the responsibility of representing Portugal in this particular competition. The Portuguese were unable to overcome the qualifying series, finishing on 48th and 52nd position, respectively. In a competitive model identical to the World TempO Trophy 2012 (eight seasons with three problems each), Ricardo Pinto finished with a score of 763.5 sec (8 correct answers). Despite having hit two more problems than his teammate, Joaquim Margarido failed to do better than 898.5 seconds since he was too slow making the decisions.

Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic shared between them the gold. Finland finally take advantage in the final accounts, with Jari Turto winning the PreO competition and Pinja Mäkinen getting better in TempO. The Czech Jana Kostova was the winner of the PreO competition in Paralympic Class, while Sweden (Martin Fredholm, Stig Gerdtman and Michael Johansson) snatched the gold in the team competition. Croatia and Denmark also reached the medals, in the first case thanks to silver in the team competition and in the second case the mercy of the bronze won both individual (Søren Saxtorph, Paralympic Class), and collectively.

Joaquim Margarido

Friday, July 05, 2013

Florian Schneider: "It will takes some time to understand what really happened..."

I would like to describe the feeling of being World Champion, but I can't really do it...” 
What a wonderful way to express the emotion of being on the highest place of the podium. After the silver medal on Long Distance last Monday, Florian Schneider was today even happier.

After the silver medal last Monday, Florian Schneider said to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog that “it's tricky to refocus on the next races but I think I'm nervous enough thaz I can fight for some other good places...” Today, we could realize quite well what he meant by those words. But let him to explain: “After my silver medal I had some problems to focus on Middle Distance. Then, after my mistake to the first control, I was really unhappy and I would like to run just a normal race. 
So I told my coach that I will be very happy with a top 10-place...” That's why he planned to start a little bit slowly and then... “run faster and faster when I feel better.”

How was the race? “Before the start I was really nervous and I had the feeling that my legs weren't that fast today - so my coach told me to do some short intervalls - MAYBE the best thing he ever told...
I guess my big + was that I had the energy in the end when you have to run uphill on the stairs... So, there I won a lot of time and, I guess, also the competition!”

I did it!”

Asking Florian if there was a secret to his victory, the answer was immediate: “My little secret is now: You don't have to win for winning a medal - it's more important to do your job and then wait! 
So, I mean, my goal wasn't to win today, it was to do my job. And I did it! It's so crazy for me... I'm really happy with my race and also with the result, of course!”

The words can't hide the excitement: “It's so crazy when your dream comes true... And the feeling on the top of the podium was unspeakable. I was like: Oh my good, I'm a world champion now - not only the one who got a medal (although this is also very crazy)... And I enjoyed a lot that Christoph Meier, from Swiss team, was also there (5th place) together with me!”
A few last words: “I think it will takes some time to understand what really happened... and, until then, I hope that I can do my normal job tomorrow, in Relay, and then... we will see.”

Joaquim Margarido

Heidi Mårtensson: "A very special day for me!"

Run, run, run... with a quite high speed, and there you are the receipt of a World Champion. Was in this way that Heidi Mårtensson arrived to the Junior World Sprint title, today, in Hradec Králové.

The race was not perfect, but good!”. Heidi's first words talks about “a few seconds lost in the start, but after that I followed my plan and ran with a quite high speed.” To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, the athlete confesses that everything could be lost “at the second last post, wher I lost many seconds. I got very confused and nervous because I was so close to the finish. Hopefully I pulled my self together, and could cross the finish line in the lead.”

Then, moments of irrepressible anxiety: “I knew that Lisa Risby would be strong, and I was very nervous while I was waiting for her to come.” But Lisa was disqualified and... “When I knew I was the gold champion, I almost couldn't believe it. It is so huge... A very special day for me!”

And a final look to the JWOC: “I didn't get a very good start at the JWOC, so, of course, it feels great to do something so big and show Norway that it was worth it to let me compete in JWOC :) I really look forward to run the first leg tomorrow for Norway's second team. We'll see if I will get the chance to be on the podium again. I will do my best.”

[Photo: Heidi Mårtensson]

Joaquim Margarido

JWOC 2013: Florian Schneider and Heidi Mårtensson sprint to the victory

Florian Schneider and Heidi Mårtensson were major figures today at JWOC 2013, by taking the titles of Sprint in their respective class. Dominating the two previous finals, Sweden stay out the medals.

With a time of 14:35 for 2.400 meters of distance, the Swiss Florian Schneider was crowned Junior World champion today in Sprint distance. The race took place in the historic centre of Hradec Králové, the city that hosts the event until tomorrow, and saw classified in second position, just 4 seconds behind the winner, the Czech Michal Hubáček, while the third place went to New Zealander Tim Robertson, 12 seconds after Schneider. Florian Schneider reaches thus its second medal in these Championships, having achieved the second place in the final of Long Distance last Monday. A title particularly tasty for the Swiss team, reissuing four years after the victory of the current leader of the IOF's World Ranking, Matthias Kyburz.

In the women's sector, it was with some surprise that witnessed the victory of Norwegian Heidi Mårtensson, especially after the faltering entry on this JWOC (45th place in the Long Distance and a B final in the Middle Distance, where she would be disqualified). But today was definitely her day and the 14:33 to complete the 2.100 meters of the course speaks for itself. Only 12 seconds away, the Danish Nikoline Friberg Klysner was second, while the third position went to Anastasia Denisova, 15 seconds then the winner. Denisova reaching by her own right, a place in the history of JWOC, offering to Belarus its first medal ever in JWOC. Lisa Risby, the Swedish athlete that was giving the note of sensation in the first half part of this JWOC, with a gold medal and one silver medal won so far, was disqualified.

A note to the three Portuguese presents, with quite identical results achieved, in either case in the first half of the table. Rafael Miguel was the 75th overall with a time of 16:40, Vera Alvarez finished in 67th place with a record of 17:01 and Rita Rodrigues held the immediately position with 4 seconds more than her compatriot. A word on the 22th place of Spanish Eduardo Gil Marcos, 59 seconds then the winner.

Tomorrow the JWOC ends with the Relay race. Everything to follow in

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

JWOC 2013: Nordic dominance on the Middle Distance finals

Repeating the successful opening stage of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2013, Sweden showed again its winner vein in the Middle Distance race today. Returning to Radvanice, the Swedish team occupied the entire male podium and also won the silver medal in the women's class. Emil Svensk and Miri Thrane Ødum are the big winners of the day, but there is one name that stands above the others, with half of the titles disputed: Lisa Risby.

After the title of Long Distance achieved last Monday, Lisa Risby (Sweden) was again a prominent figure today, finishing the Middle Distance course in second place with a time of 25:36 for a distance of 3.000 meters. The athlete had a particularly bad entrance on a particularly rough and stony map, losing about two minutes in controls 2 and 4 (at that time she was ranked 54th), but did not turn to face the fight and showed a truly fantastic shape that allowed her to reach the silver medal. The winner was the talented Danish Miri Thrane Ødum, with a record of 25:05, while the third place belonged to the Norwegian Mathilde Rundhaug, with over 40 seconds more than the winner. Isia Basset (France) and Lucy Butt (Great Britain), who showed yesterday by winning their respective qualifying series, were not beyond the 5th and 19th place, respectively. The Spanish Marina Garcia Castro closed the range of 57 athletes classified at 23:04 of winning.

In the male sector, the highlights lied in the three Swedish athletes that took the podium. An explosion of joy around a feat that only in 2000 (Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic) was recorded also in the Middle Distance, at the time when the Czechs Michal Smola, Zbynek Hora and Jaromír Svihovsky achieved, by this order, equal desideratum. This time, Emil Svensk was the fastest, completing his course of 3600 meter in 24:32, beating his team mates Anton Johansson and Jens Wängdahl by tight margins of one second and nine seconds respectively. Sindre Rønning (Norway), Rudolfs Zernis (Latvia) and Thor Nørskov (Denmark), winners of the qualifying series of yesterday, concluded in 8th, 18th and 29th place, respectively. Piotr Parfianowicz, with a gold medal in the final of Long Distance last Monday, wasn't beyond the 52 th place, while the Spanish Pedro Ruiz Morales and Eduardo Gil Marcos finished in 46th and 55th places, respectively. The Portuguese Rafael Miguel was the 57th overall, with a record of 34:30.

Tomorrow is a rest day, returning the big decisions on next Friday with the final sprint. Everything to follow in

[Photos by Petr Kadeřávek /]

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

JWOC 2013: Impressions

At the end of another competition day, the Portuguese Orienteering Blog recovers Sara Hagström's words about her silver medal on yesterday's Long Distance and shares the opinions of Lucy Butt, Thor Nørskov and Sindre Rønning, winners on the Middle Distance qualification today.

Sara Hagström (Sweden): “I'm pretty confused but extremely happy! A medal was my goal for this week, so it feels so good right now, and to have double Sweden at the podium was extra fun! 
My race was very tough, my legs weren't really answering uphill, but it went good technical with the orienteering. I followed my plan and it turned out very well!”

Sindre Rønning (Norway): “It was quite good. I lost about 45 seconds but I had a nice flow. I knew that it would be enough to qualify, so I didn't push hard. We will wait and see. Tomorrow it's a new competition with new opportunities, but I won't speculate.”

Thor Nørskov (Denmark): “First of all, my performance yesterday on the Long Distance wasn't that good. I had some kind of an off-day, if you could say so. The technical part of my race just wasn't as I wanted to. Therefore my main goal for the qualification today, was to do a solid performance, both technical and physical, and a high-5 from the coach in the Finish (we give a high-5 if we think our performance was good or we get a hug, if it wasn't good). I started out really good and did good until the 7th control. I lost maybe 15-20 seconds because my plan wasn't good enough. Also on the 9th control I did kind of the same mistake. To the 12th control I was really stressed when I came down to a path which I were supposed to just follow, and lost some time being confused of where I hit it.
The last controls were fine too. I got the high-5 as I wanted to, and I'm quite happy with my performance today. I took the time to be sure in my planning and it paid off.
Tomorrow I have the exact same goal; to get a high-5 after my race. But, about the result, the others will decide whether such a performance will be a gold medal or a 15th place.”

Lucy Butt (Great Britain): “My race was technically perfect. I didn't make any mistakes, so I'm really happy with it! Thought I was racing a bit slow (as I was so tired from yesterday) but I think it actually helped me so I didn't run too fast! I would absolutely love to win [tomorrow] but I am trying hard to focus on having another technically perfect race and hoping that will be enough.”

Joaquim Margarido

JWOC 2013: Middle Distance Qualification without surprises

The sixty male and female athletes that will dispute tomorrow the Middle Distance's A final of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2013 are found. A set of tightly contested races, where Rafael Miguel was the only Portuguese athlete to stamp the passport to the most desired final, thanks to the 19th place achieved at the M20A series.

With the qualifying series of Middle Distance, came to an end the second day of competition of this JWOC 2013. One day of great joy to some and frustration for others, the first to meet the A final, the others having to settle for the “solace” finals. The Radvanice map proved to be very technical, requiring to the athletes to run in half-slope, which would eventually be fatal for many present in these World Championships. Is in this case the Russian Andrey Kozyrev, bronze medal at Long Distance yesterday and today not beyond the 21th position in the M20C series. Are in this case, also, the Portuguese Vera Alvarez and Rita Rodrigues, respectively 23th in the W20A series with the time of 28:14 (1:15 for the final A) and 37th in the W20B serie with a score of 33:47 (at distant 6:02 to the A final).

As for the male series, note by the fact that they qualify 60 athletes from 26 countries for the A final, including some unusual names, as in the case of South Africa's Bradley Lund, the Israeli Yasur Nitsan or Moldovan Ivan Fomiciov. Portugal is also in this special list, whose domain belongs to Finnish (6 athletes), Czechs, Swiss and Swedish (five athletes each), thanks to the 19th place achieved by Rafael Miguel. Despite the physical break at the end of his race, the Portuguese athlete gave a good account of himself, and with the time of 25:15, achieved his primary goal, which was getting to the A final. The Latvian Rudolfs Zernis was the winner of this series with a time of 21:54, while the remaining two series had in Huber Sindre Rønning (Norway) and Thor Nørskov (Denmark) the big winners, with scores of 21:28 and 21:12, respectively. The Australian Brodie Nankervis fits the “mischance prize”, away of the A final by one little second.

Lisa Risby, Isia Basset and Lucy Butt, winners of the women series

In the women's sector, the Swedish Lisa Risby was again one of the major figures of these qualifiers winning the second series with a time of 22:32. After being one of the great protagonists of yesterday's race, the French Isia Basset returned to be in excellent plan, leading the first series with a time of 21:48. The third series, had in the British Lucy Butt the big winner with a record of 21:40. The 60 athletes qualified to the A final represent 21 countries, highlighting Czech Republic (6 athletes), Sweden and Finland (5 athletes each). A special word to the Spanish Marina Garcia Castro, winning a presence by her own right in the A final thanks to the excellent 13th place in the second series. Here the prize goes to the unlucky French Emilie Backscheider, ranked 21th in third series at two seconds of qualifying.

Tomorrow is the final of Middle Distance, in which the French Delphine Poirot and Remi Baudot will be the first starting, at 11:30 and 13:45, respectively. Rafael Miguel will leave at 13:55, one hour less in Portugal. Everything to follow at

[Photo by Petr Kadeřávek /]

Joaquim Margarido

Oleksandr Kratov: IOF's Athlete of the Month

Oleksandr Kratov is aiming to get a medal at the upcoming World Orienteering Championships in Finland. Still, he says his only “talent” is his passion for orienteering. Read in Athlete of the Month the achievements the talent has given him so far, and why it has taken him to Sweden!

Name: Oleksandr Kratov
Country: Ukraine
Discipline: Foot Orienteering
Career highlights: Number four at EOC middle distance 2012, number five middle distance WOC 2010.
IOF World Ranking position: 22nd

The Ukrainian foot orienteer Oleksandr Kratov has been among the best in the world for a little while now, but he hasn’t yet won a medal at the highest level. Now he is making really good preparations to try to win one.

Kratov will take part in the Sprint, Middle and probably also the Relay at the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) in Vuokatti, Finland in the middle of July. In the Middle distance WOC race in Trondheim three years ago he was fifth, and at EOC in Sweden last year he was fourth. The last one is what he regards as his best achievement so far. “I had quite rough preparation before that competition, but I managed to gather myself and do my best with the fitness level I had at that moment”, he says.

Living in Sweden

The Ukraine star has been living in Sweden for part of the time for some years, and permanently for the last three years. He and his girl friend Nadiya Vodlynska started to run for the Swedish club Orion five years ago. “It was a moment when all the support I had was gone, and it looked like I had to stop. But I desperately wanted to continue with the sport and I decided to try and find some club in Scandinavia, because in Ukraine there wasn’t a chance to go on. We were lucky when we got in touch with Orion. The club gave us good support and in time helped us to move to Sweden”, he tells.

Besides orienteering training he works for the club on a 70 % basis. “There are days when I’m quite busy, but most of the time I’m very flexible and can combine the job and training very well”.

Good in technique

Oleksandr started orienteering when he was 12 years old. In the years up to college he was doing a lot of orienteering training and he has continued at the same level ever since. “Maybe that is why I was so interested in this. I was always hungry to do it”, he says.

- When did you realise that you have so much talent?

I don’t think I have any special talent. No, I’m not hopeless, I have always found it quite easy to cope with any kind of sport, but I have never been outstanding. The only “talent” I have is my passion for orienteering”.

How often are you training orienteering technique now?

Difficult to say, I don’t really count it. But I think it’s about 7-8 hours of technique per week on average. It may vary from 3-4 hours of orienteering during an easy week up to 19 hours during my toughest week past winter. So I guess that I do about 400 hours of orienteering training during a year”. His technique is his strongest side.

In what kinds of ways are you still improving?

Right now, at the moment, I don’t feel that I have got any better since the springtime. The only thing I think I have improved in is my understanding of why I’m doing this!”

Goals for Finland

What’s your target for WOC in Finland?

I have been quite close to the medals during the past few years, so it would be nice to get one finally. But the main goal is to enjoy every minute of participation in this great event”.

His girl friend Nadiya Volynska has the same programme at WOC as Oleksandr has.
We will see who will get the best results”. She is 48th in the IOF World Rankings.

Oleksandr was in Finland for one week last year, but got injured and couldn’t train properly, but this time he is there for a camp that lasts for the last three weeks before the WOC. “It looks as though this time we will have proper preparation”, he says.

How are you looking at existing maps and so on?

Of course I have checked every available source of information, but I wouldn’t say that I put too much time into this. I’m just trying to get an idea of how the competition terrain could look like and then it is just about training in as relevant an environment as possible”.

Colombia in August

In the last part of the summer both he and his girl friend will take part in The World Games. He hasn’t been thinking much about that so far. “I have checked the old map, but I just take one thing at a time. Now it is all about WOC; after that I will think about the next competition”.

Are you looking forward to the races in Colombia?

Yes, I’m really looking forward to going! I think it will be very special, of course not in the way of super challenging terrain, but in all other ways it is going to be a very remarkable competition”.

What’s your goal there?

It is going to be a lot of just running which is not my strongest side at the moment. But it is just a bigger challenge for me and I really like challenges. And the goal is the same as usual – to run two races as close to perfect as possible”.

The longer-term future

What’s the big goal in the future?

Gold? Yes, of course! But when I say it like this I don’t really feel it, it is more like a stamp, because it is kind of normal to say so for an elite runner. No, of course it is my goal to be the best in the world and stuff like that. But what I’m trying to say here is that a memory of an error-free, or close to it, run in some challenging terrain at my top speed is much brighter and emotional than a recall of some prize-giving ceremony. So my big goal is to have a perfect race. It is impossible to achieve, but so great to aspire to”.

- How long time do you think about going on with orienteering at such a high level?

As long as my body will allow me to go on with it. Of course anything can happen, but it feels like I am still far from my limits and I intend to discover how far I can get. We will see”.

Minna Kauppi, the Athlete of June, has this question to Oleksandr: – What other things apart from orienteering and competitions are you expecting or would like to experience in Finland during the World Championships?

Apart from the Championships I’m looking forward to a lot of swimming and fishing!”

And the question from Oleksandr to Cecilia Thomasson, next month’s Athlete of the Month is:

Do you orienteer on foot as well as on mountain bike, or is it not good to combine the two?”

Text: Erik Borg

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

Monday, July 01, 2013

JWOC 2013: Parfianowicz and Schneider say what they feel

Portuguese Orienteering Blog has just received the statements of two of the greatest protagonists of today's JWOC journey and can not resist sharing it with the readers. Let us see what Piotr Parfianowicz and Florian Schneider, gold and silver medallists, have to tell us.

Piotr Parfianowicz (Poland): It's amaizing, I can't believe but it's true. It was a really good race, I made some mistakes, I think maybe two minutes. I knew that this terrain suits me well and I was quite well prepared so my goal was top 6 but not for sure the gold medal. I felt good, everything was almost perfect during the race. I had injury before JWOC, I broke my toe and I couldn't training for more than three weeks, but that is not important now. I'm World Champion and that's important!

Florian Schneider (Switzerland): I'm really happy with my race and my medal. I made a mistake for more than one minute to the 10th control but I don't think I lost the gold medal there - even if I thought that Long Distance isn't my best discipline I'm really happy with my medal. I never thought I could won a medal in Long Distance - although my goal was to get the top 6...
It's tricky to refocus on the next races but I think I'm nervous enough that I can fight for some other good places...
I don't think I can do it again and win a medal like today but I will give my very best... 
It's a great day for me and I hope the week will continue for the whole team like this (4-5 swiss boys on top 20 (21) is just crazy!!

[Photo: Marek Wołowczyk / UNTS Warszawa]

Joaquim Margarido

JWOC 2013: Parfianowicz and Risby start with the right foot

With the victories of Piotr Parfianowicz and Lisa Risby is closed the first day of the JWOC 2013, event that, throughout the week, will attract the attention of the orienteering international community. A first clash that saw also Rafael Miguel finish the race in the first half of the table.

The Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2013 started today in Odolov with the Long Distance race. A test with a distance of 7.1 km for female class and 9.9 km for male class, tremendously hilly and a high quality test, both of technical and physical capabilities of the 316 athletes lined up at start.

The Polish Piotr Parfianowicz was the big winner of the men's competition, dominating from start to finish and fulfilling his course in 1:09:21. A particularly tasty victory, 19 years after Robert Banach, "playing at home" in the Gdynia's World Champs, have also reached the gold medal in the Long Distance race. Parfianowicz took his second victory in a JWOC race, after the triumph in 2011 (Rumia-Wehjerowo, Poland), in the Relay, alongside Rafal Podzinski and Michal Olejnik.

After a season marked by injuries, the Swiss Florian Schneider took the second position with a time of 1:10:37, while the third place fell to Russian Andrey Kozyrev, who spent more 2:23 than the winner. Looking to the classification, we can realize in fourth the Norwegian Borger Melsom with more 2:32 than Parfianowicz (Norway reached the gold in Long Distance in the previous two editions of JWOC). The first Czech athlete was Michal Hubacek in 11th place with a score of 1:14:28 and the first non-European was the New Zealander Nick Hann, who fulfilled his race in 14th place with a time of 1:15:04. Rafael Miguel (Portugal) concludes in 81 th place with a time of 1:25:34, almost closing the first half of the table which included a total of 169 athletes.

Tight victory for Risby

In the women's class, Sweden was a great emphasis on reaching the top two positions by Lisa Risby and Sara Hagström, respectively. Despite the six silver medals and four bronze won by the nordic country at the Long Distance race in the previous 23 editions, just once Sweden had reached the gold. It was in 2008 (Göteborg, Sweden), when Jenny Lönnkvist won against his compatriot Beata Falk. Now Lisa Risby and Sara Hagström reach the same feat, the first with a time of 1:00:42, against 1:01:29 to the second place.

The triumph of Lisa Risby was valued by the struggle not just with Sara Hagström, athlete who followed in the lead of the race with half fulfilled, but also with other great athletes, including the French Isia Basset - who commanded the race very close to the end but eventually fall to fourth place with a time of 1:02:15 - and Russia's Ekaterina Savkina, that takedown for third at 54 seconds of winning. Katerina Chroma, in 7th place with a time of 1:04:48, was the best Czech athlete, while the Portuguese Vera Alvarez and Rita Rodrigues have not completed their courses. 147 athletes participated in this class.

Tomorrow is a day Middle Distance Qualification. The event will be held in Radvanice, near the border with Poland and the organization promises very demanding technically races. Athletes will be divided by three series in each category, with Rafael Miguel on the second serie starting at 13:34 (plus an hour than in Portugal), Rita Rodrigues start in the first serie at 12:45 and Vera Alvarez also running in the first serie, starting at 13:25. Everything to follow in

Joaquim Margarido