sexta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2011


His way of being, his friendliness and his qualities of a great competitor don't let him pass by without being unnoticed. With his 5th place in the WOC 2011' s Sprint, Ionut Zinca definitely reached the top. In the end of a memorable season, Orientovar brings to you what he has to tell us.

OrientovarReaching the podium on a WOC is always something to remember in any athlete's career. What special emotion do you feel when you think of the 5th place of the WOC Sprint, last August, being there, everyone watching you, alongside with Daniel Hubmann, Anders Holmberg or Matthias Mueller?

Ionut Zinca – The truth is that, at the moment I crossed the finish line, I had the feeling that I had won. There was something telling me things would go really well, even before I started my race. I was at the quarentine with my girlfriend and I told her “Today is my day” and she told me to be focused. It looked like I really was the only one to believe in my chances of entering the Top 6. That day, all my anger, frustration and bad luck from all the qualifying races disappeared with only a 14 minutes one. It was important being there, with the world's best athletes, but I don't do Orienteering to compare myself with the others, I do it because it's my life, my “breath”. I practice and I run so that I can “breathe”.

Orientovar – Did the achieved fifth place correspond to a perfect race, or there aren't perfect races?

Ionut Zinca – When I crossed the finish line I knew I had done an almost perfect race and that, along with the last six months of hard-work, would be enough to reach the top 10. In the end, I couldn't hold my emotions. I had gone through tough days, with a Long Distance race to forget (due to the heat and also to problems with my stomach), a very strong blow to the Medium Distance race that almost left me out of the final round and, worst than that, my dad, on vacation in Romania, he had just had an accident and I didn't know almost at all how he was. So, from this point of view, it was really a perfect race but, analyzing it coldly, there are two aspects which deserve a serious repair. In the second half of the race, the rhythm fell too much and that made me lose the third place and a failure on the penultimate goal, due to a too broad approach that made me go through the tunnel, made me lose fifteen more seconds, and so, the fourth position.

In a very short period of time I'll leave Orienteering

Orientovar – They predict important changes on the figurine of the World Orienteering Championships. What is your position in relation to this case? Are you an epidemic conservative or a zealous supporter of the changes?

Ionut Zinca – In fact, all this situation is perfectly regardless for me. It passes me by, since I will never live to see any of the provided changes. In a very short period of time I'll leave Orienteering and I'll try to give my attention to my family. This way, when the changes are implemented, I'll be doing other things. About the changes setting in the horizon, it's like everything in life, the world jumps and moves forward. If other sports work well with this kind of figurines and we want Orienteering to be an Olympic sport in the future... Then let's all wake up to this new reality because the fact is that the actual formula isn't really working.

Orientovar – How do you evaluate the actual moment of Orienteering and, particularly, what's happening in Romania?

Ionut Zinca – This isn't an easy moment for this sport. Our dear Orienteering is conditioned by the crisis that's affecting all of us and, after all, Orienteering is a sport which's practice isn't cheap. From the organizations (maps, rental services, etc.) to the athletes (inscriptions taxes, traveling, lodging, food, etc.). The effects of the crisis are gradually taking place, the organizers make races in “bad” maps for economical reasons or subsidize the maps with interest for a determined place, the athletes choose more and more local races or they reorient their interests to mountain or road races, etc. About Orienteering in Romania... I don't want to enter more controversy but, unfortunately, little by little, Orienteering is dying in my country and the main responsible, the Federation, doesn't give a damn about it.

Portugal shows a really exceptional organizational quality

Orientovar – I know you keep on following very close what's going on in Portugal and Spain. What's your actual perception from Orienteering on the Iberian countries? Does Orienteering run in a different speed in each country?

Ionut Zinca – I run in Spain since 2003 and I guess the first time I competed in Portugal was in 2004, but it's quite noticeable that we're talking about the same sport that has distinct mentalities due to the way it is seen in each country. When I arrived in Spain, Spring races were of a high level and attracted a high number of the best foreign athletes that came to train and to compete. The truth is, bit by bit, the level of races and organizations stopped being that high and practically every foreign athletes left these competitions. On the other hand, Portugal shows a really exceptional organizational quality, so it attracts lots of foreign athletes and makes out of Portugal O'Meeting the most important European race of the Spring.

Orientovar – Mountain races have occupied even more your time and interests and you have already anticipated that Orienteering, for you, is reaching to an end. Is trail-runner-Ionut-Zinca about to take orienteer-Ionut-Zinca's place?

Ionut Zinca – I ran my first mountain race in 2003. It was 32 Km of racing and, when I finished it, I promised myself I would never commit such madness again. But life is one of the most beautiful and fascinating things that exists, it goes around... And two years later I was finishing a mountain race with some 67 kilometers. Well, summarizing, I love both sports, but most of all I love Orienteering. But if we attempt in what really matters in life (money and opportunities), in mountain races we can survive, making it from a professional point of view. Regarding the sponsors, in 2007, thanks to my good results on the mountain races, I had several sponsors guaranteed. The truth is that I ended up losing them in only one year and all that because I dedicated myself only to Orienteering.

It's time for IOF to wake up for a new reality

Orientovar – Mapping is an area that you're keen on and in which you're starting to develop some work. Do you want to tell us about the maps and how do you see the actual moment of cartography?

Ionut Zinca – In these last months of this year I'm trying to get some extra money from mapping. In the last two years I worked in France, in 2010 I made part of the maps for some races of the French League and this year I'm working on the maps to EYOC 2012. The terrain is really interesting, with several rocky details, with many relief variations and also many kinds of vegetation. I feel that what's going on with ISOM's rules is exactly the same that's happening with the kind of alignment of the World Championships, or in other words, it's time for IOF - Orienteering International Federation to wake up for a new reality, shake the dust off and put on new “clothes”. The truth is that, with the 60's/70's mentalities we are where we are. It's easy to understand that, you open OCAD, you draw a hole and then you draw a clean area of 250 m² (25 x 10 meters) and you see the result. You have to change a big number of symbols and, besides that, add some new ones. Currently I work with OCAD and I try to respect the most ISSOM's rules.

Orientovar - What are your goals for the next season? Is Portugal O'Meeting going to keep on being a required crossing point on it's preparation?

Ionut Zinca - My goals for a near future... Well, I'm hoping to solve some financial problems, but earning less than 300 euros per month it's not easy to establish goals. My intention is to take place between the Top 3 in the European Mountain Running Championship (Denizli, Turkey, a system up-/downhill race) and then try to do my best on the Long Distance race at WOC 2012 (Lausanne, Switzerland). About Portugal O'Meeting... Well, I don't know if I'll miss it for the first time. Now I live with my girlfriend, both of us are athletes and both of us do Orienteering. Until April, when mountain races will restart, money does not abound and the spendings are much. Besides that, we're planning to get married next year and, of course, spendings will increase! Hehehe! But well... I hope to show up!

Translated from the original [HERE] by Ana Macedo.

Orientistic Greetings.


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