quinta-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2011


Almost at the end of the year, Alicia Cobo Caballero is our today's interviewed at Orientovar. Spain is the starting point of a long talk that also reaches Portugal and Finland. A testimony that shows her great passion for Orienteering and where the big hit is called Vuokatti 2013.

Orientovar - Your season was made by injuries and the results didn’t happen as you expected. Personally, was this a season to remember or to forget?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - I think one part to remember and another one to forget. It's true that the injuries this past year haven't let me train as I wanted; several ankle injuries (I was running without protection) have slowed me down a lot this season. My results weren't good, especially in WOC 2011 France, where in the Sprint qualification and in the first control (long control, in the forest climbing) I made a mistake in the route choice, I tried to run faster to the other controls but I only obtained more mistakes; this terrible mistake in the first control was as an overweight in the whole race.

However I think that in Orienteering, part of the learning process is on these mistakes and you have to take them in this way, analyze them and learn from them, take out the positive aspects and move on. It would be great to run the final but I think finaly these mistakes will make myself to improve much more.

It's really important to promote Orienteering in a better way

Orientovar - When we talk about female Orienteering in Spain, we remember Annabel Fernandez, Anna Serralonga and Esther Gil at the Long Distance Final in WOC 2011, Ona Rafóls at the Sprint Final or the 13th place in the Relay, but also the podiums of Carmen Patiño Deniz or Sofia Berenguer at the ISF Scholar Championships. How do you see this results and what can be the future of Spanish Orienteering?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - Of course, Orienteering in Spain is reaching a high international level. The great results in long final that Annabel, Anna and Esther got, evince this. From here, sincere congratulations to them, besides being fantastic athletes, they are great mates. About young women, like Carmen or Marina García, it shows how much talent there is, but the work must keep going, because I think there's a problem in relation to Spanish young female orienteers, there are no girls who want to practice Orienteering. Perhaps if Orienteering was promoted in schools such as some clubs do, Navalcán-O (who is doing important work in schools) or Halcón-O, it would be easier for the girls to get started into this sport.

It's really important to promote Orienteering in a better way. For example, until three years ago I had no idea that there was a sport called Orienteering, even if I had run all my life and had gone to the forest since I was a child; this proves, if we can see it in this way, how little Orienteering is known in Spain. This doesn't detract the work done by FEDO, thanks to the people who work there as Marta Armisén and Jesús de Miguel, I have known this sport and got excited about it, but I think this promotion is urgently needed.

About men, we have the WOC 2011 example, where Antonio Martinez, who's really young, got to be qualified into the Sprint final. Roger Casal is another example in Spanish male Orienteering, he couldn't be in France this year, but I'm sure he would have done a great role, he was completely adapted to those terrains as he demonstrated in our pre-selection races, and the truth is that it was a pity he finally couldn't run; also, and talking about young people, we have the example of Andreu Blanes who got the silver medal in JWOC 2011's Sprint and who, along with Antonio Martínez and Marc Serrallonga, got a fantastic 4th place in Relay. From here my congratulations to all and also to the Portuguese Selection Team, who took part this year in France.

Fair play

Orientovar - In the past years we could see some changes made by IOF. Now, we are facing a new program for World Orienteering Championships. Do you agree with the proposals?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - Well, I've only been doing Orienteering from three years now, so I haven't seen many changes, and I think my opinion is not an experienced voice here. But in regard to the WOC issue and the changes that we face now, I have to say several things, from humility of course, the first is that changes are always good if the goal is to diversify and make the sport more attractive. In this purport, I think the proposal of the IOF about having a mixed Sprint Relay is great, I think the city is always a really important place to promote this sport and make it a spectacle, but the Long Distance's new format, based on the ranking of the three previous years, removes many possibilities to the countries in which Orienteering is a young sport, such as the case of Spain maybe, to have only a runner in WOC is something not clear for me yet.

Regardless of this, I would like to take the chance you've given me, to say that what IOF should do, is to ensure that the International Foot Orienteering Competition Rules are obeyed. This year, in France, we could live a regrettable episode in Sprint qualifying, where they weren't applied. Notwithstanding that many orienteers had broken the rules and judges had taken note of it, they weren't disqualified. I think all fault didn't come from WOC's organization but also from the countries which didn't claim that these rules were enforced, presumably because their possibilities in the final had been less. The changes and new proposals to improve this sport are always good, but first thing is that the rules should be reinforced and to make all orienteers run under the same conditions. I wish this will not happen again and the fair play's practice will prevail in Orienteering sport.

A nice way of bringing women and their families into this wonderful sport

Orientovar – What are the biggest challenges to Spanish Orienteering at the present moment?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - The Spanish Federation carries out many projects to bring Orienteering to places where it's not yet known or it's just beginning to get known. The case of Jose Samper, who recently received the Medal of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit, with his work in Mozambique, teaching Orienteering and making new maps, Pedro Pasión in Cabo Verde or José Angel Nieto Poblete in South America. Another project that is promoted from FEDO and with the active participation of Marta Armisen, Esther Gil, Roger Casal and Jesús de Miguel, is the Woman's Camp which have already three editions and tries to bring the sport to women, it's a nice way of bringing women and their families into this wonderful sport, but the Camp is not only intended to women who don't know it, but to those high level orienteers who want to improve their O-technique. Trainings in different levels and terrains, meetings with Elite orienteers… all this makes this Camp really attractive to everyone.

Orientovar – During WTOC 2011, you have an interested participation at the Temp-O race. Can you relate your experience and in which way Trail Orienteering can be a good opportunity for everyone?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - Yes, it was really interesting to try Temp-O, it was very exciting for me, and certainly it's not an easy discipline, as it might seem a priori; I did it as a training and the truth is I really enjoyed it. I think it's important to open the range of possibilities in terms of Orienteering, and also make available that people, who go in wheelchairs or can't run for some reason, could participate in Orienteering events. Of course, I predict a great future for this modality which is still in its infancy. I think Portugal has a Trail-O circuit; it's fantastic, I think it will gradually get more acceptance and popularity.

I can go to buy bread practically doing Orienteering

Orientovar – You are in Finland at the moment, last October and November you made some Foot-O races but now is Ski-O time. How is this experience going? Will we see you in Valle de Pineta, being the first winner of a Ski Orienteering trophy organized in Spain?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - Yes, I came here to train in these terrains thinking in WOC 2013 which is going to be in Vuokatti, really close where I'm living now. I'm training with the SK-Pohjantähti of Oulu. I'm really happy I came; undoubtedly this is one of the most wonderful experiences for me, both in Orienteering and in personal life. One of the O-techniques I have been training is the work with compass. Without a compass here you are almost lost, and it was certainly something I needed to improve. When I arrived here first time, it was really hard for me to run through the swamps and in this type of forest, the terrain is completely different to Spain, but little by little I have been adapting myself. I've been running in some competitions with the club, and I have to say that it's an experience from that I'm learning a lot. I have good team mates who I train with and who are teaching me a lot. Also, this year I participated with SK-Pohjantähti in 25-Manna (Sweden), where our club got a great position, and I also have been doing many Night-O races even some of them with ice and snow, fantastic.

To train here is wonderful, from my home I can go to buy bread practically doing Orienteering. There are maps everywhere, both urban and forest maps; if there's any orienteer who didn't come to Finland yet he or she should come, but not only because of the terrains, Finland is a wonderful and beautiful country to know. In this time the Foot-O season ends and begins Ski-O season. I'm not here specifically to train this, in fact I've never practiced it, here it will be the first time, but I can assure to you I will have the best teachers. So about to win in Valle de Pineta, I think it is still far away, my attention is still focused in Foot-O.

Orientovar this year reaches one million visitors

Orientovar – What do you expect for the next season? Are we going to see you again in Portugal, like we did in Gouveia Meeting or at the Portugal O’ Meeting this year?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - I hope to see you in Portugal this year, you know that I love running in your country, for me it's always fantastic to go there, not only for the terrains you have which I've been discovering, but for the hospitality, weather, food... all this always makes the trips to Portugal magical and I always have time for it. I hope to go to Portugal to run of course, Gouveia Meeting and POM 2011 were two fantastic races, great terrains, level and courses. This year I would like to go to POM 2012, also to the Portuguese Championships in Terras do Bouro and run in some street circuits such as in Porto or Évora, but this year I have a very complicated schedule, maybe you can recommend me some more. I don't know if I will spend the spring training here in Finland, so my planning depends on this. My short term goals are Spanish Championship, and WOC 2012, I would like to run Long Distance and Sprint in Switzerland, at least the Sprint. This year I have to travel to Spain to run in some National League events, but of course, my most important goal is WOC 2013 (Vuokatti), that’s why I came here.

Orientovar – Now, that the year is ending, would you like to make a wish for 2012?

Alicia Cobo Caballero - I hope everybody will be happy, practice a lot of Orienteering and Orientovar this year reaches one million visitors.



1 comentário:

Alicia Cobo disse...

Thanks for this nice interview with Joaquim, and let me say what I think about it, do not know where you get time to do what you do, but it is clear that the orientation Portuguese would not be the same without Orientovar, so I hope you continue many years with this beautiful project.