quarta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2011


Finnish orienteer, Riina Kuuselo is our guest today. Living now at Solihull, in England, Riina seems to be fully focused in Orienteering at the moment. At the age of 31, her goals are clearly well-marked. She wants to make her dreams come true!

Orientovar - The first question is always the easiest to answer. Who is Riina Kuuselo?

Riina Kuuselo - I'm a Finnish elite orienteer who has competed at the international level since 2004. I have a world cup relay victory, two victories at Jukola and several Finnish Championship medals. I have also a PhD in cancer genetics. In other words I've been doing research the whole time while I've been competing in orienteering.

Orientovar - By coincidence, I met Orienteering for the very first time in 2007, at Norte Alentejano O' Meeting, an event where you were the winner. I will never forget those days and what I felt for this magnificent sport. And you? Do you remember your debut in Orienteering? And a couple of years later, what memories do you keep from staying in Nisa and your victory?

Riina Kuuselo - I remember that event from 2007 very well. It was a wonderful event and I had such a great time there! It was technical and nice orienteering and very well organized. We also took part to the grill evening after the competitions and it was terrific. I have very good memories from Nisa.

I'm back on track and able to train again

Orientovar - We could see you in Portugal, last March, at the Portugal O' Meeting. It's interesting to know that, between NAOM 2007 and POM 2011, we have – at least - one thing in common: the organization, from Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos. Can you compare these two events? Did you see some kind of evolution between them? (In general, what do you think about portuguese Orienteering?)

Riina Kuuselo - I think both events were very well organized and the courses were great both times. Terrains were quite similar, so I knew this time what to expect (but orienteered still less well). I liked both events a lot. Compared to 2007 the biggest evolution was maybe in the participant list. This year there were more top orienteers participating than last time. Maybe Portugal O'Meeting is generally better known than NAOM or it was just coincidence that several national teams were taking part this year. I think Portuguese orienteering is very good. I have enjoyed all events and trainings that I've ran in Portugal and have no complaints. Good organization, good maps and great courses.

Orientovar - Tell us a little bit about your season. What was your biggest joy? And what about your worst experience?

Riina Kuuselo - This was a really bad season for me and there is not much to tell about. The greatest moments were the big Nordic club relays, Tiomila in Sweden and Jukola in Finland, where we did excellent job as a team. We took our first victory in Tiomila and second place in Jukola. I ran well in both of these relays but individually I couldn't compete at my usual level because I got over-trained. My best result was 3rd place at JK, the biggest orienteering event in the UK (where I live at the moment). This was early in the spring but after that I wasn't able to recover from the races or perform well. The worst experience was the long selection race in France in high altitude where I got so exhausted that I nearly couldn't finish the race. The best feeling I got months later (in the middle of October) after a longer rest when I recovered from the over-exhaustion. Now I'm back on track and able to train again :)

During the winter it is worthwhile to put some time and energy to things you want to improve

Orientovar - This time of the season is always a time of reflection. At one of the last posts in your blog, you said that “physical training is easy and technical training is fun but mental training is the hardest part.” Is it now the right moment to do mental training?

Riina Kuuselo - I think it's always important to reflect back the season and evaluate it thoroughly before starting training for the next season. To figure out what was good and where you can do better. During winter there is a longer break from important races and good time to all preparations, including mental preparation. When you start to work on things now, you have plenty of time to make them work before the next season. I think that during the winter it is worthwhile to put some time and energy to things you want to improve for the next season.

Orientovar - When and where will your season be prepared? What are your goals? Are we going to see you again in Portugal next year?

Riina Kuuselo - My biggest goals for 2012 are in World Champs in Lausanne. All my training is build towards that and I will try to do my best there. I live and train in the UK but I'm going now to Mexico for two weeks and then I to Finland for some cross-country skiing. I don't know yet if I'm going to Portugal next year but I will probably do training camps in Sweden and in Switzerland later in the spring. I will also travel to Finland to take part to selection races.

Able to train for my goals

Orientovar - Until when can we see you doing orienteering in a high level? And after that?

Riina Kuuselo - I am training at least towards WOC2013 in Vuokatti in Finland and then I will probably start to work again and have children. WOC2015 interests a little as it will be in Scotland but I don't know about it yet.

Orientovar - It's December, now. I would ask you to make a wish for the next year.

Riina Kuuselo - I wish I will stay well and be able to train for my goals.

[To know more about Riina Kuuselo, please see her blog at http://riinakuuselo.blogspot.com/]


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