sexta-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2011



Towards the end of the winter preparation, the 1st Meeting de Orientação de Gouveia (5-6 February) represented a first opportunity for Word’s elites to gather to Portugal and compare their shape. A first opportunity for us to collect the impressions of the most expected orienteer of the year 2011, Frenchman Thierry Gueorgiou.

Ultimate Orienteering – How nice to meet you again in Portugal, under this bright sun and in a great orienteering region. Can you tell us more about it?

Thierry Gueorgiou – Yes indeed, it is the first time that I come in this region of Portugal and I was again surprised by the quality of the terrains. I came in 2007 to the Portugal O’Meeting in S. Pedro do Sul, not that far away from here. Yesterday and even today were really great. The region is located in altitude, so that is nice. We went yesterday up to Penhas Douradas, Portugal’s summit, and I was surprised to find terrains of such good quality.

Ultimate Orienteering – It this pre-season very important for your preparation?

Thierry Gueorgiou – Yes, for it is in winter that you win the upcoming summer medals. So now is the right moment to drive large amounts of kilometers and to do a lot of orienteering. We have been in Portugal for one week now for a training camp. It is the second time I come here this winter and I will probably come again with my Finnish club for the Portugal O’Meeting, so I’m really traveling often to Portugal.

You have the chance to get many different types of terrains

Ultimate Orienteering – What were the differences between yesterday’s and today’s race?

Thierry Gueorgiou – The terrain was very detailed in yesterday’s race, which makes it particularly difficult to map. Nevertheless, I think that yesterday’s map was very good. There were maybe a bit too much details, as even small stones were mapped; but it doesn’t disturb me, as long as there is a relative homogeneity in the map, implying for example that a small stone mapped here will be of a similar size than a small stone mapped 150m away. This is indeed what counts. Additionnally, the scale was well chosen, albeit I know some have other opinions on the question. As long as the map is good, it doesn’t bother me to run on a 1:10 000 or 1:15 000 scale.

Ultimate Orienteering – You mentioned this “philosophy”… To be confronted to many kinds of cartography is important on the way to a World Champion title, isn’t it?

Thierry Gueorgiou – Yes, of course. Our sport is based on it, as the terrains are different each time. In order to reach good performances, one needs to be flexible and to have a lot of experience. I traveled a lot and already only in Portugal, you have the chance to get many different types of terrains.

The Relay is indeed one of my biggest goals for 2011

Ultimate Orienteering – Let’s talk a bit about the upcoming World Championships, which will be held in your country. Your misfortune at last year’s Relay was probably very hard to swallow. Will 2011 finally be the right year for the title?

Thierry Gueorgiou – The Relay is indeed one of my biggest goals for 2011. What happened during the past years belongs to the past, I cannot change anything to it. I look at this goal with a new and fresh glance and I think that we will be intent to do a nice performance. It remains sport, and you never know what can happen, but we will prepare the best we can.

The level is always very high

Ultimate Orienteering – Will you conquer once again the title on the middle distance, and add to it gold medals in sprint and long distance?

Thierry Gueorgiou – It would be ideal, but there is often a gap between ideal and reality… I’m not alone in my category, there are some very good concurrents and it will require from me to be extremely strong. That is what I try to prepare for, and we will see.

Ultimate Orienteering – A last question. You are the current leader of the World ranking, you won the Portugal O’Meeting last year. Now you will have to win it again…

Thierry Gueorgiou – It won’t be easy. The level is always very high. I will try to be as efficient as last year. I already did a week of training camp around Evora, I think that the terrains will be quite similar: quite fast with very detailed areas. I might be slightly tired after a week of training camp, but I’ll try to give my best anyways.

Interview translated from French by Lucie Babel
Photography (archive) by Niels-Peter Foppen (Ultimate Orienteering)

Saudações orientistas.


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