Thierry Gueorgiou and Annika Billstam arrived together at the Event Center in Viseu. With their usual kindness and disponibility, they agreed to speak to Portuguese Orienteering Blog. An interview made by maps and terrains of top quality, an excellent organization and a great desire to confirm their favoritism and win the Portugal O 'Meeting 2012.
It's an honor to have someone like you, the number two of the world, between us, and I would like to know if it's your first time here in Portugal.
Annika Billstam (A.B.) – Actually, it's my first time competing in Portugal. My first time training orienteering in Portugal was just two weeks ago, I stayed here for one week and I really like it here, it has been a beautiful weather and also the maps are very nice.
During this event, these four days, are you here to improve your level at this time of the season, or you are here to compete and to win?
A.B. – I'm here to do four good races. I will do my best and use my competing speed. It's important for me to see how my results are at this moment, and of course I will also use a lot of time for training and some other days where there are the competitions. The competitions are really important for me.
Looking at the level of your adversaries, do you expect a tough fight for the first place?
A.B. – Yes, I think there's a really strong group of athletes. But it's really nice, it's not very often that you get to meet some of the biggest names of Orienteering. I think there will be very strong opponents because, for me, this is a new kind of Orienteering, it's a little bit different. I will take contact with the maps now, and maybe some of the people are happier with this type of terrains, but we will see on the next race!
Thierry Gueorgiou: “The quality is the highest”
In a very direct way I ask you: are you here to win?
Thierry Gueorgiou (T.G.) – I think I'm in good shape and, although I have been sick these days, I will do my best in all the four races and we'll see then.
Five years ago you were the big winner of Portugal O' Meeting. What memories do you keep from those moments?
T.G. – Good memories. Besides, last week we were training in S. Pedro do Sul and it was a good reunion with those maps. The maps are really great, I have already had the opportunity to see the maps of the Model Event and they're also very good and I have a big will that tomorrow will come quickly.
We will have here eight of the top ten orienteers of the world. It will be a strong fight.
T.G. – It's something very pleasant. Even if it's not a World Cup or a World Championship, Portugal O' Meeting is already a reference in the beginning of the season and it's a great pleasure to to find again so many and such good athletes. The moment of preparation of each one of us is not exactly the same and the results won't say a lot, but it's always good at this time of the year to have a more competitive race, side-to-side with such big names of world Orienteering, to check the level of each one.
In the context of such an important event as Portugal O' Meeting, what gives you the most pleasure?
T.G. – What I like the most is, each time I come to Portugal O' Meeting, I know that the organization is perfect. There is also the issue with the terrains that, because they're always different, we know we will never have bad surprises. The quality is the highest and it's certainly because of that that there are so many athletes coming to Portugal to compete at this event. Maps, races and organizations of best quality is what every elite orienteer looks for and they know they can find it here.
All information at http://www.pom.pt/en/
[You can see the Model Event's maps and a video at the respective pages]
[Translated by Ana Macedo]