Two big races and here we are David Andersson signing up his name for the first time in the Hall of Fame of Norte Alentejano O' Meeting. After six years tagged by injuries, the Swedish athlete seems to be back on track and tell us about his goals for the season.
Allow me to ask you who is David Andersson?
David Andersson (D. A.) - I am from Sweden, where I was born 32 years ago and at the present moment I live in Falun. I started doing orienteering when I was a child, by the influence of my family. I've been on top orienteering during a long time but, since 2007, I'm struggling a lot with injuries and it has been tough to get my best shape again.
Why Orienteering? What is so fascinating about this sport?
D. A. - Well, I believe that it is the variety. You never get the same course again and you can continue to get new challenges all the time. In the last years it's been tougher and tighter to be among the top because there's a lot of runners today that are really good, so it's tough to compete against the best. I hope I'll be back to the top one day and my goal is to take a medal at the World Championships.
What is the secret to reach the top?
D. A. - I think that the most important thing is to never give up, to do more an more trainings. And fight, always try to do your best... and have fun!
Can you appoint the most thrilling moment of your career?
D. A. - My best moments were in 2006 and 2007, when I had really good races, in really good physical shape. I remember that I ran the last leg on the European Championships 2006 and we won the relay race. I've beaten Thierry [Gueorgiou], we've run a lot together but in the end I was stronger than him. So, that's one of my biggest moments but it was a long, long time ago. I'm maybe the only one who remembers that relay (laughs).
You've mentioned Thierry Gueorgiou. Do you believe that he is the best orienteer ever?
D. A. - For me he is the best orienteer. The Middle Distance has always been closest to me. That's my favorite distance and that's why Thierry has always been one the biggest orienteers for me.
What does Thierry have that you don't?
D. A. - The main thing is that he has been able to run orienteering for many years without injuries. I think that's the biggest difference between him and me.
Now you seem to be again in the good way and... you're here in Portugal. Why Portugal?
D. A. - I really look forward to these weeks during the whole year. When you're in Sweden, it's dark, there's a lot of snow and it's tough to do really good quality trainings, so I'm always waiting for the weeks when I go down to the South, to Spain or Portugal. That's one of my favorite weeks during the year. This time I'll stay ten days in Portugal and then I'll go ten days to Spain, in the beginning of March.
Are you enjoying your stay here?
D. A. - I really am. It's my second time in this part of the country and, for the moment, what I can say is that I'm a little bit surprised that I could perform that well already now. In this winter I've had a better training and now, physically, I'm feeling better than I did for a long time. It makes me feel more calm for the rest of the winter training. It feels good!
You've been in Brazil, you follow orienteering everywhere, how do you see the present moment of our sport?
D. A. - Yes, I've been with my girlfriend Lena [Eliasson] in Brazil, helped her in several aspects concerning orienteering. We were very well hosted, we had much fun and for me it was one of the best things in orienteering, traveling around new countries. I've also been in Australia a month ago, were I've visited my club-mate Julian Dent's family, in the North of Sidney. That was my first time in Australia and I enjoyed it a lot. That's one of the reasons why I could have quite a good shape already, because I had a good training period during Christmas, in Australia.
We can see now several important Sprint races. Are you a sprinter?
D. A. - No, no. Actually, the last time I've run the Swedish National Championships in Sprint, I got the title. But it was six years ago. If you're injured a lot like I've been, it's very tough to perform in Sprint. I haven't been able to run on hard ground for many years, I don't have that physical capacity and for me it has been easier to run more technical middle distance competitions in more soft terrains. I would like to be the best orienteer in the world and if you would like to be the best orienteer in the world, then you have to be able to run all distances. I hope that I can be a good sprinter once again.
Talking about the current season, what are your main goals?
D. A. - This year I'll focus on the World Championships and the forest distances, I think. I wasn't selected for the Swedish Team for the competitions in New Zealand and I will have small chances in the overall of the World Cup. At the Nordic Tour, it's almost just Sprints and I think that, for me, the Middle Distance and the Long Distance of the World Championships will be my “thing”. I hope.
But first you need to be selected...
D. A. - Yes! We have a very strong younger generation with a lot of strong runners and it will be also tough for me to qualify. So I have to show in my test races in the Spring that they can count on me for the World Championships. I will not travel to Finland if I'm not feeling that I'll be able to get a medal. Then it's better that one of the youngsters can go there and learn something.
The next stage is called Marinha Grande?
D. A. - Yes, I'm sure I'll enjoy there the sand dunes' terrain and then I'll go to Barbate, Spain, also in sand dunes' terrain, preparing the Long Distance of the World Championships in Finland. I think that the terrains will be similar.
Are we going to see you again in Portugal next year?
D. A. - I guess so. Almost every winter I'll come back to Portugal.