Why did you choose Portugal in this time of the season?
Jonas Vytautas Gvildys (J. V. G.) - For me, the season is over. It was my sister who suggested to come here, so... here I am.
Just for fun (!?)...
J. V. G. - Yes, just for fun. Well, I like Orienteering, it's an important part of my life. Our parents also do Orienteering, I started to do Orienteering since I was a kid, it's a matter of family.
In the meanwhile, you've grown as an orienteer and your own projects got some specific and important goals, I believe. That's why we can see you, right now, in the 10th place of the IOF's World Sprint Ranking. What are your feelings about the current season?
J. V. G. - Overall, the season was good. The World Championships are always the most important competitions and, this time, in Italy, we could face very different terrains from what we have in Lithuania. We don't have the same possibilities – the money to travel - as other countries and we couldn't prepare the Championships the way that we would like. We had a training camp in Italy before the World Championships, of course, but I think it wasn't enough for the forest distances.
Even so, we could see you achieving a nice result in the Sprint final...
J. V. G. - The Sprint is quite good for me, and my goals are to achieve always the best results. A sprint race is equal everywhere, it's almost the same...
J. V. G. - Yes, it's easier and it's not so prestigious. To win the World title in Sprint it's not the same as to win the Middle or the Long Distance title. But yes, in Venice I got my best result of the season, despite I'm not very happy with it because I know that I could do better. There's a lot of luck included in the Sprint distance. Everybody can reach the top three and everybody can complain in the end of the course about too many mistakes, “if I could subtract twenty seconds to my time I could be the winner”, if, if... It was the same for me. I was a little disappointed, even thinking about it right now, but the 9th place was my best result and it was the best moment of the season.
Another great moment was the 5th place in the Middle Distance of the World Championships 2011, in France. Was it the best moment of your career until now?
J. V. G. - Yes, you could say so. I had, of course, better races without mistakes, local races in my home country, but this was a good race in a very tough competition. After that, I had some injuries, mostly in 2013, and I couldn't train at 100%. That's why I'm not higher at the moment, you have to keep working several years without traumas to achieve the best results. I believe that I would be higher in the future, I hope so (laughs).
You've talked about your best moment of the season, I would like to know what was your worst moment?
J. V. G. - Speaking about health, the worst moment is the present moment, right now. I had an operation three weeks ago, I couldn't train and I had to rest for sixteen days. I started to move again with little sessions of jogging, very slowly, without expectations, and I'm recovering.
But you're second placed in the night sprint...
J. V. G. - That was quite surprising. I felt terrible during all the course, I didn't push at all. As I ran slowly, it wasn't very difficult to get the right options, but it was a very demanding course. Too much stairs (laughs)... Physically it was tough but I liked it a lot, the atmosphere, this beautiful city! It's my first time here, I didn't know Porto – I landed here a couple of times but always to go somewhere in the south – but it's beautiful, indeed.
J. V. G. - Portugal is perfect to prepare the season. It's really good in the winter because you don't have snow here and we can run in technical terrains. You also have many quite tough terrains. I really hope to return here next winter for the Portugal O' Meeting. I'll do anything to make it happen.
At the beginning of our Interview, you said that you decided to come to Portugal because of your younger sister. How do you follow Tekle's career?
J. V. G. - She is quite good. If she is determined and if she pursuits her dreams, everything can happen. You know, you have to work quite hard. It's not that easy, you don't start training today and achieve something important tomorrow. It demands a lot of time and hard work.
How is it, to be an orienteer in Lithuania?
J. V. G. - The main sport in Lithuania is the Basketball, nobody cares about the other sports. We can say that 90% of the population is Basketball addicted. But we can't complain. We try to have some media attention, specially during the Lithuanian Championships or other important competitions. The times are not that bad, but it's not easy to find someone able to organize competitions. I hope that things could change in the future.
Now that you're about to return to your country, was it a nice experience, the three days of Porto City Race 2014?
J. V. G. - Yes, for sure. Especially the last course, it's nice that I could run faster, but actually throughout the course I wasn't feeling quite okay. I had a lot of rest, I didn't train and I can feel it right now. All the course I was fighting, trying to do my best, but it was tough. It wasn't a really tricky course and in some places you could run very fast. It wasn't too much hilly but I could feel every climb (laughs). It was a nice end of the season.
Talking about the future, Estonia in 2017 and Latvia in 2018 will receive the World Championships and I believe that your major goals are there. Am I right?
J. V. G. - Yes, you're probably right. At that time I'll be 29 years old and that's like the perfect age in this kind of sports. I think that I could be really good there because it's basically the same terrain that we have in Lithuania, I can prepare the competition quite well and I don't have to travel a lot. I think these are going to be nice competitions and I wish for the best results.
So, let's cross the fingers and don't get injured until than (!)...
J. V. G. - It's the most important thing for every orienteer, no injuries. You can easily twist an ankle and then you'll see what the forest is. This is not the asphalt.
Would you like to make a wish for the next season?
J. V. G. - I wish that Orienteering becomes more popular. I'll try to do my best in the World Championships, at Inverness, and I wish no traumas.