She tried Trail Orienteering for the very first time in February 2014 and, in her first international participation ever, achieved an “unthinkable" 7th place in WTOC's TempO Final. This is the starting point for an interview with Inês Domingues, the “girl prodigy” of the Portuguese Trail Orienteering.
The result achieved in Zagreb, in TempO, forces me to ask you this question: how much of it was innate and how much of it was homework?
Inês Domingues (I. D.) - I don't exactly train Trail Orienteering. My training sites are the courses of the Portuguese TrailO Cup in which I have participated so I assume that much of it is already mine and has to do with the theoretical basis and the practice that I have from Foot Orienteering. Training more seriously, was just during the week of the Championships, in Croatia. It was very intensive.
How important was it to arrive in Croatia a few days earlier and have the chance to take part in two stages of the European Cup?
I. D. - It helped a lot, mostly because we didn't feel the pressure inherent to the competition in the World Championships. We had the time to calm down, feel the atmosphere and get to know the people around us. I think it was really important.
Was your goal to reach the top 10 in the World Championships?
I. D. - No, I had no idea of the equivalence in a competition like the World Championships compared to what I was doing... My goal was to reach the final and nothing else.
Now that you have this idea, how do you intend to deal with the pressure that comes with the responsibility of being the seventh best in the World?
I. D. - The pressure has to do with the responsibility of keeping or improving the 7th place. I know I can get there and now I have to try to go further, without forgetting that the small details make all the difference. A wrong answer and you come down or vice versa. But now that I have achieved this level, I have to work on keeping it or rise further.
When you speak in rising you're already thinking about next year's World Championships in Sweden.
I. D. - Yes, my goal is to be, next year, in Sweden. I have to take advantage of what we're doing in Portugal, to train, to improve.
How do you rate, overall, the presence of the Portuguese team in Croatia?
I. D. - I think the performance was very good and we managed to improve our results both in PreO and TempO. Even the fourth place achieved in the Relay was excellent. In addition, this presence represented a gain in experience for all, a new perspective on different challenges.
What about the organization?
I. D. - The organization was excellent and I cannot point a single, less positive detail. Technically it was a spectacular event, with challenges beautifully designed, calling for a good map reading. And the people were fantastic, always attentive and available. It was spectacular overall.
What consequences may these results have in the future in relation to the Portuguese Trail Orienteering?
I. D. - These results gave us visibility and begin to turn the attention on us. Hopefully they will bring some advantages in terms of support, and will also call more people to try this Orienteering discipline.