Who is Who
Baiba Ozola

Baiba Ozola, W40, LAT

Silver medal in Austria 2006 and 6th in Finland 2007. Also 16th in Italy 2004. Do you specially remember any of these events?
Austria 2006 was very special, because actually I got also the first place in the unofficial Sprint distance and regained some self-confidence after the bad mistakes in Italy and Norway.

Portugal 2008 will be your last participation in W40. What do you feel you are able to do? Who else is in a favourite position to win your class?
My national team-mate Iveta Bruvere is very strong, but I will simply try to do my best regardless of the competitors.

Next summer we will have, for the first time in WMOC, a Sprint Race...
Sprint is my favorite discipline. Unfortunately, our club has to miss it this time due to logistical problems.

In IOF World Ranking, leaded by Simone Niggli, Minna Kauppi, Heli Jukkola and other top Elite, you still occupy a position very honorable to a veteran. In last October 21st, you were 238th. How proud do you feel?
The position should be higher if had the 4th ranked international event. But I am really proud of being on the podium in Latvian ranking for the last 6 years since I began serious training.

You clearly won Istanbul 5 Days (Oct 31st - Nov 4th), in W40. Any special memory?
It was a fantastic experience, especially the desperate attempt to go through a wall on the Grand Bazar's ground floor, while the real passage was on the 1st. The next day I went there with the scrap of map from O-Today and found a parallel world.

I noticed your victory in Day 2 of Portugal O Meeting (POM) in S. Pedro do Sul (February 2007), but I didn't see final results. Did you won? The weather was awful but terrain was beautiful and challenging. Do you agreed?
It was a wonderful opportunity to do a very dense "orienteering per meter", particularly in the fog. The model event was like night orienteering. The event helped our whole family to experience some preliminary spring and recover from flu, but I learned to distinguish between the different forms and sizes of stone. Unfortunately, Claudia Greiner managed to close the one minute gap on the last day's chasing start (no fog when needed!) and won.

In 2006, in Salo-Jukola (Jukolan Viesti), you have finished under 200th among almost 700 competitors, including Simone Niggli, Vroni Salmi, Marianne Andersen, Minna Kauppi... What competition is this? Do you remember any special story from there?
The event now has become the usual pilgrimage of our club MONA to the North. For us it is rather a social than professional event, enjoyed because of the special team consolidation feeling when there is plenty of time to cheer up each other. I like the fact that the courses are becoming more forked and demanding. And there is that special feeling of a really big event with stars all around. Here is the story; one of our girls after finishing says (very excited): I saw Simone and GUESS WHAT! She stopped and studied the map!

Where else have you been doing orienteering outside your country? Do you have any particular memories from an orienteering travel?
The most interesting terrains besides the above mentioned Istanbul and Portugal 2007 I have enjoyed in Krasnoyarsk, Scotland and Switzerland, but there is one very special case. It was in Sydney Summer Series last year (an urban weekly scoring event), when I was stopped after jumping a creek coming from the nearby private houses. The characteristic noise of a disturbed reptile multiplied by hundred and the sudden movement in all the ten meters of undergrowth separating me from the safe road made me frozen on one leg in my running shorts for the longest seconds of my life.

Please, tell us other highlights of your sporting career.
In 2007, I and Alida Abola [who also will have an interview here, maybe on March 3rd] became the European Rogaining Champions both among women as well as women veterans. The 13th place overall is an excellent result, isn't it?

You also are a good ski-orienteer (3rd in ski-WMOC 2006). For people who never used a ski, can you explain the particular skills to be a good ski-orienteer?
To be a really good ski-orienteer requires much more skiing practice and courage than I do. Now my skills are merely some memories from the study years, when we had the opportunity to spend weeks in training camps. However, the things have improved because of the presence of snow guns in some slalom courses near Riga.

Have you practiced other sport different from orienteering?
Only the related ones: regaining, skiing, adventure racing and marathons.

Returning to pedestrian orienteering, which event will be the most important in Latvia during 2008?
Of course, European Championships in Ventspils. The terrain with dunes, contour details and small marshes is an ultimate challenge for a participant to maintain a high speed while not losing the contact with map. The region near the border was not available for public during the soviet occupation, so it is a challenge for the local veterans as well and many of them are going to participate in the public race.

What is your date of birth? And where do you live?
18/10/1964. Riga.

How did you discover orienteering?
My parents sent me to my first summer camp when I was 10. But I started serious training and starting in Elite group only after the birth of my twins 6 ago. For the first time I won national championships only when I was 39.

What do you enjoy most in this sport?
The opportunity to see the nature of many countries and places from the "backyard" side.

Which event was the best for you?
It was 2006 European Championships in Estonia, the first time when I qualified for the national team for such an important competition. A very special feeling of presence in the world orienteering Elite.

Who are your heroes in this sport?
My real hero is the 2 times NYC marathon winner Jelena Prokopchuk, the wonderful neighbour girl whom I often see running. She has achieved so much because she rather loves everyday training than herself being a popular star.

What kind of terrain do you prefer?
I enjoy terrains with good runnability, but limited visibility, full of details (except stones), where quick map reading rather than strategic choice is of importance. Because I live near the sea and feel comfortable in dunes and pine forests.

Do you remember your best (perfect) race, or the worse, or the most exciting?
All in one. During my years in Latvian Elite, I have always (as far as I can remember) run the first leg in the Championships relays and have always come out in the lead. This year the relay was to take place in a very runnable pine forest, where one could see the participant running even over a minute ahead. The middle distance the day before ended with a tough fight for precious seconds and tens of runners finishing within one minute and I knew I wasn't in must best shape after fighting with an injury for the last months. Already after the 1st lap I felt that there is nobody following me and finished 2 minutes ahead of all the other 15 competitors, each younger and healthier than me. My team-mates kept the first position until the end of the race and then it came... A DQ because of a wrong control in the last leg!

What is the secret to be a winner?
Enough self-confidence to take time for maintaining the contact with map.

Do you have any responsible position in your club?
No, I have not. But I usually help as a volunteer in the organization of the annual adventure race MONA-X.

How many orienteers do you have in your club? Do you use training together? And personally, what kind of training do you use to do?
OK MONA has more than 35 adults and their children. In winter, we frighten the dog-walkers and police officers with our head-lamps twice a week. The pace must be comfortable for talking and even singing and the usual topic is politics. In my everyday training I practice a lot of cross-training (cycling, skiing, aerobics) and muscle strength training and stretching in gym to avoid injuries. The two orienteering sessions in the weekend are a real pleasure then.

Do you have any special program of training in order to improve your performance at the moment of WMOC?
Oh yes! I am going to Portugal 2008 for a training week in February. [POM will start next Saturday, Feb 2nd - 5th]

Do you have any special care with what you eat?
Healthy and varied food belongs to the way of life, but sometimes I astonish my fellows by the enormous amounts of chocolates and cookies I can cope with.

Do you have orienteers in your family?
My son Martin (16) had done it since early childhood, but now he has chosen football. Cathrin and Michael (6) go string courses and are learning to read maps.

Does your family support your sporting ambitions?
I couldn't have achieved anything in sport if I had not the financial and all the other kind of support from my husband Janis. He let me fulfil my dream: leave the full-time job and explore the limits of my capabilities. During these years I could even feel safe about my career, because I continued my education in Riga Business School and got the MBA degree (with excellence).

What is your job? How can you coordinate your professional and sporting life?
Being a full-time mother really is a hard mental and physical work from dawn to dusk! If seriously, I was a manager in the biggest optical retail chain in Latvia and will soon return to my beloved job.

What are your hobbies besides orienteering?
Knitting and Japanese crosswords.

Can you suggest a book, a film or a music that we can't miss?
Forrest Gump.

Which is your favourite website?

What do you expect from WMOC 2008?
An interesting puzzle prepared by the distance setter.

Can you give any message to the other competitors of WMOC 2008?
Orienteering does not have to hurt, let us have fun together.

(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2007 Nov. 28th.)

[2008-06-20] Carlos Monteiro, WMOC Event Director

[2008-06-20] Dieter Wolf, M55, SUI

[2008-06-19] Timo Teinila, WMOC speaker

[2008-06-19] Jorge Simões, WMOC Event Director assistant

[2008-06-18] Blair Trewin, M35, AUS

[2008-06-18] Mariett Matias, WMOC Media responsible

[2008-06-17] David May, WMOC Senior Event Advisor

[2008-06-16] Gottfried Tobler, M60, AUT

[2008-06-16] Tuulikki Salmenkylä, W45, FIN

[2008-06-16] Arvo Majoinen, M80, FIN

[2008-06-14] Fernando Costa, WMOC Marketing responsible

[2008-06-13] Sarah Dunn, W40, GBR

[2008-06-12] Santos Sousa, WMOC planner

[2008-06-11] Sigurd Daehli, M55, NOR

[2008-06-10] Alexandre Reis, WMOC mapper and planner

[2008-06-09] Nick Duca, M40, CAN

[2008-06-07] Tiago Aires, WMOC mapper and planner

[2008-06-06] Irina Stepanova, W55, RUS

[2008-06-05] Luís Sérgio, WMOC mapper

[2008-06-04] Ari Kattainen, M50, FIN

[2008-06-03] Rui Antunes, WMOC Mapping coordinator

[2008-06-02] Jon Musgrave, M45, GBR

[2008-05-31] Jacinto Eleutério, WMOC Course coordinator

[2008-05-30] Rune Carlsson, M70, SWE

[2008-05-29] Åke Jacobson, IOF President

[2008-05-29] Augusto Almeida, POF President

[2008-05-28] Jurate Uleviciene, W55, LIT

[2008-05-26] Vladimir Ioffe, M70, ISR

[2008-05-23] José Fernandes, M45, POR

[2008-05-21] Ezio Paris, M55, ITA

[2008-05-19] Gabriella Györffy, W40, HUN

[2008-05-16] Alberto Minguez, M40, ESP

[2008-05-14] Tomas Zdrahal, M55, CZE

[2008-05-12] Paulo Becker, M45, BRA

[2008-05-09] Ingrid Roll, W70, NOR

[2008-05-07] Jerzy Parzewski, M55, POL

[2008-05-05] Hugh Moore, M60, AUS

[2008-05-02] Martin Checkley, M55, GBR

[2008-04-30] Etienne Bousser, M60, FRA

[2008-04-28] Andreas Grote, M40, SUI

[2008-04-24] Liudmila Labutina, W65, RUS

[2008-04-22] Freddy Sillien, M60, BEL

[2008-04-17] Tomislav Kaniski, M35, CRO

[2008-04-14] Eero Tuuteri, M85, FIN

[2008-04-10] Lena Nordahl, W80, SWE

[2008-04-07] Albano João, M45, POR

[2008-04-03] Tom A. Karlsen, M55, NOR

[2008-03-31] Kayoko Sakai, W55, JPN

[2008-03-27] Finn Arildsen, M45, DEN

[2008-03-24] Anne Nurmi, W45, FIN

[2008-03-20] Peo Bengtsson, M75, SWE

[2008-03-17] Alida Abola, W50, LAT

[2008-03-13] Matti Railimo, M60, FIN

[2008-03-10] Cornelia Eckardt, W35, GER

[2008-03-06] Joaquim Sousa, M35, POR

[2008-03-03] Birgitta Olsson, W75, SWE

[2008-02-20] J. Salmenkylä, M75, FIN

[2008-02-18] Torid Kvaal, W65, NOR

[2008-02-15] Mykola Bozhko, M55, UKR

[2008-02-13] Pavlina Brautigam, W45, USA

[2008-02-11] Ferran Santoyo, M35, ESP

[2008-02-08] Sole Nieminen, W80, FIN

[2008-02-06] Stefano Galletti, M40, ITA

[2008-02-04] Gillian Ingham, W50, NZL

[2008-02-01] Jörgen Mårtensson, M45, SWE

[2008-01-30] Tom Hiltebrand, M50, SUI

[2008-01-28] Baiba Ozola, W40, LAT

[2008-01-25] Eddie Harwood, M55, GBR

[2008-01-23] Marje Viirmann, W45, EST

[2008-01-21] Alexander Afonyushkin, M40, RUS

[2008-01-18] Paulina Majova, W55, SVK

[2008-01-16] Björn Linnersjö, M65, SWE

[2008-01-15] Lillian Røss, W85, NOR

[2008-01-10] Tapio Peippo, M55, FIN

[2008-01-07] Elizabeth Brown, W90, GBR

[2008-01-04] Erkki Luntamo, M90, FIN

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