Who is Who
Albano João

Albano João, M45, POR

You have been to WMOC events in Spain 1996 and Norway 2003. What memories do you have from them?
In Spain I had only been orienteering for 2 years, it was hard adapting to the Mediterranean terrain, anyway I turned out to be 2 places from the A Final. On B Final, as I was the penultimate to start (classification reverse rank), I couldn't manage the "you have to win" pressure and, having problems on navigating to control 5, I decided to quit. In Norway, already having more experience, I finished again 2 places from A Final in my heat. In B Final, if I'm not mistaken, I came 3rd. It was an amazing experience: The hardiest orienteering terrain I have found until now allied to a huge beauty. The cartography, very different from the one practiced in southern Europe, made the navigating difficult, especially on Day 1.

National and Iberian Champion several times, you also have attended 5 Days of France and 3 Days of Belgium. What are the main highlights of your career?
The title I enjoyed the most was my first as Iberian Champion. Winning against athletes we thought were better gives us plenty of satisfaction. Being National Champion and winning the National Ranking - luckily I achieved it many times - gave and give me, of course, many joys and further motivation to practice and evolve, but also to against the Spanish athletes... that's the biggest satisfaction. Apart from the Peninsula, I liked my result on the 5 Days in France disputed in the Maubuisson area... I don't remember the year. At that time I competed in H35 and I came 11th overall, always climbing up the classification, I turned out to be 6th on the last day. This result was particularly significant because of the high level athletes, mainly Nordics. Competing in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Czech Republic, nothing relevant came up, except learning, which always results from contacting other kinds of terrain, cartography and different course planners. It was also useful to find out that, concerning events organisation, Portugal is on the front line.

You also have a previous history in athletics...
In fact orienteering becomes part of my life after a long migration from athletics. I began in 1976 (17 years old) at the Santa Clara in Coimbra. At that time Santa Clara was one of the best clubs in athletics, being in the 1st Division of Track, and it had Olympic athletes such as José Carvalho and Aniceto Simões. My speciality was the Middle Distance 800 and 1500mts - I never did Long Distance. On the last year as a Junior, I accomplished 3'.52'' at 1500mts and 1'.56'' at 800mts. I was invited by the Sporting Clube de Portugal, my club at heart, but at that time my father was already deceased and my older brother didn't authorized me to leave, alleging my studies came first and going to Sporting would affect my academic career, so he thought... Maybe he was right. What happened next was that, because of the lack of motivation, I never managed to achieve the junior ranking marks as a senior. Later on, I helped create an Athletics Club - Clube Académico da Malaposta - that accomplished excellent results in the 80's, especially at road races, winning several times the National Championship for INATEL (at that time INATEL was a very strong athletic structure, rivalling with the official Portuguese Athletics Federation for alluring the very best athletes). Furthermore I specialized in training athletes of long-distance and middle-distance running. Afterwards in 1993, by INATEL's initiative, took place at Buçaco an Event Adviser Seminar given by Mr. Higino Esteves, who later became Portuguese Orienteering Federation president, and that's when the passion for orienteering started. It was very lucky going to that event, because orienteering helps me find balance between professional activity and relaxation, not forgetting my family harmony. To me, orienteering is like an excellent medicine...

You are training some of best Portuguese orienteers, including Joaquim Sousa and José Fernandes, also interviewed in this column (Fernandes hasn't been published yet). What plans do you have for these Masters?
One of the greatest pleasures I find in Orienteering is to have an exceptional group of athletes that gives me the biggest pleasure to train. I thrill with their results as much or even more than with my own. It's the same with some athletes I train for athletics. Actually I coach 24 athletes from the north to the south of Portugal, without any financial reward. I regret that my professional activity doesn't allow me to be near each one of them at least once a week, and so the training is done over the phone or by email and afterwards at group training, when they occur. Beside the "COC", I'm proud of coaching athletes from other clubs - ".Com" and "Ori-Estarreja" - that compete directly against my own club, and also athletes that race in my own class, such as José Fernandes and Mário Santos, who have over the years evolved and are now beating me regularly, mainly Fernandes who is usually beating me. This is my way of life in orienteering and sports in general. Mostly relating to Joaquim Sousa and José Fernandes, both athletes training a lot, practicing daily, even with their professional lives, because Sousa as a "driver" does many miles by day, never having a regular place to practice. Fernandes has the problem of working in Astúrias (Spain), having long journeys at the weekends. Anyway and despite some problems, they are following the training programme agreed at the beginning of this season, divided in three macro-cycles that end with the WMOC, period in which we hope to be at our best. Each macro-cycle has been divided in three. 1st we have: increasing training; improve strength, better resistance and full power. 2nd: progress the anaerobic top volume; better strength resistance. 3rd we have low training levels, stimulate the VO2max. Until now Fernandes has no problems at his grounding, but I can't say the same about Sousa that has been injured for 8 weeks (November/December 2007). My individual concern is completely different from Sousa and Fernandes. Because I easily injure myself, I have to follow a preparation based on aerobic rhythms (resistance) only doing anaerobic and strength from time to time. This is a physical handicap that I intent to compensate with technical ability. One other main point that can restrict my role is my professional activity. At the company I work in (automobile and motorcycle component industry) "high season" is in spring and summer, when we have a very full timetable, so there will be many training sessions, which I won't be able to attend. 2008 is predicted to be an expansion year at our company, which is a good state of affairs for the factory but means the opposite for my preparation.

Running at home is it a big advantage? What do you feel you are able to do?
Running at home is of some advantage, psychologically speaking. As for the rest I see no advantage at all. Terrain and courses are unknown to all of us and the capacity to compete is the only key for good results. As for the personal results, even with the conditions mentioned before, I want to do better than previously at WMOC, because in the 2 events I attended I only missed the A Final for very few. Never the less I'm preparing to go a little bit further than being a mere participant in A Final. In the Sprint I long for a top 40 position and in Long Distance I hope to be in the top 50. I think Sousa can be top 10 on any of the courses, hoping that in the Sprint he can go all the way to the podium. As for Fernandes, I think he can be in the top 30 in both the Sprint and Middle.

Who are the favourites in your class?
A great candidate to win both competitions, Sprint and Long Distance, is the World Multi-Champion Jörgen Mårtensson. The other strong candidate is the Finnish Ilkka Peltola.

It will be the first WMOC with a Sprint title. What do you think about this innovation? Does it suit your skills?
It's a great idea because competition usually takes place at a forest and the impact with the population/viewers is much reduced, making it difficult to project the sport. Organizing events in public spaces, such as gardens, parks or even in the city, gives a bigger projection and attracts more spectators and surely will fetch more sponsors. WMOC, that will have proximally 4000 athletes running in the streets of Leiria and on Vieira Beach, will be a unique and World level happening. The discipline of Sprint has a particular interest for Portuguese athletes, because is where they achieve better results, for instance Diogo Miguel, who has been Junior European Champion, and Joaquim Sousa victorious at the model World Veteran Sprint Course, two years ago in Austria. In my case, as Sprint has a very strong physical component and I have many limitations concerning training in that area, I don't hope for a high position, but still maybe better than in the Long Distance race.

What is your date of birth and where do you live?
I was born in 19.03.1959 at a place near Anadia, called Malaposta. Today I live at Anadia.

What is your job and hobbies beside orienteering?
I am a Quality Manager in a Company that produces metallic components for the automobile and motorcycle industries. Directing, planning and accompanying the training of others "steels" me a lot of time, that's why I have very few hobbies. The one I like the most is fishing, besides being always watching my home Club results - Anadia Futebol Clube - and to my Club at heart - Sporting Clube de Portugal.

What were the best events you attended?
In my opinion there have been excellent events in Portugal, mainly the ones organized by COC, CPOC, .COM, Estarreja and GD4C. Internationally speaking, I loved the 2003 WMOC that took place in Halden, Norway; the 6 Days Italy/Switzerland in 2001; and the Bohemia 5 Days in Czech Republic in 2005.

Do you remember your best (perfect) race, or the worst or the funniest?
The race I consider to be the perfect one took place in the year of 2002 at the POM: on the first day at Vieira Beach, a very technical map. Although I was second, I was only 1 second away from the 1st place, former World Champion Marti Pekka from Switzerland, but the 3rd was 5 minutes slower. In that day, besides running very fast, I managed perfect technique. The event that disappointed me the most was the B Final in Múrcia 1996. I expected to win (there was lots of pressure from my companions) and it all went wrong from the very beginning, and I gave up at control 5. I felt extremely unhappy and sad to let down my companions. Anyway it taught me a lesson, and many times, in big pressure courses, it helps me to control my anxiety. The most grotesque competition happened at an event organized by ARCA Gerês (now .COM), I don't recall the year: I was caught by Baptista (from CIMO) and, as we were friends, we decided to do the course together. The result: we got lost and got off the map. Baptista, more experienced than I, realized the error and continued the course, but I wasn't near him at that moment. I thought I was on the right track and it seemed correct on the map... "Persist on the same area", I thought (completely off the map). But I wondered why I still haven't seen Baptista and I also didn't find anyone to ask where I was (logically: I was out of the map...). In the meantime I wanted to get back to the area of the former control and I couldn't do it. I got nervous and then I checked I was out of the map. I ran one direction on the map hopping to relocate myself. So it was. I lost 45 minutes, quitted, relieved to know where I was.

Who are your idols in orienteering?
As for orienteering I have no such idols as in athletics, where I admire the great champions Carlos Lopes and Rosa Mota. Anyway in orienteering I admired and still admire Jörgen Mårtensson and, more recently Thierry Gueorgiou and Simone Niggli-Luder. Within Portugal we have many interesting people, but the one I admire the most, perhaps by his charisma, results and perseverance is Joaquim Sousa.

Please try to give an image of Portuguese orienteering.
The sport is clearly growing in Portugal at all levels: participants and event organization. Anyway I think the competitive level is too low, at the senior and young classes, which creates a lack of development and evolution as a result. Diogo Miguel, I think, is an isolated case, not sustained. Unfortunately I say it was an isolated case, although I recognize huge potentiality of Diogo Miguel, mostly at this specialty. If the sport was more popular and have more sponsors, we might have more specialized trainers, which means a better quality of work. I hope that with the financial results of this WMOC, the POF can offer better conditions for the best athletes and trainers in a way they can plan stages and define middle and long term goals, but sustained ones.

What do you think about the diversity and technical difficulty of Portuguese terrains? And what about the quality of maps and courses?
Our country has evolved greatly these past few years. If you ask the great champions that have been to Portugal, you'll certainly hear their good testimony. Terrain, except for a case now and then, have been rightfully selected, cartography quality as well as planning has in fact improved. Our country, despite being small, has great land diversity. Gerês, Leiria pinewood and Alentejo are my favourite areas.

What can you say to convince a visitor to come to compete in Portugal?
We have, in our main events, good terrain, good courses and good organization. And we have the sun, gastronomy, wine and the innate friendship of our people, all at very affordable prices, cheaper than the majority European countries. For the people that will visit us, I hope you'll enjoy the WMOC as much as possible, that you have fun and, by the time you'll get back to your countries, you conclude that the time you spent in Portugal was advantageous. I truly recommend that you enjoy the wonderful gastronomy available in our country, visit the glass museum/factories at Marinha Grande and Fatima's Sanctuary.

(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2007, Dec 14th. Translation by Cláudia Silva. Revised by Norman Jones.)

[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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