Gueorgiou and Bobach win Orienteering Achievement 2011

Thierry Gueorgiou and Ida Bobach have been awarded with “The Orienteering Achievement of 2011″ titles in the mens and womens class. Among the men Thierry Gueorgiou got an impressive 52% of the votes – nearly four times many as Ionout Zinca in second spot. Among the women, Ida Bobach – last year’s number two – won clearly ahead of Helena Jansson.

This year 7 men and 9 women were nominated for their great orienteering achievements in 2011. Over the past years the election of the orienteering achievement was a shared initiative between World of O and Ultimate Orienteering but this year we did a step back. Nearly 3000 visitors of World of O from more than 50 countries made a vote, making the results representative for the world wide orienteering community.

In the Men’s class Thierry Gueorgiou won with 52.4% of the votes ahead of Ionut Zinca with 13.7%, Daniel Hubmann with 11.9% and Matthias Kyburz with 6.3%. In the Womens’s class Ida Bobach won with 31% of the votes ahead of Helena Jansson with 16.0%, Tove Alexandersson with 11.1% and Judith Wyder with 9.7%.

Q&A Thierry Gueorgiou

Nominated for: The King of WOC 2011 – 3 x WOC gold and finally taking home the WOC relay for France after three very dramatic defeats.

Check Thierry’s race essentials

World of Orienteering - Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2011″! What a year! Is this your best year ever?
Thierry Gueorgiou – Well, it is always hard to compare my last years. I have the feeling that my best season was 2007. At that time, I had everything under control – the technique, the physique, the mental part and the motivation. This year, I had only one focus: WOC. But in many parts of the season, like in Jukola for example, I felt even stronger than in 2007. In sum, I would say that my average level was maybe better in 2007, but my peaks were higher in 2011.

W o O – You won three WOC gold medals this year – and all have their special stories attached to them. Can you tell us the story behind why each of these gold medals were important to you – and which of them meant the most?
T G – Yes, that is totally true. There was a story and inner motivation behind each distances, and that is why it was so easy to refocus during the week and start from a blank sheet of paper. Since 2009, I put as much focus on the long distance as on the middle distance, and I would not have liked to end my career without having this gold. When I woke-up the day of the Long distance, I knew that I had to take this chance. The race was a struggle and I never felt really strong but I hung on to my dream.

Then, the middle distance is always special for me, and the bronze in Trondheim hurt as much as the 4th place in 2006. So, I really wanted to do a great technical performance in a demanding terrain. During the last 7 weeks, I ran 15 middle distances at competition speed in relevant terrain. I was far too eager at the beginning, rushing instead of trying to control my orienteering. Then, I got a series of 8 nearly perfect performances. My confidence was built on those trainings.

But the relay was the race I awaited most during this week. At every relay training in the previous months, I had the WOC relay in my mind with the same questions to answer: “- How to behave and on what to focus”. I knew there would be a lot of talk and expectations before the race. So, it was mostly about handling the “context”. This was the race I enjoyed the most during the week, both in forest and in the run-in.

W o O – Any final words to your fans out there – there seem to be many!
T G – Thank you all for your votes and cheering through the season! I wish you all a great 2012, full of smiles, lactic acid and tricky controls!

Q&A Ida Bobach

Nominated for: As a junior winning the silver medal in the World Championships middle distance in France – after a few weeks earlier having taken three gold medals in the Junior World Championships.

Check Ida’s race essentials

World of Orienteering – Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2011″! What a great year for you – did you expect to get this good results at the start of the season?
Ida Bobach – I was also nominated last year, so I hoped to be it again. But I really did not expect to have such a great season.

W o O – Can you name three key moments in your preparations for WOC which you think where decisive for your achievement?
I B – The first preparation I had was really important I think. I ran the World Cup in France in the autumn 2010. I was really turned on by this technical terrain and I started having a dream of doing great at WOC 2012.

In March I was on a training camp in Clermont- Ferrand at the same time as the Norwegian National Team. We had some training competitions where I did really good and I won a middle and a long distance. I think these races were important for my self-confidence in the French terrain. Another thing, that helped my feel confident before the middle distance final, was the really encouraging atmosphere we had in the national team. One of the other Danish runners said to me on our pre-camp, that he thought that I could go in top 6 at the middle distance. I think it helped my dream come true.

W o O – Any final words to your fans out there – there seem to be many!
I B – Thank you for voting for me. It feels so good when other orienteers think that I have achieved something good. The dream of doing it again, and hopefully better, will keep me motivated during winter.

Please visit World of O for more information and details.

Photography by Niels-Peter Foppen (Ultimate Orienteering)
Thanks to World of O for using extracts of the interviews with Thierry Gueorgiou and Ida Bobach.

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