Natalia Gemperle: new name, new medals, big smile

Posted on | August 25, 2016 | Category: WOC news

Natalia with husband Rolf                                                     Photo: Erik Borg

Natalia Gemperle has made the journalists smile. She has also been smiling a lot herself. The Russian, who is newly married and lives in Switzerland, is really back in business.

The 25-year-old athlete has been at two press conferences so far at the Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships. Just the three best in each class are present. Natalia was third on the Middle and second on the Long. Today she was just 26 seconds after winner Tove Alexandersson on the Long.

Natalia’s incredible achievements are taken without much preparation in the terrain in this south-west part of Sweden. “There have been no camps for me, but I was here at the Junior World Championships in Gothenburg”.

– That JWOC was back in 2008!

“It’s still all about orienteering”, she smiles.

Good route choice

The Russian fought for the gold all the way on the Long and was in the lead for most of the distance. On the very long leg to the second control she went right and used roads. For her, a very good choice. She picked up Judith Wyder after that and had a lead of two minutes at the first radio. “In the last part of the race I was very tired”, she says.

The third-last starter Tove Alexandersson had a very clean race, felt a bit of tiredness after the Middle Distance, but managed to finish with a time that was 26 seconds better than the Russian’s. “Just incredible to win again”, Tove tells.

Natalia is also satisfied with one more medal. These are her first WOC medals. She started with a disqualification on the Sprint; at one control her punch didn’t register.

The trainer’s choice

She was born in Moscow and grew up there. Her parents sent her and her twin sister Olga to a sports school. The trainer was also doing orienteering and he introduced the sport to them. Natalia made good progress and took part in WOC in France and got fifth position on the Middle Distance. Then the Russian had to take a break for about three years. It had become too much – she had over-trained.

Two years ago she became partner with Rolf Gemperle, who has a lot of knowledge in training and runs fast, so has helped her. “We have grown up together from that time”, she laughs. Since March this year they have been living together in Arau in the middle of Switzerland. “It’s a paradise for training there. You can run in the forest everywhere”.

On June 10th they got married. At the end of May she got gold in the Sprint Relay at the European Championships in the Czech Republic and bronze on the forest Relay, with Vinogradova as her family name for the last time. “It’s a new time. I have started to get results with a new name”, she smiles.


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