The big May TrailO party

Posted on | May 23, 2016 | Category: News

For orienteering lovers, to pick up a map and dive into the forest is always a party. But when we’re talking about Jesenik’s forests and an event of a really large magnitude like the European Trail Orienteering Championships (ETOC), we’re talking, surely, about a really big party. With the help of Jana Kosťová, let’s get a feel for the event. Through her mind. Through her heart.

IMG_2699It isn’t the first time that a major Trail Orienteering event is taking place in the Czech Republic. In 2008 the city of Olomouc hosted the World Trail Orienteering Championships, with the Swede Lennart Wahlgren and the German Anna Straube as the big winners in the Paralympic class and Open class respectively. This event gave the Czechs the opportunity to improve their knowledge of this sport and also their skills, both from a competitive and an organisational point of view. The opportunity was most certainly taken, looking at how the Czech Republic has developed with regard to TrailO: nowadays it is a real world power. We could in fact acknowledge this state of affairs only five years after 2008 in Vuokatti, Finland, when Jana Kosťová and Pavel Dudik won gold and silver in the Paralympic class, the greatest success ever in the history of Czech TrailO.

Jana now has another chance to shine at the highest level. But when asked to describe the vibrations being caused by the event’s approach, the answer isn’t exactly what one would expect: “Oh, don’t talk about vibes! Thanks to my workload, I have had a really good time in the spring but not exactly ‘trail oriented’. I didn’t have a moment to think about ETOC, to get nervous too early. But all of that is past and I must admit that, right now, I feel sort of obliged to get good results – I have high expectations of myself, especially here in my home country”, she says.

“My goal is to get an ETOC medal”
IMG_3747Jana has been asked before about what she thought was the hardest part of TrailO, and her answer was something related to “getting into the course planner’s mind, to assess from the very beginning his zero tolerance”. So the natural question now is about the ETOC’s course planner Tomáš Leštínský’s ways of thinking. Jana doesn’t escape from the question: “During recent years we have had several chances to experience his style. So we all know that he’s generally using good maps that we can rely on. Also, he likes clever tricks. And – last but not least – he likes orienteering, so his competitions are mostly about orienteering. My (now already public) wish is that I’ll be able to understand his course planning as I did last year in the final round of the European Cup in Trail Orienteering (laughs).”

Like any top athlete, Jana knows that being well prepared is half way to success, and at the moment she is feeling decidedly nervous. She explains: “We haven’t had many competitions here during this season, and to get ready I’ve been doing online TempO tasks and studying old maps and courses set by Tomáš. Let’s hope it will be enough.” But ‘enough’ is too vague and what we would like to know is the word’s practical meaning when we talk about goals. Or dreams. “Since Vuokatti my goal has been to get an ETOC medal. Especially when it’s organised ‘at home’ – one feels a duty to win something, right? But I know there are many other competitors who wish to win a medal from ETOC too, and there are only three medals (laughs). I’ll certainly do my best, but the question is if my best is going to be good enough to reach the podium”, Jana asserts.

Light and shadow
The fact that the European Championships includes the FootO and TrailO competitions at the same time, as in previous years, launches Jana into some doubts: “It will be a joint Championships and I’m looking forward to that. I personally really enjoy being part of a bigger party and a fan of our foot orienteers. But when I checked the programme I quickly realised that we’ll not have many opportunities to watch the FootO finals in the arenas.” She’s worried too that “we will be in FootO’s shadow. Let’s see how deep a shadow it will be. Judging from the website as it is now, I would say that ETOC this year doesn’t exist! ETOC is not being promoted anywhere, and I would like the EOC organisers to understand that the conditions for ETOC’s success are not just about hotel room accessibility or the quality of the courses”, she says.

Would you like to share your greatest wish?
“I uncovered one already, a few lines above (laughs). I would also like to wish all competitors a really enjoyable and fair competition! And then I would like to wish the organisers good luck. You can get ready – 200% – but, as an organiser in my business life, I know that almost every time something goes wrong and you simply cannot prevent it. Some luck is necessary too!”

Text and photo: Joaquim Margarido

Read all about ETOC 2016 on IOF Eventor and

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