The POM isn’t just Foot Orienteering. As usual since 2010, the most important event of the Orienteering Calendar in Portugal also includes a Trail Orienteering stage. The Portuguese Orienteering Blog spoke with Filipe Dias, one of the PreO POM 2017’s course setters, who brings us all the news.

It was in 2010, at Figueira da Foz Camping, that Portugal O’ Meeting included in its program, for the first time, a Trail Orienteering stage. Since then, Foot Orienteering and Trail Orienteering have been together in the most important event of the Portuguese Orienteering Calendar, attracting an increasing number of participants to experience a different way of feeling and living the sport of the forest.

This year, the Grupo Desportivo dos Quatro Caminhos (GD4C) takes the responsibility of organizing the Portugal O’ Meeting, in whose specifications the Trail Orienteering stage holds a very special place. With Fernando Costa as Event Director and Joaquim Margarido in the role of National Controller, Rui Principe and Filipe Dias are the course setters. Looking forward to a time and a space that bring up Orienteering’s pleasure to a different dimension, the Portuguese Orienteering Blog spoke with Filipe Dias about the Pre POM 2017 and makes a preview of the event.

“The winner will have to be a complete athlete”

“I think the rigorousness of the Portuguese organizations is well-known, the POM being one of the highest exponents of this quality. As we have a Trail Orienteering stage included in the event, the care is the same in order to keep the high standards. So, we can talk about the PreO POM 2017 as a stage that will certainly be part of the organizational commitment, from the technical details to the logistical aspects”, start by saying Filipe Dias.

The event will take place on the afternoon of the POM’s second day, on 26th February, at Coudelaria de Alter [Alter Stud Farm], an institution whose main mission is to create and valorize the Alter Real horse, a breed of the Lusitan Pure Blood. With an eye on the unique natural space and another on its potential to host a Trail Orienteering event, Filipe Dias highlights “the rich vegetation, both underbrush and lush, mixed with rocky details”, whose combination will provide quite interesting tasks.

– Can you say something about the type of challenges?

“I can say that, with such a great variety of features on the terrain, it was everything but easy to choose the most interesting challenges at each control, since it was possible to have several tasks on each place. The competitors will face a set of 23 tasks that will require the use of all the position-fixing techniques, both on the map and in the terrain, from the classic ones, by the position at a mapped feature and position by contouring, to the conventional, by sighting lines, compass bearing or distance estimation, among others. The tasks won’t be difficult, but it will be a course requiring a multiplicity of technical knowledgement, so the winner will have to be a complete athlete.”

One-hundred entries’ barrier quite close

90 competitors entered the PreO POM 2017 so far, representing 18 countries. Among the most prominent names, it’s possible to find Remo Madella (Italy), Zóltan Mihaczi (Hungary), Pete Huzan (Great Britain), Gintaras Mikolavicius (Lithuania), Koji Chino (Japan), Santiago Martin (Spain), Bartlomiej Mazan (Poland) and, on the Portuguese side, Luis Gonçalves and Cláudio Tereso, in the Open Class. As for the Paralympic Class, the Spaniards Miguel Angel Garcia and Carlos Riu will have in the Portuguese Ricardo Pinto, Júlio Guerra and Cláudio Poiares the biggest opponents. With the number of participants registered last edition practically reached (94), Filipe Dias doesn’t hide his satisfaction with this numbers but, above all, talks about the quality of the participants: “Many of the competitors are renowned athletes, who leaves us quite pleased by the confidence shown in the organization and brings us an increased responsibility”, he says.

With the registrations open until 14th February (10th February without normal prizes), it’s expected that the final numbers will reach the 120 entered in 2015, in an edition organized by the Clube de Orientação de Estarreja and held in Vagos. That’s why Filipe Dias’ last words goes to the undecided: “Like other events organized by the GD4C, I believe this will be a stage which fits a high quality level. Coudelaria de Alter, the PreO POM’s venue, presents excellent conditions for an event of this magnitude, both natural and technical. So, I challenge the undecided to enter the PreO POM 2017, because your expectations won’t be frustrated. A pleasant Trail Orienteering afternoon is expecting you”.

To know everything about PreO POM 2017, please read the Bulletin #2 or check the event’s webpage, at

Joaquim Margarido