Who is Who
Irina Stepanova, W55, RUS
You won a gold medal in the last WMOC. Can you remember the best moments of this event in Finland?
The organization there was excellent! The terrain was not difficult: not so many rocks or stony areas. And the distances were corresponding to the age categories. Unfortunately, the weather was awful. But still I liked WMOC 2007 very much because I had an opportunity to meet lots of my friends from former Soviet Republics.
Was your victory a surprise for you? Or did you train a lot and have a long preparation to become the World W55 Champion?
I understood that I could win only if I get over myself, get over my emotions. That's why I paid a great attention to pre-start concentration. And I made it!
What do you think about your chances in Portugal? Do you feel like winning again? Who else in your class can reach the podium?
We have a really strong class, as there are lots of athletes from the former world elite. But the main adversary for me is myself, my nerves. Of course, I would like to do my best! We'll see!
Next summer we'll have Sprint Championship for the first time. There will be two more races in the program: qualification and final. What do you think of it? And does it suit you abilities and skills?
That's a great decision from organizers! You will get more chances to show your best! And speaking about abilities and skills, I guess there is no great difference at our age what to run: sprint or long.
The Russian delegation at WMOC will be numerous. Do you know the other athletes? Maybe you would like to mention someone special. Is the atmosphere in you team good?
I know lots of Russian athletes going to WMOC. We usually meet in the national competitions, with some of them we represented Soviet national team. For example, my friend Galina Vershinina, from Kirov. She also used to win World Masters. Nowadays, at the competitions we usually stay at the same room, we are good friends since the time we were in the national team.
Can you tell us about the highlights of your career?
I started running orienteering in 1967. I made both foot and ski orienteering and became the Soviet Champion for 13 times. I also represented Soviet National Team.
Did you practice any other sports besides orienteering?
When I was at school I went in for track and field events. And later, in the university, I skied a lot.
Let's talk about orienteering in Russia. Are there lots of people taking part in national competitions? Do you have multi-day races? What is the most important event in Russia?
There are lots of competitions in Russia. We have National Championships in foot, ski, bike orienteering among children, master, elite and invalid athletes. This year for the 3rd time we'll have "Russian Azimuth". More than 10.000 people all over the country take place in it. The start is given at the same time in different cities all around Russia. It's a very important event, with TV and radio broadcast.
Why should we come to Russia to compete?
You should come to St. Petersburg to the Karelian Isthmus. It has very interesting terrain, excellent organization and high quality maps.
When and where were you born? And where do you live now?
I was born on the 20th of October in 1952, in St. Petersburg. And for all my life I live in that wonderful city.
For how long have you practiced orienteering?
When I was at school, I took part in the running competitions. And one day, I was asked to run orienteering race. I liked it so much! And for more than 40 years I run orienteering myself and teach children to run.
What do you enjoy more in this sport?
Running, the cooperation of physical, psychological and mental efforts. Nature, the smell of the forest, and the prism of red and white colour. I love it!
Tell us about the best competitions in your life.
World Masters of 2007 eclipsed all the previous ones. I could manage with myself, and it was the most important for me.
Have you ever competed in Portugal?
Unfortunately, I have never been to Portugal, but it seems to me that I already love that country!
Do you travel to the competitions abroad? Do you have any special memories from an orienteering trip?
The previous years I mostly travelled to Finland. Last year at Fin-5 my athlete Uriy Agafontsev won M-20E. That was really amazing!
And what about your trainings?
I do nothing special. I just run, ski and take part in the competitions.
Do you have orienteers in you family?
My son Sergey (now he is 26 years and he is an engineer) used to run orienteering in his childhood. Now he is fond of bicycle.
What is your job? How can you manage your professional and sport life?
I'm a coach, that's why it's easy for me to combine them.
What hobbies do you have?
I like picking up mushrooms, and I like Russian baths very much! I also like to swim in the icy water.
What do you expect from WMOC?
I will see the Ocean for the first time in my life! And seriously, I will try my best! I would like to win!
(Interview by Manuel Dias and Aleksandra Schetchikova. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2008 Mar 17th.)
[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