Who is Who
Paulina Majova, W55, SVK
Picture: Paulina Majova and Stefan Maj with the portuguese champion Marco Póvoa (middle), after a race in Vila Real (Portugal) on 2004 October.
You have got quite good results in Masters W50: 10th in Italy 2004; 6th in Canada 2005; 36th in Austria 2006; 22nd in Finland 2007. Do you have any special memories from these events? (You can select only one or two events and talk about it).
Memories from these events are fairly general and relates mainly to big mistakes I did in final A in each of these events and therefore the results could have been better. From special memories that I can name are from Canadian Masters where I registered wilderness and nature. The country is very big, with lot of areas without human touch and fearless animals and therefore reading the recommendations for close encounter with black or brown bear sounded more realistic than in any country I was competing.
Did you have any better result in a previous WMOC?
My best result in WMOC was 2nd place in Czech Republic in 1998 in category W45.
And besides WMOC, which other highlights can you indicate in your sporting career?
In a past I used to do athletic disciplines either on stadium or long distances on open road as well as several cross competitions. My personal best result is 9:42 on 3,000m and I also have several medals from Slovakian and Czechoslovakian championships in athletic. However I believe that more highlights are rather from my coaching career.
Portugal 2008 will be your first participation in W55. What do you think that you are able to do? Who else in your class is in a favourite position to reach the podium?
I am looking forward visiting Portugal again. This is my first year in W55, which make me feel young. A good result for me is rather good feeling from the run, not making unnecessary mistakes and most of all enjoying myself. There are lot of women that can reach the podium, to many to even list, however for me the most important is the long term goal of attending WMOC in category W90. I believe that in this category the podium is mine.
Next summer we will have for the first time in WMOC a Sprint Race (Qualifying and Final). Do you like this new situation? Personally, does it suit your abilities and skills?
I like all kind of competitions as for me it means being active. I did run sprint in the past and therefore I believe that it should not be a problem to repeat it again.
Please, tell us something about orienteering in Slovakia.
Slovakia is a small but nice country, with lot of options for orienteering. Orienteering community is fairly small when comparing with other sports. The most favourite sports within Slovakia as in other countries are ice hockey and football. During the year there are several orienteering competition organized for schools and the best runners are nominated for Slovak Championships for pupils. Usually these competitions have around 1,000 competitors in initial rounds. Regarding "standard" orienteering events there are usually only 250 competitors and these includes Slovak Championships, Slovak national cup and other events organized by various clubs in Slovakia. From multi-day events the most recognized is Grand Prix Slovakia, which already has 33-year tradition with participation varying from 600 to 1,500 competitors. Slovak orienteering association organized several international events such as World University Orienteering Championship, European Youth Orienteering Championship, World Cup, World Championship in Mountain bike orienteering, Junior World Championship in ski orienteering.
Give us a reason to go Slovakia for an orienteering race.
Slovakia has a wide variety of terrains from sandy and flat terrains with pine trees, through Carpathian style fast terrains with oak forests, different styles of rocky terrains as a result of agricultural or mining activities, mountain terrains, terrains with steep channels after erosion to negative terrains with depressions and pits. Competitions are in most cases have no restriction in attendance for participants and I can say that in most cases are also well organized. Slovak economy is fairly dynamic with rich cultural and natural monuments. The country is safe and fairly cheap.
Marian Davidik, Lukas Bartak, Michal Krajcic, Pavol Bukovac, Martina Rakayova, Jana Macinska are some of best Slovakian top Elite. Do you know any of them? Do you have any particular story?
As mentioned before, the number of active orienteering runners in Slovakia is fairly small and therefore we know each other pretty well. Therefore all of the names you have mentioned are well known for me as well as for the rest of Slovakian orienteering community. I am a personal trainer of Marian Davidik, Lukas Bartak and Michal Krajcik and Marian is under my "wing" since his seventeen. I have a lot of memories with these guys both funny as well as dramatic. I remember celebrating first Junior World Orienteering medal in Romania as well as other medals from JWOC in Belgium, World University Orienteering Championship in Czech Republic and winner of World Cup in Belgium. I also have good memories from World Cup in Portugal, where Marian reached 5th place in terrains close to coming World Master Orienteering Championship. There are number of memories from training camps, where Portugal is also one of our destinations.
What is your date of birth? And where do you live?
Well... I don't know how about in your country, but in my country it is not very polite to ask woman's age (laugh), however as indicated before it will be my first year in W55 so you can pretty much do the math...But anyway to answer your question I was born in 6th August 1953 and I am living in the capital city of Slovakia - Bratislava.
Did you practice any other sport?
As already mentioned, in the past I used to do athletic mainly running. Between my other sports I can include skiing, cross country skiing in the winter and occasional biking and in-line skating in the summer time.
How did you discover orienteering and for how long have you practiced it?
In my 23-24 years of age I was in really good athletic shape, when my current husband introduced me to the secrets of orienteering and took me to the forest. I have discovered passion in orienteering as well as in my husband since that first time.
What do you enjoy most in orienteering?
Orienteering is permanent challenge, where every control point is partial fulfilment of a goal. In orienteering the number of variation in reaching the finish line is endless, which require both solid physical and mental skills of competitor. An orienteering competition maintains you in shape and boost your mind that usually last long even after race is finished. And last but not least an orienteering competition allows you to discover the beauty of nature in number of countries and to meet new people from all over the world.
Which best events have you been to?
It is hard to tell which was the best as during my life I have taken part in huge number of competitions, however for me a good competition equals precise and quality map and well set track, that perfectly match both physical and technical abilities of a category. There are number of such competitions. I believe that it is ability of any country, whether big or small with major or minor orienteering base to organize interesting and quality competition. I am not a big fan of terrain with high dense bushes, high grass or stinging-nettle. Also very bad weather can easily ruin organiser work and good intentions.
How many times have you competed in Portugal? Did you like the terrains?
I have been in Portugal several times and always looking forward to return. In total I have spent approximately 3 months of running between Lisboa and Porto across the coast with several trips to interior as well as northern of Porto. I took part in very professionally prepared training camp in Mira with very interesting terrains. I have enjoyed it more like vacation rather than preparation of trainings for my team, which is also underlined by fact that one of my favourite terrains includes coastal flat terrains with pine trees. I have also enjoyed and found interesting terrains around Évora, stony fields northern of Porto (Alvão) as well as park orienteering in cities. My cupboard is filled with trophies from Portuguese competitions that are connected with lot of great memories. Once my husband was carrying a giant trophy from POM, which did not fit into my luggage and drew a lot of attention on the airport. Many people were asking whether I had won a tennis cup (laugh).
Besides the orienteering races, which are your best memories from Portugal?
Some of my best memories from Portugal include visit of Fatima during celebration, sightseeing of historical parts of Lisboa, visit of Expo area, friendly people and tasty wine Verde and Porto.
Where else have you been doing orienteering outside your country? Do you have any special memories from an orienteering travel?
I have competed in number of European countries and I believe it is easier to tell in which I did not compete. I also competed in Japan, USA and Canada. Whenever an orienteering trip is planned, points of interest are included in my agenda. From special memories I can mention national parks of Utah such as Arches, Brice and Grand Canyon that were spectacular.
Do you remember your best (perfect) race, or the worst, or the most exciting?
Well I believe that I am still waiting for my perfect race. However my worst race was the first one when I was 23 years old novice that could run really fast without poor orienteering skills. I remember running over 15km on 5km and very simple track, when I reached finish line after hour and a half with one missing control point. At that time I told myself: "I need to learn this."
Who are your heroes in this sport?
For me heroes are top runners that are currently represented by Thierry and Simone. However I also classify as heroes mapmakers such as Zdenek Lenhard CZE, whose maps I see as piece of art; trainers that need a lot of skills to do their job; organisers that ensure smooth competition for satisfaction of dozens or thousands of competitors; IT specialists that carve orienteering from forest to web sites to bring it closer to the public; and last but not least competitors who decided to move their a.s.s. from TV/PC to face the challenge of unknown and finish the track from the start to the finish.
Do you have any responsible position in your club or in your federation?
I am an active member of KOBRA orienteering club and a trainer of several runners. KOBRA's men are regularly members of Slovak national teams. I have been working with Slovak national teams since 1993, where I have worked with number of juniors and seniors as trainer and most of male part of national team cooperated with me during those years. Due to lack of trainers the leadership for national team was very limited with cases of one team leader with aggregated duties. These cases had its positive and negative sides. The advantage was in application of democratic principles, where decisions were taken by one leader. The disadvantage was in cases of failures where responsibility was taken by the same one leader. Anyway it was very interesting job. I transferred these responsibilities to Jozef Pollak last year, who was a member of national team for number of years. I needed a break and from performance of Jozef Pollak I can say that he is doing his job very well and I hope that he will continue in the future. However I am still involved as personal trainer.
Have you ever organized an orienteering event?
My club organizes between two and five events every year. We have organized Grand Prix Slovakia for a number of times, World Cup in High Tatras and PWT in Bratislava. We are actively searching for new terrains and places for orienteering across Slovakia. As the number of members in my club is fairly small, everyone take part in organisation. I am usually involved in number of organisational tasks such as design of tracks or a member of jury. The aim of my club is to organize competition on high quality maps with minimum of failures and I believe that we are keeping this trend from the very beginning and we have a good reputation. In terms of good memories, these usually come after each completion of an event as during organisation it is always challenging.
Your husband, Stefan Maj, is a very good orienteer too. Do you train together? What kind of training do you use to do?
My husband Stefan is very ambitious runner as well as very busy man in professional life with unbelievable sense of responsibility (he is the Deputy chairman and Chief Financial officer of the largest bank in our country), which is really hard to merge. The day has only 24 hours, which is for man like Stefan not enough. Therefore we train together whenever it is possible mainly through the weekend. During the week he breaches most of the rules of effective training and nutrition, when he trains early in the morning before the work or in late evening between 19.00 and 20.00. Unfortunately I can not accept this as a solid training process however I can not imagine anything better as relax after stressful day in work. During the week he is trying to have 4-5 hours of physical activity, even during business trips sportswear is a must for him. During preparation of competition he likes to visit control points or run the whole track. We both like to discover new orienteering destinations where we can both enjoy our passion. Sometimes he also joins me during training camps.
Do you have any special program of training to WMOC?
I do not plan any special program of training for WMOC, however KOBRA is organizing a spring competition in similar terrain as WMOC, so this will be for sure utilized as part of preparation. Both me and my husband would like to compete in Portugal or Spain during cold months. For me a good preparation for WMOC is a continuous training without major breaks of illness or injuries.
Do you have any orienteers else in your family?
My sons Andrej and Michal joined us in most of orienteering competitions until becoming adults. Andrej was a member of Slovak junior team for two years. His best results were 25th place on classic distance in JWOC 98 in France and he loses a podium place in relay at the very end in the finish line in same JWOC's. These days his main focus is work and from sports he rather enjoy in-line skating and skiing. Michal invented a new term in "N" category where on marked track instead of taking a shortcut he used to take "longcut." These days he rather prefers biking and skiing.
Does your family support your sporting ambitions?
My family accept my activities. My sons are already on their own with their own activities; however they took part on organizing competitions or helped me during international competition with the national team. I have a great support in my husband and I believe that exemplification was already mentioned above. We are both also heavily supporting whole operation of our club. My husband was also involved in Slovak Orienteering Association as a chairman and support orienteering in Slovakia. We are both doing this to the extend we can.
Do you have any special care with what you eat? Which is your favourite food? And what do you never eat or drink?
I have a lot of experience in proper nutrition however anytime there is a good food on the table these are sometimes forgotten as sometimes I eat very unhealthy food. I eat anything that is not running from the plate. My favourite food is schnitzel with fires and my husband likes meat-sausage with anything, which anyone of us should not eat. There are many meals and drinks I have never eaten, however I am working in continuous decrease of this through experiencing international cuisine whenever I can.
What is your job? How can you coordinate your professional and sporting life?
My job is sport as I work in Slovak National Sporting Centre as a methodologist. I work with coaches and athletes, who are in most cases members of national teams in their disciplines. My portfolio also include orienteering and athletes that were mentioned earlier Davidik, Bartak, Krajcik and Bajtosova (mountainbike orienteering). Part of preparation of these athletes is at premises of my work under supervision of other professionals. Being active and fit is basically my scope of work. My employer tolerates my involvement in orienteering; however he is not very interested in my personal results.
What are your hobbies besides orienteering?
Beside orienteering my hobbies includes my little garden and flowers around and in my apartment in Bratislava as well as little cottage with bigger garden in place where I was born that require lot of "goofing" around. I also love photography.
Can you suggest a book, a film or a music that we can't miss?
I like documentary movies, listen to pop and country music and I am mainly reading daily news rather than books.
What are your favourite websites or blogs?
My favourite web site is www.worldofo.com, where I can find lot of interesting and useful information and addresses to blogs of interesting people. I read national blogs about economy, politics and sport.
What do you expect from WMOC 2008?
From WMOC I expect nice active vacation on the coast socializing with people of same passion in orienteering. I expect outstanding organisation, technically difficult tracks, friendly atmosphere and tons of new experiences and adventures.
Can you tell us something about the Slovakian group in this Masters?
There will be several members of my club attending WMOC as well as members of other Slovakian clubs. I can not tell how many of them are coming as many of them did not submit their entry form. For me the most important person in Portugal is my husband that will join me. However I can tell that anyone who is coming from Slovakia is looking forward this competition, as many of us would like to perform the best we can.
Can you give any special message to the other participants?
It is not important to win, but to participate.
(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2007 Nov. 24th.)
[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