Who is Who
Gottfried Tobler, M60, AUT
[Picture - Gottfried with his wife, Barbara, and their daughter Bati Tobler. Both ladies also will come to Portugal. The photo was taken during the WMOC 2006, where Gottfried was Event Director. Happiness is shining on their faces after a very successful event.]
You were Event Director in Austria WMOC 2006, which Jörgen Mårtensson considers "one of the best organised 'mass-events' in orienteering so far". Can you remind us the main difficulties you had to organize WMOC and how did you surpass it? Which sensation have you experienced during the prize-giving ceremony, looking back to the event that you achieved in a so good way?
Thank you for this compliment. I guess our biggest difficulty was obtaining permission to use the private Austrian forests. The forests in our country have many different owners, so we had to work with about 1000 different people. Fortunately, the Lower Austrian forest owners were very enthusiastic and helpful, as they have been over the last 25 years. At the prize-giving ceremony I was very thankful. Thankful for the event running smoothly, thankful that there were no serious injuries and just thankful that, overall, the event was a positive and fun experience.
What was the main advantage of Wiener Neustadt WM? How many people worked in different teams? When and why did you think for the first time that you could be candidate to organize it? And when did you start working on it?
One of our great advantages was the landscape itself. After searching for two years, we were able to find venues that provided a challenge for the runners and a good place for spectators to cheer them on. There were about 250 people working together to organise the event. Most of them were from our local club, which increased the cooperation within and between the groups a lot. We applied for WMOC in 2001 because the club was looking for a new challenge and we knew Lower Austria would be a great venue. The day we decided to apply for the event was also the day we began working. In 2003 I retired from my position as school principal and was able to concentrate solely on organising the 2006 event.
I noticed your presence in Italy 2004 and Canada 2005. Of course you were there as more than a mere competitor - you were a special observer. What did you "learn" at Asiago and Edmonton in order to improve or to avoid at Wiener Neustadt? Did you enjoy these events?
Yes, we enjoyed these events very much. But we were there as a group to observe the organisation and of course anything we thought we would like to change for the 2006 event. Every venue has is own logistics problems, for example the long distances between event centre and competitions, or having a sufficient transportation system.
Last WMOC, liberated from organization responsibilities, you could live orienteering carefree. How do you remind Finland 2007? Did you have good races? Did you like the atmosphere?
Finland was for us pure enjoyment. The atmosphere of the event was wonderful, and we could relax and be competitors instead of organisers. In addition, we have good friends in Ruka/Kuusamo who we have known since 1995 through our school - partnership.
What was for you the best event (excepting WMOC 2006!!) where you have been?
There are too many highlights to list here. Each event brought with it many fond memories.
Prague Easter, Meeting of Venice, Highland Open (Italy), Thermenland Open and Lipica (Slovenia), Jurisics Cup (Hungary), Midnattssolgaloppen (Norway), Barebones (Canada)... Do you have special memories from any of these orienteering travels?
We always have fun at the events and sometimes everything comes together - the weather, the venue, the people - that make it perfect. In Norway, at the Midnattssolgaloppen 2007 in Tromsø, we were able to compete into the Nordic night with the clear blue sky and daylight. It was a very special experience. The Barebones in Canada brought back childhood memories of reading Karl May and imagining the rolling hills, the prairies and maybe an Indian tribe or some bisons.
I can imagine that results are not the most important for you...
The results are truly not my priority. It is important to me to enjoy the sport and to meet many friends, new and old.
As an IOF Advisor, from which event do you have the most rewarding memory?
I don't have much experience in this function. However I was advisor at the European Youth Championships in Eger/ Hungary and I enjoyed the event very much.
Barbara Tobler (W60) and Bati Tobler (W35) are coming with you to WMOC. Can you introduce them to us? In Austrian races we also can find Michael and Gabriela Tobler...
My wife Barbara is my better half. She was the one who convinced me to organise the 2006 event. My daughter Bati began competing as a young girl. She participated in 2 WOC, winning a bronze medal at the 1994 World University Championships (relay) in Switzerland. Our son Michael was a member of the Austrian elite team for many years, which is how his wife, Gabi, was introduced to the sport.
How did you discover orienteering? Do you remember your first races?
30 years ago the Austrian Army offered an introductory O-course to interested teachers and pupils. My first race was a night race in Vienna. I of course didn't have all the necessary equipment and had to read my maps by the streetlights. Because I was teaching at a school with an emphasis on sports it was easy to build up an O- group within the school.
Can you give us a "quick image" about orienteering in Austria? Who are the Elite stars? How many races during a year? How many competitors in a race? How important is your club?
In Austria, Orienteering must compete with long- establishes sports such as football and skiing. However I'm lucky to be the president of the largest club in Austria, the HSV OL Wiener Neustadt. In Austria we have races every weekend with 500 to 600 competitors national or 200 competitors during local events. Our Elite stars are Thomas Krejci, Gernot Kerschbaumer, Markus Lang, Pierre Kaltenbacher, Anita Seeböck and - of course - Lucie Böhm.
You and Barbara also practice ski-O. Did you enjoy ski-WMOC last January in Switzerland?
We enjoy ski-O a lot, also it means we have to travel to the events as there is not enough snow in our area. The venue of WMOC'08 in Switzerland was spectacular, its one of our favourite cross-country skiing areas.
Last March you have been to Spain Championships in Murcia, which terrain maybe you already knew since Veterans World Cup'96. Have you been to other events or trainings during this travel?
This year during the Easter holiday, 35 of us went to Guardamar to train in sandy terrain as a special preparation for the WMOC in Portugal. This was the first time that our club organised a special training in Spain.
What do you expect from WMOC 2008? Have you ever competed in Portugal?
We are looking forward to a very different and interesting event. The terrain is not completely new to us, as Barbara and I have run there before. But every event has its own atmosphere and brings with it its own special memories.
(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2008 Apr 4th.)
[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