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Novikov and Niggli: Orienteering Achievement of 2013

Niggli and Novikov: Orienteering Achievement 2013Leonid Novikov and Simone Niggli have been awarded with “The Orienteering Achievement of 2013″ titles in the mens and womens class, respectively! Niggli – who finished her international career after this season – won the award for the 5th time with nearly 50% of the votes. Among the men, Leonid Novikov got nearly twice the amount of votes of number two – World Games surprise Vilius Aleliunas from Lithuania.

Anything is possible if you really want to, believe me, I tried! (Leonid Novikov)

The vote has been decided by the big international readership of WorldofO.com – nearly 4500 unique votes from around 60 different countries have been delivered – making these results very representative for the worldwide orienteering community. Big thanks go to all voters and to the event sponsors Five+Five days 2014, EONTours, Sun-o, Cerkno Cup, Bergen Sprint Camp, Lipica Open, North American Champs 2014, 3 days of trenches, Riga Orienteering Week and 3rd Mediterranean Champs.


In the Men’s class Leonid Novikov won with 20.3% of the votes ahead of Vilius Aleliunas with 11.4%, Matthias Kyburz with 10.9% and the Ukrainian WOC relay team with 10.2%. In the Womens’s class Simone Niggli won with an impressive 45.7% of the votes ahead of the Austrian World Games relay team with 18.5%, Tove Alexandersson with 9.6% and Nadiya Volynska with 9.3%. The fascinating stories behind each nomination can be read at the poll page for men and women, respectively.

Orienteering Achievement of 2013 - Men


Interview: Simone Niggli – Achievement of 2013


Nominated for: The Queen of orienteering ends her fantastic career at the very, very top – again winning all three individual World Championships titles. Simone Niggli had tears in her eyes when she announced her retirement from orienteering a week before the World Cup final – and she gave the spectators on home ground in Baden, Switzerland tears in their eyes at her final showdown when she managed to win the last fight in her career – the overall World Cup 2013.

Q: Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2013″ – for the 5th and final(?) time! What an incredible season – and what an incredible career! With so many great results to pick from – what do you think was your biggest achievement this season?

I think there are two main things I want to pick out: Firstly the WOC week in Vuokatti. I really managed to be on the top in this important week and to use the necessary skills in the different disciplines. To be the best in Finland was just amazing! Secondly I’m very proud of my results at the World Cup Final in Switzerland. There was a lot of pressure and media attention around me, especially after my announcement of retiring. Nevertheless I ran in the same way as in a “normal” race and I was very happy with my performances and the World Cup victory.

I remember my fight on the last meter against Hanne Staff, another big orienteer!

Q: As your international orienteering career is finished now, it is also natural to ask which three achievements in your career you value highest – it might not even be the gold medals?
It is a very difficult question. As every gold medal is something special it’s hard to pick out one. I would like to point out some other achievements: my first victory in Venla with my first Scandinavic club Turun Suunnistajat 2002. I remember my fight on the last meter against Hanne Staff, another big orienteer! 2004 I won Venla with Ulricehamns OK, I went out as 4th and came back as the winner. With my present club OK Tisaren we became 2nd at last years 10mila, a fantastic result with a young promising team. With these results I want to show my stations in scandinavic clubs. I have a lot of nice experiences and memories from these clubs which I will never forget!

Q: Can you name three key persons who were important for your achievements in 2013?
Vroni König-Salmi as my personal coach and also coach of the Swiss girls. She helped me a lot with the set up of my training and was a big support even in the periods when it didn’t work too well during winter. My husband Matthias was always a key person in my life. Without him I wouldn’t achieve all the big results! Last but not least my three children Malin, Anja and Lars. They are the biggest joy in my life and they gave me a lot of energy.

Q: You have won countless WOC, EOC, NOC, national championships and big relays – can you name anything within orienteering that you have not won which you have tried to win?
Actually I can’t ! Or perhaps… I’m really motivated to win 25manna once ;-))

Q: Big achievements is one thing – but to get as far as you have, I guess it is important to have fun with what you are doing as well. What is the most fun you have had during orienteering the past year?
It was the 3-months trip with my family in Sweden and Finland. On the one hand I got a lot of nice trainings and competitions in beautiful terrain, on the other hand we had fantastic weeks with the family. I always loved to orienteer in different countries, especially in Scandinavic countries, and I will always do!

For me it’s a relief not to feel the pressure to achieve something in the next season, I can just enjoy.

Q: What do your days look like now in the winter when you don’t have to put in all that training anymore? Do you still get out running nearly every day?

The big difference is that I don’t have to! I still love running and therefore I train nearly daily outside. But there is no plan or goal behind these trainings: I don’t plan how long or how fast I will going to run ;-) For me it’s a relief not to feel the pressure to achieve something in the next season, I can just enjoy.

My days are still well-stocked with my children and the work with media and sponsors which increased a lot the past few months.

Q: A tricky question in the end: There will be opportunities for many others now that you finished your career – who do you think will be the most successful women orienteers in 2014?
I don’t want to pick out one girl because there are a lot of strong runners out there. Personally I really hope for a comeback of Helena Jansson – and watch out for the Swiss Girls!

Q: Any final words to your fans out there?
I’m really honored and glad that I got selected for the “Achievement of the year” for the last time. I take it as a reward for my whole fantastic career and thank you a lot. During all the years I felt appreciated by the fans and the other athletes which is very important for me. I do love orienteering and therefore we meet soon out there in the forest… perhaps a little bit slower but with the same enthusiasm!

Interview: Leonid Novikov – Achievement of 2013

Leonid Novikov: Orienteering Achivement of 2013

Nominated for: The biggest surprise of the World Championships in Finland – both for himself and for everybody else – Leonid Novikov’s Gold medal at WOC middle. And topping it with another Gold medal at the relay the next day after a great relay race for the Russian team.

Q: Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2013″! What an incredible World Championships for you. With the surprise you showed after winning the middle distance, this gold medal was obviously far ahead of your expectations. What was your goal ahead of the World championships?
Thank you! For me the World Championships is a psychological challenge, and when you manage the first place, it means that you coped with it. After the selection in the Russian national team on the middle distance, I realized that I can fight with the best athletes. And I understood that if you run in their own strength at the World Championships, you can get into the top six. I did so, but my opponents ran worse than their best, and so I was the first!

Orienteering is not athletics. You can be strong, but still loose.

Q: Looking at your results from the rest of the season, it looks like you have got up to a higher level after WOC than before? Is your improved results this season more physical or more mental?
I became confident in my physical and psychological training – this is the main thing you need to do to do well. Now to become the best, I need a lot of training – and I do not always train a lot. But well, I know how to do it. Orienteering is not athletics. You can be strong, but still loose.

Q: Can you name three key reasons which were important for your achievements in 2013?
The first is my family. They make it possible to run as I need to. The second is that I’m doing all my life orienteering and I love it. The third is my brother and close friends, without whom I would not do anything.

Q: Your brother Valentin has previously had more success than you in orienteering – with the WOC middle gold medal you have now the best results in the family – does this affect your relation?
I very much love and respect my brother, and this has not changed anything. I think Valentin is just happy for me!

Q: Has the success in 2013 opened any new possibilities for you, for example financially?
Until now nothing has changed. Maybe it is a bad thing, because we ran for fun and nothing depends on the outcome. But I love the orienteering and get a lot of pleasure from it.

I look at my friends and see how happy they are for what I did – and those smiles are the most important thing for me!

Q: Some questions about your training: How much o-technique do you train? Are you more a runner type orienteer or a technical type orienteer? What are your track running records for 3000 meters and 5000 meters?
I do not have a training plan. I usually prepare myself in a short period, and I know what you need to do at what time.

I consider myself a weak runner. This year I want to become a stronger runner. Last time I ran a 3.000 meter was 14 years ago – the result was 9:27. In late December, I will run another 3.000m.

Q: Big achievements is one thing – but I guess it is important to have fun with what you are doing as well. What is the most fun you have had during orienteering the past year?
I look at my friends and see how happy they are for what I did – and those smiles are the most important thing for me!

Q: What do your typical training week look like now in the winter time?
When I am at at home, I run one training each week with orienteering and I try to do two trainings a day without orienteering. I have a training camp every month. In the training camps I run more and faster. Not long ago I was at a training camp in the mountains of the Caucasus where we ran mainly athletics. The following camps will be more orienteering focused – and there I will run 2 times orienteering each day.

Now I am four days at home with the following trainings:
Day 1: Morning – running 40 minutes (pulse to 140), 10 times 200m fast and 10 min (pulse 140) Evening – 40 min easy.
Day 2: Morning – 20 min (pulse 140) + 4 x 800m fast and 20 min (pulse to 140). Evening – 40 min easy.
Day 3: Morning – 1:40 (pulse 160) Evening – Gym
Day 4: Easy 40 minutes

Q: With two WOC gold medals in 2013 – what are your goals for 2014?
I wonder what my psychological state will be at the World Championships in Italy after the victories in Finland. However, I love sprint and I want to try to prepare for it.

Q: Any final words to your fans out there?
Anything is possible if you really want to, believe me, I tried!

Event sponsor: Five + Five days 2014 – 29 September-10th October 2014
  • Prize offered: Package for one person consisting of entry fee and half board accommodation for the second week of Five + Five days 2014 in Montenegro and Puglia (Italy).  Value about 630 Euro. Transferrable to other person.
  • Follow the Sun in Italy and make your summer longer. Five days of orienteering in beautiful Puglia. We have found a fantastic place at the small and picturesque city of Monopoli, approximately 35 minutes driving south of Bari airport, 20 minutes from UNESCO city of Alberobello. The wonderful beach is also next to event center. Read more at www.orienteering.it and www.facebook.com/pwtorienteering.

Training camp sponsor: EONTOURS Training Camp February 24th-March 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: Package for two people consisting of a complete EONTOURS Training Camp February 24th – March 2nd 2014 in Antalya/Kemer, Turkey.  The package consists of accommodation in double room in an all inclusive hotel (incl. soft drinks), transportation to trainings, training maps and t-shirt. Value about 990 euro. Transferable to other persons. Note that competition fee for Antalya-O-Days 2014 is not included in the package (must be paid directly to the Turkish Federation)
  • Turkey is growing into one of the main European orienteering destinations for winter training. Excellent terrain, many high quality maps, nice climate, good food and top service.  More at EONTOURS.com

Event sponsor: Cerkno Cup 2014 – July 15th-20th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 family packages (transferable to other persons) – each for 4 persons – that include entry fees for 3 races, hard floor accommodation during the competition and 4 trainings. Value about 550 Euro.
  • Cerkno Cup is a traditional multiday event in Slovenia, well known for the difficult karst terrains. In year 2014 the event will bring you 6 days of orienteering: 15th – 20th of July. 3 days of trainings will start in the heart of Triglav national park and will finally lead you to the 3 days of competitions in the detailed stony terrains. Cerkno Cup profits will be used to the support of our youth/junior teams. More at www.cerkno-cup.com

Training camp sponsor: Sun-O.com, Sport & Orienteering camps
  • Prize offered: Training Package for 2 persons (transferable to other persons), worth ca. 500 Euro,including 7 nights in Apartamentos Canos de Meca / Barbate and a 15 map O-package, for endless training International Training CentrO Costa de Trafalgar.
  • Sun-o offers orienteering camp packages in South of Europe, combining high quality terrains and varied O-maps, in regions with rich culture and sunny climate – organizing O-camps from from start to finish: car rental, lodging, cultural activities, entries to O-competitions, and, most important, O-trainings on a fine selection of maps, with quality courses and controls in the forest. More info atsun-o.com

Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp – January 31st-February 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each consisting of 2 complete Bergen Sprint Camp packages: Entry for all 4 races + training Friday morning + Saturday evening program consisting of presentation held by World Champion Mårten Boström and dinner. Value about 400 Euro. Transferrable to other persons.
  • For the 5th time in a row, BSC is held in the city center of Bergen, Norway. We provide all participants with challenging courses, good maps and interesting analysis of the sessions – hoping to improve the sprint orienteering technique for everyone. See more at Sprint-Camp.blogspot.no – including all courses and analysis from previous editions of BSC.

Event sponsor: Lipica Open 2014 – March 8th – 12th 2014
  • Prize offered: 3 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Entry to complete 5 day Lipica Open competition + Slovenia training package consisting of up to 3 trainings. Value about 300 euro. Transferrable to other persons.
  • In 2014 Lipica open will for the very first time be organized as a 5 day event. We hope that different types of karst forest as well as one non-karst stage will make this event a great season start for you. And don’t forget about good training possibilities, on some of the forest maps and on sprint maps of nice little towns on Adriatic coast! More at www.lipicaopen.com – for trainings see www.orienteering.si

Event sponsor: North American Orienteering Championships 2014 – October 10th-13th 2014
  • Prize offered: A full NAOC2014 Package for 1 person – transferrable to other person. Including all three races (sprint, middle, long), accomodation (hardfloor or camping), all model maps, all training maps, food (3 hot breakfast, 3 hot dinners including banquet),transport to and from airport. Value approximately 200 Euro
  • This biennial event is the largest and the premiere orienteering event in North America. With national team spots on the line, the best in North America will be there. The host town Arnprior, just outside Canada’s National Capital – Ottawa, is situated on the stunning Ottawa river and we are working together to bring you the best in orienteering and more. Expect the best that North America has to offer and get ready to take control as Orienteering Ottawa welcomes the world from October 10th to 13th, 2014! More at www.naoc2014.ca

Event sponsor: 3 days of Trenches 2014 – May 31st-June 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: 3 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Entry for 3 competitions, sprint, middle WRE and long WRE. A full package of training maps on WOC 2014 training terrains + a shirt for the event. Value about 200 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • The “3 days of Trenches” competitions will be held on 31st May, 1st June and 2nd June 2014 between Trentino and Veneto. Many national teams will use these competitions as final selection races for WOC 2014 so there should be very strong fields. 2014 is a special year for the Asiago plateau because it is the Centenary since the beginning of the First World War. On the Middle and Long terrain all runners will cross a lot of trenches, military buildings and caves used 100 years ago. It will be possible to visit many historical sites. More at the event’s Facebook page: facebook.com/3days2014

Event sponsor: Riga Orienteering Week, 2014 – April 15th-21st 2014
  • Prize offered: Package for two people consisting of: Paid entry to Riga Cup model event, Riga Cup races and Easter sprint, paid accomodation for two in hotel “Baltvilla” from Friday to Monday (3 nights). Value about 200 euro. Transferrable to other persons.
  • Riga Orienteering Week will be a memorable event with 4 training events from Tuesday to Friday, two day competition Riga Cup on weekend and Old Town sprint on Monday. The terrain in Riga area is very flat and detailed, offering very good runability and visibility but keeping the technical challenges interesting. Sprint area is typical medieval old town where high running speed must match route-choice taking skills. All venues are reachable by public transportation in Riga. Money prizes for elite winners, awesome races for all! More information at Magnets.lv

Event sponsor: Mediterranean Championships in Orienteering 2014 – February 21st – 23rd 2014
  • Prize offered: Package for 3 people consisting of entry for MCO 2014 competiton (Middle WRE, Sprint WRE and Long WRE, Model event) + 4 trainings for each person provided by O-Portugal. Value about 200 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • MCO 2013 will be held in Sátão and Aguiar da Beira, close to the area of Portugal “O” Meeting 2012 (winning Course of the Year 2012). The event will have 3(!) WRE competitions – Middle, Sprint and Long distance. O-Portugal has a solid team of technical staff that will guarantee you a nice training camp or competition package in Portugal! More at mco2014.ori-estarreja.pt and o-portugal.pt

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.


  1. It would be interesting to see how the votes distribute over countries.

  2. What I mean is how many voters from each country, not which country voted on which achievement.