Article from the Examiner 16 Jan 2018
A Finnish world champion is helping bring through the next generation of Northern Tasmanian orienteers.
Mountain bike orienteering world championship relay winner Antonia Haga is halfway through a six-month coach-in-residence appointment at Esk Valley Orienteering Club, where she has been holding bi-weekly training sessions and organising club events.
The appointment comes as a seachange for the 28-year-old, who only last year took out the Finnish MTBO championships and secured a podium finish in the MTBO world cup sprint distance.
But then, Haga has never shied away from trying new things.
“I was a cross-country skier and then I started doing orienteering,” she said.
“The same summer I tried MTBO and decided I liked that one and figured out I’m quite good and could be even better.
“So I started training for that and aimed to win the Finnish championships, which I did a few years later, and I’ve been doing that for maybe 10 years.”
Since arriving in Tasmania Haga has spent time working with former Grammar student and national representative Joseph Dickinson, who only last year visited Haga’s home country for the junior world championships.
As well as testing out the state’s impressive selection of mountain bike and bush-walking tracks, Haga has also taken the time to organise EVOC’s seven-race summer cup, which got under way last weekend.
“The whole Christmas I’ve been preparing (the summer cup) and setting the courses and checking out the terrain and making it happen.
“I’ve had to learn all these new plants and vegetation and terrain because it’s so different and you do a lot of sprint stuff in the parks and the city, (whereas) we do almost all of our orienteering in the forest - it’s very rare to have anything in a park.”
The summer cup will conclude this weekend with races in Evandale and Weymouth.
Article: Courtesy of the Examiner
Photo: LEADING THE WAY: Finnish mountain bike orienteer and Esk Valley Orienteering Club coach-in-residence Antonia Haga. Picture: Hamish Geale