Unwell orienteerer Kauppi gets gratifying news
Head coach: Kauppi’s success in August World Championships is not yet threatened
Finland’s number one orienteering athlete Minna Kauppi is, according to her own words, very concerned about her situation with respect to the upcoming World Orienteering Championships in August.
Kauppi has had a five-week break in her training while recovering from pneumonia
on Friday Kauppi was relieved to hear that tests confirmed that she does not have mycoplasma, a form of pneumonia from which several of the Finnish national cross-country skiing team members have suffered in the past few years.
“Suspicions that I may have mycoplasma arose because my heart rate numbers were not completely normal and this all has been a little bit weird in other respects as well. Starting from the heart almost everything has been checked”, Kauppi told Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday in Porvoo, where she was following as a spectator the opening event of this year’s World Cup.
On top of everything else after pneumonia Kauppi also caught the flu a couple of weeks ago.
Kauppi suspects she got the flu as a souvenir from her husband Pasi Ikonen, who had just returned from a national team training camp in France.
“I still don’t know when I can start earnestly training again. Today I went for a walk around here. Five weeks is a long time without any training. But I want to put my health first. I will not force myself to run if I am not well and end up with myocarditis of something”, Kauppi explained.
Head coach Juha Taini also admitted that he was worried about his number one protégé’s situation. Taini pointed out, however, that Kauppi is an exceptional talent when it comes to her physique as well as her skills level.
The World Championships start in two months’ time.
“Minna can still spend another month convalescing. She is so talented and her foundation is so good that in one month she can bring herself back to a medal-winning shape. Not just anyone can do that, but Minna can. Her success in the World Championships is by no means in jeopardy just yet”, Taini reassured.
Kauppi already missed one national team training camp in the World Championships terrain in France. This means she missed one chance to acquaint herself with the terrain type of the games that is known to be very difficult.
Kauppi and Ikonen plan to return to a training camp of their own in the grounds of the competition venue as soon as Kauppi is able to train normally.
”Minna is quick to get acquainted with different terrain types. She has exceptionally talented in adopting control over the terrain.”
In Taini’s opinion, however, Kauppi now has to think carefully which distances she wants to run in the World Championships.
In Porvoo, Kauppi’s teammates from last summer’s victorious World Championships relay, Merja Rantanen and Anni-Maija Fincke, were the best Finns finishing 8th and 9th, respectively, in the sprint competition that was partly run on the cobblestone alleys of the historic town.
“No gold and glory this time. This was the best I could do”, Rantanen formulated.
Fincke came in first in the morning’s qualifier, but complained about her vigour in the actual final.
“I have not run in a week and a half. I have suffered from flu and pain in my Achilles tendon.”
In men’s sprint the best Finnish effort came from Mats Haldin who came in 15th.
Team Switzerland, in turn, exhibited extraordinarily rare prowess by conquering the first five places.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Minna Kauppi takes Sports Personality of the Year title for 2010 (11.1.2011)
Minna Kauppi personal website
World Orienteering Championships 2011