Alejandro Aguilar, from Malaga, won Spain's first ever gold medal in trail orienteering at the European Trail Orienteering Championships, which was held between 25 and 29 May in Espoo, Finland.
Aguilar's achievement, which was impressive given that trail orienteering is usually practised in Scandinavia countries, was a first for a Spaniard. He conquered the PreO trail category, which is an extremely technical discipline in which the physical aspect is greatly reduced.
The Andalusian competed in the P class, which is for the physically challenged, which he won on both days of competition and two points ahead of his closest challengers.
In PreO trail, each competitor receives a map, on which several points are marked. Each marker has to be identified on a set path, with the only limitations being to stick to the pre-determined course and to not use more time than the maximum allowed.
"I could have hoped for something given what happened in previous days," Aguilar said, in reference to his victory in a warm-up competition. "Before travelling, the best I believed in was to better the other Spanish competitors. But from that point to winning gold... I can't believe it. I still haven't taken it in."
Aguilar, who suffers from hip and back pain due to an oversized femur that brushes against his tendons, has been doing trail orienteering since he was ten years old.
His injuries got the better of him and he stopped when he was a late teen. However, at Malaga University, where he studies, he was hooked back in and it was there he discovered PreO trail, and he has been competing ever since.