Rene Zahkna is an Estonian biathlete who was born on the 2nd of October 1994 in Võru. He made his World Cup debut in 2014 and achieved his first Top 40 result last season. He had a successful junior career winning medals at the Youth Olympics in 2012, the Junior World Championships in 2013 and in the Junior European Championships in 2014 and 2015. He also loves emojis! 😉
You can like his Facebook page: Rene Zahkna (Sportsperson)
Why did you decide to become a biathlete?
When I was about 8 years old and my father was the head coach of the national biathlon team, I got to shoot other biathletes’ rifles and I was instantly hooked by shooting. In my hometown I actually tried many different sports from judo to volleyball but I got the first taste of biathlon competition when I was 12 years old. I wasn’t good at shooting but I could ski fast and when I got my fifth place medal (for kids, the top 6 got medals), I told myself that this is what I’m going to be good at.
What was it like competing at home in the Summer World Championships? Were you pleased with your performances?
I was really happy that the SBWCH was in Estonia and I had no problems with motivation. But what I did have, was huge problems with my new rifle stock. I got a new French rifle stock but I just couldn’t hit the prone targets with a high pulse. Sprint 2+0, pursuit 3+3+0+1. Then I realised, there is no chance I’m going to compete with this stock in winter. So now I’m back to my old stock which is working perfectly and I even had camouflage printed on it.
You got your best finish on the World Cup in the Ruhpolding Individual last season. Can you describe the race? How did it feel getting your first points finish?
Skiing wise I got lucky because it stopped snowing at the end of the race, so the snow conditions got really good for me, most of the top athletes started at the front. To be honest, I really was planning to shoot clean and I was bit frustrated when I missed the last shot of the second shooting. 34th place with 2 penalties, I was really happy and pumped up. I continued racing well in Antholz, where I got a point from the pursuit.
How do you assess last season overall? Were you happy with your results?
Last season competition-wise went well, I wasn’t expecting points after my military service and 2 injuries. But I gained weight 😐 when in service, so I’m also working on that.
What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan until the season starts?
I have done everything our coach has planned plus extra body strengthening but health-wise, everything is not going according to plan. I’ve been sick🤒😷 in all three training camps in Obertilliach 😩
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strength is precise and fast shooting and my weakness is the other quite important thing, skiing 😅
Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?
I can’t tell you yet where my ultimate favourite track is because there are still places I haven’t been to but so far Antholz is very cool because of the wide and fast track, there are no huge hills where you just want to stop and die 😵
Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?
Emil Hegle Svendsen because of his skiing style, he can glide perfectly.
Does your rifle have a name?
Does anyone have a name for a rifle? 😂 (Of course they do!)
Describe yourself in three words.
I LOVE football.
Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Anton Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): France 2013
Favourite shooting range: Otepää
Lucky bib number: 17
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Kauri Kõiv
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Kaisa Mäkäräinen
Best thing about being a biathlete: Freedom
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