With the World Championships starting in Hochfilzen on the 9th of February I spoke to a biathlete who will be making his first appearance at the Senior event. Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson has burst on to the World Cup this season and has six Top 25 finishes already. He is from Sollefteå and was born on the 28th of March 1997. His best result on the World Cup so far is 13th from the Sprint race in Nove Mesto just before Christmas.
Follow Sebastian on Twitter: @SebbeSamuelsson
Read his blog (Swedish): http://sebastiansamuelsson.se/
Why did you become a biathlete?
I started cross-country skiing when I was nine years old. A year later the Swedish Biathlon Championships were held in Sollefteå where I lived. I watched the competitions and immediately wanted to try it out. I did and have liked it ever since!
This is your first season on the World Cup. What has it been like?
An adventure! I never expected that I would do this well in my first year and I am just trying to enjoy every minute! The competitions are similar, but everything is bigger and the big crowds make it a really nice party.
Your best result so far on the World Cup was 13th in the Nove Mesto Sprint. Can you describe the race? Did you think you would do so well so quickly?
It was the third week of World Cup competitions for me, and not being used to it, I was tired. I did not feel so well in the days before. The zeroing was really bad and all this made me feel more nervous than before. We had really good skis that day and I skied behind Simon Schempp on the first loop, that gave me confidence. Zero in the prone and still feeling strong. The coaches screamed that I was skiing like the leaders so I knew that I was doing a good race. One miss in the standing and then I made my best final loop this year. I never expected to be 13th with a penalty loop in good conditions and that is why it was so fun!
Wolfgang Pichler is your coach and moved you onto the World Cup. What is he like as a coach and what has he helped you to improve?
He is demanding, but in a good way. He is very ambitious and always gives 100 %. He is one of the best coaches I have had. The best thing with Wolfgang is that you learn what it really takes to be a world-class athlete. There are no shortcuts, just hard training! He helps me improve in many ways.
You did not race in Oberhof. Was that planned or did you just eat to much at Christmas? 😉
Ha ha, both. I ate a lot, but it was already planned that I would skip Oberhof to prepare myself for the World Championships in Hochfilzen.
You will be taking part in your first Senior World Championships in Hochfilzen. Are you excited or nervous? Have you raced there before? What are your personal goals for the races?
Not so nervous, not yet at least. Just excited, it will be so much fun! I have never been there before. If I make one Top-20 I will be more than happy.
The whole Swedish Team are doing really well this season. Do you think you have a chance of a medal in the Relays in Hochfilzen?
We have all improved a lot! I think we have a good medal chance in all three relays.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I think I am quite a good all rounder. I have to improve on all parts to become a world-class athlete!
Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?
Hallstaberget in Sollefteå of course! It is where I do most of my training. The course is hard and the shooting range is good. You should visit me and try it out!
Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?
Hmm, I think I would give a different answer depending on when you ask me. But I will go with Johannes Bö, he is young and always aiming for first place!
Does your rifle have a name?
No. If someone has any ideas, let me know.
( As you are Swedish may I suggest Gunnar Riflesson! 😉 )
Describe yourself in three words.
Positive, ambitious and happy.
Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Great Britain with Scott Dixon and Amanda Lightfoot of course! We train with them during summer and autumn.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Norway
Favourite shooting range: Hallstaberget, Sollefteå
Lucky bib number: 19, still waiting to get it at the World Cup.
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Outside of our team, Simon Fourcade is the one I have spoken with the most.
Best thing about being a biathlete: All the nice people and the chance to challenge yourself.
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