Shawna Pendry: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Shawna Pendry.

Shawna Pendry is a 17-year-old British biathlete who is based in France. She was born in England but moved to France aged four. She started cross country skiing when she was eight and biathlon at eleven in Font-Romeo where Simon and Martin Fourcade started. Last season was her first competing internationally on the IBU Junior Cup.

Check out her website: https://shawna-pendry.site123.me/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because my best friend cross country skied and it looked fun so I also joined the ski club, a few years later we started shooting and I loved it! Since then I have been doing biathlon.

How do you assess last season overall? Were you happy with it? Was there anything you were disappointed with?

Last season was my first season competing in international races so it was pretty scary but I also learned so much. I am happy because at each competition I had the impression that I was getting better and stronger but also because I reached one of my main goals that was to qualify for a pursuit race. I am not disappointed with anything because I know that with every mistake I made I also learned something.

How do you manage going to school with training and competing in biathlon?

It is hard to do both school and sport especially in winter because I am away so often on competitions but I am lucky to got to a “sporting school” were most of the students are like me so the teachers are very helpful, and then when I am away I have to try and work even if all I want to do is ski and sleep.

It’s not easy being a British biathlete. How are you funded and do you get support from the BBU or train with any of the British team?

I do receive financial support from the BBU who with the aid from their IBU funding cover the majority of my travel and accommodation costs during the race season. I still need to fund my equipment which I do with the aid of my parents and I am always looking for external help like crowdfunding or grants just like the ‘Vincent Budge Award’ from the British Skiers Trust that I am very proud to have just received.
Training wise I train with my local team and I will join the British team for an on snow training camp in the autumn, apart from that I do not do any training with them as I need to stay at school this season.

What is it like training where Martin and Simon Fourcade started? Have you ever met them?

It is really inspiring coming from where Martin and Simon started because I tell myself that they have become some of the best biathletes in the world so why could I not maybe some day? I have already met both of them and they’re really nice, I actually trained just next to Martin the other week when he came back home.

What are your plans for summer training?

For this summer I am training mostly at Font-Romeu and I have 3 training camps with my local team that I am looking forward to.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths are my motivation and determination and my weaknesses are being impatient and skiing up hills.

What are your goals for this season?

My main goal for the upcoming season is to represent Team GB at the Lausanne Youth Olympic games. I also want to qualify myself to as many pursuits as possible!

If you have any time after school and training what do you like to do in your free time?

I love cooking, especially cakes and cookies (they taste so good after a hard training!) and I also like reading.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

Yes, my favorite track is at Sjusjøen in Norway because that is where I shot my first 10/10 in competition and qualified to my first pursuit race, and because Norway is so pretty!

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

My favorite biathlete would either be Tiril Eckhoff or Ingrid Tandrevold because they are both inspiring women and they make biathlon look fun.

Does your rifle have a name?

No it doesn’t but I think if it did it would be something like Gwendolyn or Bernadette!

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined / organized / impatient .

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): the one with unicorns
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Finland
Favourite shooting range: Sjusjøen
Lucky bib number: I don’t have one.
Funniest biathlete on the Junior Cup/Nicest biathlete on the Junior Cup: I don’t really know anyone because I’m shy, come and say hi next season if you’re reading this!
Best thing about being a biathlete: Travelling to awesome places and missing school for it!

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Bruna De Moura: The Interview!

Bruna de Moura is a biathlete from Brazil! The 25-year old comes from Caraguatatuba which is a city in the eastern part of the state of São Paulo. She competes on the IBU Cup and is a regular member of Brazil’s mixed and single mixed relay teams.

Why did you become a biathlete?

I started my athletic career as a mountain biker, but I had to stop because of a serious heart condition. After a long time I had the opportunity to undergo a surgery, after which I couldn’t practice sports for two years according to the doctors. During this time, my MTB-coach got me in touch with the Brazilian snow sports federation (CBDN), and I tried rollerskiing for the first time. Long story short: once I was allowed to practice sports again, I tried mountain biking and quickly gave it up in exchange for cross-country skiing and biathlon.

How do you assess last season overall? Were you happy with it? Was there anything you were disappointed with?

In terms of overall feeling, last season was my worst ever: all kinds of personal problems led to a lot of stress, because of which I decided to end my season as soon as the second trimester of the IBU Cup had finished. On the other hand: purely looking at my results, last season was more than excellent.
I’m happy that despite my problems, I saw significant improvements in my results. A small disappointment was my ability to deal with the stress during the season, but that’s something to learn from and improve in the next few years.

What was your best or favourite race from last season and why?

The Obertilliach Supersprint qualifying because it was a lot of fun and on the track I actually managed to overtake quite a few athletes who I’m normally behind. Apart from that, I managed to shoot well despite competing with a half-broken rifle the entire season. Last, but not least, we were told this race would not count towards the IBU Qualifying Points Ranking, but turns out…it did, and I had my best ever result!

What are your plans for summer training?

Eat a lot and gain some weight for my training period, so once the season starts I can lose the extra weight and in the competitions I feel faster 😉
On a more serious note: I want to improve my skiing technique. I’m running a lot, including a half marathon, and apart from that I recently started practicing judo. This both helps in gaining strength and it’s simply a lot of fun, which helps me to stay motivated.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: I’m good at uphill sections, because I’m strong which for me helps more than having a good technique, specifically on the climbs.
Weaknesses: My overall technique needs a lot of improvement. Shooting is not exactly my strong suit either (yet), mostly because I can basically not train shooting at all before the season starts, meaning I can’t touch my rifle for more than half the year.

What are your goals for this season?

To reach the criteria of the Brazilian federation, so I can get some support from them. If I reach these criteria this season, I can get some basic support for the road to the Olympics.

How are you funded? Do you get any help from Brazilian sports bodies or do you have to fund yourself?

That depends on reaching the criteria. If I reach them, my season is mostly paid for by CBDN, the national snow sports federation. If I don’t, I have to pay pretty much every single euro by myself. I’m trying to find some very much needed sponsors, but especially in a country like Brazil – not known for its cold and snowy winters – that’s not the easiest task.

Who has been the biggest inspiration or supporter of your biathlon career and why?

My biggest inspiration (and supporter) is my boyfriend, Pascal, because if not for him I would probably have stopped a while ago. He helps me a lot to find motivation when I think about giving up and his own change of routines – going from absolutely no exercise to running a half marathon recently, for example – helps me to find inspiration for my own career.

Is biathlon becoming more popular in Brazil? Are more people trying winter sports there in general?

I would not say biathlon itself is getting more popular, but winter sports in general definitely are and with it, slowly, biathlon. The number of people familiar with these sports is of course not big, but it’s certainly bigger than 10 years ago. For example thanks to Leandro Ribela’s ‘Ski na Rua’ (roller ski) project a ton of children are starting to get familiar with rollerskiing. Personally I’m coaching a small group of athletes with physical disabilities in my hometown of Caraguatatuba (say that name 10 times quickly), something I could not even have imagined 5 years ago.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

The Obertilliach sprint track. It’s a sprint track and so it’s shorter, that helps. The uphill sections are pretty hard, but the downhill sections are not very technical, which is perfect for my abilities. A nice bonus is the end of the last downhill in Obertilliach, which finishes with two slightly banked curves: a lot of fun as long as your speed is high enough.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

Laura Dahlmeier was both my favourite biathlete and my biggest biathlon specific inspiration, because she is my age and size, but is so much better than me. Her jumping technique is awesome, specifically on the uphill sections, and her last laps when in her best shape are magical.

Does your rifle have a name?

I don’t even have my own rifle, sadly. If I did, I would probably like to give it a name, although I’m not sure about the exact name yet.

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest, perfectionist*, hungry**
*a little too much, sometimes
**way too much, all the time

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden, first nation with which we worked together.
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Anton Shipulin’s dragon
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): USA
Favourite shooting range: Obertilliach, Austria
Lucky bib number: No lucky number, but 24 (sorry) is my favourite What? THAT’S MY NEMESIS!!!
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Lucas Luquinhas Martins (Brazil), more people should know him.
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Anna Weidel (Germany, World Cup), Gabriela Gabi Neres (Brazil, IBU Cup)
Best thing about being a biathlete: Being allowed to lay down once or twice during a race.

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Season Review 2018/19: Biathlete23!

This season has been a pretty good one for biathlete23. We did manage to get a win on the World Cup but better still added a World Championship gold to the collection! The points total went up from last season and is the third best from 6 years of racing. However it also saw the rise of my mortal enemy, my eternal nemesis biathlete24 taking 2 gold medals in Oestersund. I will have my revenge bib24 just you wait!!! 😉

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points

This season the points total was 852, made up of 410 for the men and 442 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 19th place in the Men’s Overall between Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Henrik L’Abee-Lund and 20th place in the Women’s Overall between Mona Brorsson and Anais Chevalier.

The season stared off in Pokljuka this season and at World Cup 1 biathlete23 scored 78 points. They came from just 3 biathletes with Denise Herrmann 29th in the Individual, Thomas Bormolini 27th in the Pursuit and best of all Marte Olsbu Roeiesland 5th in the pursuit.

Then it was on to Hochfilzen where all 4 biathletes scored points! Susan Dunklee was 34th in the sprint and Simon Schempp was 25th. In the pursuits Julia Simon was 10th and Johannes Keuhn 25th. That made a total of 70 points from round 2.

Nove Mesto was very good to biathlete23! Johannes Boe kicked it off with a win in the sprint! The first of the season! Ondrej Moravec and Tiril Eckhoff were both 18th in the pursuits. Yuliia Dzhyma was 20th in the mass start and Erlend Bjoentegaard was 5th. Thank you Norway! That was 167 points from round 3.

Oberhof was next and 3 out of 4 biathletes took points. Susan Dunklee in her second appearance in bib23 was 10th in the sprint and Tarjei Boe was 8th. Andrejs Rastorgujevs was 26th in the pursuit making a points total of 80 from round 4.

Ruhpolding was not a great round with only 24 points scored from the mass starts by Dmytro Pidruchnyi who was 29th and Justine Brasiaz who was 21st.

The action moved to Antholz for round 6 which saw 99 points earned by Dominik Windisch who was 10th in the sprint, Rosanna Crawford was 34th in the pursuit and Tomas Krupcik was 18th. In the mass starts Denise Herrmann was 13th and Dmytro Pidruchnyi was 26th.

We crossed the Atlantic to Canmore for round 7 but with a race cancelled for the cold weather we only got points for the indiviudal where Vanessa Hinz came 6th for 38 points.

Soldier Hollow hosted round 8 and was a good one for bib23. Franziska Hildebrand was third for a podium in the sprint. In the pursuits Eva Puskarcikova was 22nd and Simon Fourcade was 15th. That meant a total of 93 points from the USA.

At the World Championships in Oestersund it was a mixed bag. Johanna Taliharm got her personal best in the sprint when she was 20th but Lukas Hofer finished 52nd and out of the points. The pursuits went better with an 18th place from Celia Aymonier and a 24th from Johannes Kuehn. In the individual Ivona Fialkova was 70th but Tero Seppala was 31st. Finally in the mass starts Lena Haecki was 30th and Tomas Krupcik 20th. The evil bib24 won 2 gold medals so that really ruined the whole thing! Still biathlete23 earned 94 points from Sweden.

Going into the final round the women in bib23 had 371 points and the men had 372 points so it was just like the race for the women’s big crystal globe – only better!!!

In the sprints Baiba Bendika was 34th and Ondrej Moravec was 37th. In the pursuits Veronika Vitkova was 13th and Jakov Fak 19th. The final race of the season really split the men and women with Julia Simon finishing 7th and Emilien Jacquelin 25th.

There was more success this season for biathlete23 in para-biathlon. America’s Daniel Cnossen won the biathlon sprint in Vuokatti in bib23 and then Ukrainian Taras Rad only went and won the gold medal in the biathlon individual at the World Championships in Canada!!! World Champion – YES!

That brings the medal collection to Olympic gold (Laura Dahlmeier Sprint 2018), World Championship gold (Martin Fourcade Individual 2016) and now Para World Champion. All that’s left is Paralympic gold which will have to wait until 2022 at least!!! I may have to invest in a cabinet! 😉

See the full results on the Biathlete23 page of the blog.

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Oestersund 2019: The Pursuits!

“The winner takes it all
The loser’s standing small”

A perfect summary of today’s women’s pursuit by ABBA. It was absolute joy for one and utter heartbreak for another!

We started off in nice conditions then the wind got up and a snow storm blew in. It was Anastasiya Kuzmina who went off first after her sprint win but her lead only lasted until the first shoot when she missed 2 in the prone.

That left Denise Herrmann and Mona Brorsson out ahead with Laura Dahlmeier and Tiril Eckhoff just behind after all four hit 5/5.

It was a similar story after the second prone with all four hitting 5/5 again. Denise Herrmann pulled put a lead on the tracks from Brorsson in second and arrived in the range first for the standing shoot. Herrmann missed 2 and Brorsson cleaned to leave her out in the lead by over half a minute. Behind them Dahlmeier missed 1 and Eckhoff missed 2.

At the final stand it was not to be for home favourite Brorsson. She missed her first shot and couldn’t recover eventually missing 4 targets in all. It was horrible to watch her fall apart at her home World Championships but it is the first time she has been in this position and there was a lot of pressure on her. I think leading the penultimate loop by herself gave her too much thinking time about the consequences of the last shoot and it got to her.

She is such a nice person and deserved better but hopefully this experience will help her in the future to win races and get podiums. Fingers crossed it is in the next two races!

Back on the range Denise Herrmann was cleaning her five targets and heading off for her first ever World Championship gold medal after just three seasons in biathlon. Quite an amazing feat.

There was a big battle on the tracks for silver and bronze with Dahlmeier and Eckhoff also hitting all 5 on the final shoot. The German was just ahead but Eckhoff was strong on the skis and caught up to her heading to the finish line. Eckhoff was clever and took a tight line into the home straight to make sure Dahlmeier couldn’t get ahead and she took the silver medal for Norway. Dahlmeier got her second bronze in a row.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th coming from 25th even with 4 misses! Hanna Oberg was 5th and Kuzmina 6th.

Anna Magnusson went from 43rd to 11th and Lena Haecki from 53rd to 14th.

The men’s pursuit showed exactly why we love biathlon. The main man who has been winning all season and had a big lead coming into the final shoot looked unbeatable, and then he was beaten! And he was beaten by someone who has never won a race before, in fact he has never made the podium before today!

Johannes Thingnes Boe almost had the gold medal around his neck for most of this pursuit. He cleaned the first prone and set about building on his lead. Martin Fourcade also cleaned and was joined by Alexander Loginov despite his 1 miss for the second loop.

Boe missed 1 on his second prone but had a big margin and held the lead. Fourcade and Loginov also hit 5/5 as did Erik Lesser and Benajmin Weger who were on their tails.

At the third shoot Johannes missed another but again kept out in front. Behind him Fourcade, Loginov, Lesser and Weger all missed 2 and Boe’s lead was maintained. However next in the range were Tarjei Boe, Quentin Fillon Maillet, Dmytro Pidruchnyi, Antonin Guigonnat and Evgeniy Garanichev who all cleaned and found themselves fighting for the silver and bronze.

At the final shoot it all went wrong for Boe missing 3 targets. Even if he had missed just 2 he probably would have won but not 3. Pidruchnyi was the only one of the chase group who held his nerve and cleaned while the others all missed 1.

By this time Pidruchnyi was gone and Johannes was off the penalty loop into second but third was still up for grabs. It went down to a ski race between Fillon Maillet and Tarjei Boe with the Frenchman just that bit faster claiming his second bronze medal in two days.

It was an unbelievable race from Pidruchnyi who is probably not so upset about missing the bronze in the sprint by 0.3 of a second now that he is the pursuit World Champion!!!

Martin Fourcade finished 5th and Andrejs Rastorgujevs was 6th.

Elsewhere Michal Krcmar went from 44th to 25th,Thomas Bormolini from 43rd to 27th and Matvey Eliseev from 51st to 35th.

Tomorrow is a rest day which is lucky as there are a few biathletes who won’t be getting much sleep tonight for very different reasons!!!

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Oestersund 2019: Men’s Sprint!

As reliable as a Volvo in the sprint races it was of course Johannes Thingnes Boe who took the gold medal for the second time in his career. He won the same race back in Kontiolahti in 2015 with exactly the same shooting score. He loves the sprint, doesn’t he! Even though he missed a shot in the stand he still out skied everyone else to take a comfortable victory.

It’s lucky that he is such an amazing skier because the biathletes in 2nd to 8th all hit the perfect 10. The fastest of those taking the silver medal was Alexander Loginov. Even with the perfect shoot he finished 13 seconds behind Boe.

The bronze medal went to Quentin Fillon Maillet. He normally performs better in the 4 shoot races and with such a good starting position for the pursuit watch out for him tomorrow.

Dmytro Pidruchnyi was 4th with a fabulous performance beating the French pair Simon Desthieux and Martin Fourcade into 5th and 6th respectively. In fact he was only 0.3 of a second from the bronze medal which is pretty tough to take at a World Championships.

There was personal best for Vytautas Strolia in 26th and a fun result for the Slovenia pair Jakov Fak and Klemen Bauer who finished with exactly the same time to both finish in 17th place!

Tomorrow’s pursuit will see Johannes Boe chased down by the French who have 3 in the top 6, the Germans who have 4 in the top 12 and of course big brother Tarjei who is coming from 13th but is a bit of a pursuit specialist!

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Oestersund 2019: Women’s Sprint!

Like a piece of flat pack furniture from Ikea, Anastasiya Kuzmina constructed herself a great sprint race in Oestersund. Despite suffering from laryngitis and missing 1 target she was still able to win the gold medal! It was her first at World Championships to add to her two Olympic sprint titles.

She made a fantastic decision to start the race even though she is unwell and proved her choice to continue competing this season was a good one.

It was a strange race with a lot of misses on the range but I suppose that is not so unusual in Oestersund with the tricky wind conditions.
It was the favourites who struggled most however with Tiril Eckhoff missing 2, then Dorothea Wierer missing 2, Kaisa Makarainen missed 2, Lisa Vittozzi missed 3 (unheard of!) and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland missed 4!!! Wierer and Makarainen both had falls on the course which also cost them more time.

Kuzmina missed her shot on the prone but cleaned the stand to come out of the rage just over a second off the lead. That was held by Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold who hit all 10 targets and that would win her the silver medal at her first World Championships. Kuzmina didn’t gain too much time on the uphills but in the last part of track she made up around 8 seconds to secure victory.

Third place went to Laura Dahlmeier who is also sick with a cold. She hit 10/10 and just beat Hanna Oberg by under a second to get the bronze medal. Not the way to make yourself popular with the home crowd!!! Oberg was followed home in 5th by teammate Mona Brorsson, both with a single miss and 6th place went to Denise Herrmann with 2 misses.

Wierer takes back the yellow bib after finishing 10th with Vittozzi back in 21st. With a minute separating the top 20 women we should be in for an amazing pursuit race on Sunday! An if we learned anything from today it’s that it’s best to race when you are sick!!! 😉

There were also a lot of personal bests today of course as it’s International Women’s Day the ladies were keen to show off how fabulous they all are.

Dzinara Alimbekava was 13th, Sari Maeda was 14th, Joanne Reid was 15th, Johanna Taliharm was 20th in bib23!, Irina Kruchinkina was 22nd and Natalja Kocergina was 27th.

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Ruhpolding 2019: The Sprints!

What has the world come to when snow stops winter sport!!! The men’s sprint was cancelled on Wednesday and moved to Thursday because of all the snow in the region blocking roads and generally getting in the way! Seriously it was a good decision as safety has to come first.

So Thursday was a lovely sunny winters day with great conditions for biathlon. The men finally got to race and we got another Boe-dium! Johannes Boe won yet another sprint beating his brother by 8 seconds. It was pretty harsh on Tarjei really as he shot clean and Johannes missed a target. Talk about an annoying little brother. Johannes is skiing phenomenally well just now and is very tough to beat.

Third place went to Benni Doll which pleased the home crowd. He also missed one target. Shooting clean in 4th was Martin Fourcade. I remember the days when he shot clean he was unbeatable. I mean I should remember it was just last season! Alexander Loginov was 5th and Lukas Hofer was 6th both hitting 9/10.

Jake Brown from the USA had a great race shooting 10/10 finishing in 47th for a personal best.

The women’s race was won by my nemesis – bib24! I hate that bib! I love the lady who was wearing it though Anastasiya Kuzmina. It was a great performance from her hitting the perfect ten and winning by 11.5 seconds. Lisa Vittozzi was second shooting 10/10 continuing her amazing season. Third place went to Hanna Oberg who also hit all the targets.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th with 1 miss, Anais Bescond was 5th with 10/10 and Dorothea Wierer was 6th with 9/10. Laura Dahlmeier returned in good form after missing Oberhof shooting clean to finish 9th.

There were quite a few personal bests from the women. Elena Kruchinkina from Belarus was 23rd, Tuuli Tomingas was 31st, Anastasiia Morozova 32nd, Hanna Sola 34th, Caroline Colombo 46th and Larisa Kuklina was 48th making her individual debut after an amazing leg for the Russian relay team in Oberhof.

Weirdly there is no pursuit in Ruhpolding so we move on to the men’s relay on Friday, the women’s relay on Saturday and the mass starts on Sunday.

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