Tag Archives: Australian biathlon

Jillian Colebourn: The Interview!

colebourn

Jillian Colebourn is an Australian biathlete. She was born in Sydney on the 9th of January 1995. She has already competed in two Youth/Junior World Championships in Raubichi and Chiele Gradistei. Last season she also took part in the new Junior IBU Cup.

Follow Jillian on Twitter: @JillColebourn

How did you discover biathlon and why did you want to become a biathlete?

I started downhill skiing with my family when I was a child then decided to focus on cross country skiing when I was about 16. That same year I discovered biathlon through the cross country community and decided to try the sport as I had experience with rifle shooting as a Scout, and it sounded like fun!

Is biathlon becoming more popular in Australia? Do you get help from any sports institutes or do you need to raise your own funds?

Australian Biathlon is encouraging more kids to try out the sport and holds training camps and other opportunities to develop the sport. Biathlon in Australia is slowly developing more interest in the areas where members live and are able to volunteer, however the sport is still very small with only about 100 biathletes in total ranging from children to masters and the elite athletes to novices. Some institutes such as my University help to support my training, and the athletes also receive some help from Australian Biathlon, however most of my funds for training and races are raised by myself. I am also very lucky to have KV+ Australia as a sponsor of mine, as they have helped me to access the best poles, race skis and other cross country ski gear.


Can you concentrate solely on biathlon at the moment or are you still in education too?

I am currently studying Full-Time Mechatronic Engineering and Commerce at the University of Sydney, as well as training. However, I have found that I am not able to focus on biathlon as much as I would like, and so have reduced my study load for the next year to part-time so that I can concentrate on biathlon.

Do you train in Australia in the off season? It is winter there so can you train on snow quite a lot? What are the facilities like at Hotham?

I train in Australia for most of the year, except for the Northern-hemisphere winter. In Autumn and the Spring, I do normal summer training at home while I attend university such as roller skiing, shooting, swimming, biking and running. I will spend the majority of winter staying in the ski resort Hotham, as it has the only biathlon range in Australia. Hotham is about 10 hours drive from Sydney, so I will stay there for a few weeks at a time. My university is very supportive, so I continue to stay and train when the semester starts and keep up to date with my studies online. I will also occasionally go to Perisher, another skiing resort closer to Sydney (about 5 hours) as it has good cross-country tracks but no shooting range unfortunately. Currently the range at Hotham has about 12 lanes, with mechanical targets. The facilities are not perfect, but we are a small sport and we have everything that we need, we even have an outdoor drop-dunny!


Can you tell me about last season, what races did you take part in and what results did you get?

Last season I was based in Livigno, Italy where my coach lives and competed in some European National cups such as the Swiss Cup, Italian Cup, Junior IBU cups and the Youth/Junior World Championships in Romania. Unfortunately, I peaked early in the season so I did not perform my best at the JWCH and was disappointed with my results. However at the Junior IBU cups earlier in the season, I consistently place around 40th to 50th position out of about 100 competitors. I was pleased with this result as it is hard to develop as a biathlete in Australia and it was a positive step in the direction of my goals.

What did you learn about yourself last season? Are you working on anything specific that you want to improve for the coming season?

Last season I learned that during competitions I am quite reliably a good shooter. However this came at the cost of having very slow shooting times. I have been working on improving my shooting speed during summer training and aim to improve my racing shooting times during the upcoming Australian Winter season.


What are your goals for this season?

This coming Northern Hemisphere season, I plan to compete in a few IBU cups, some European National Cups and the World University Games. This will be my first time at an IBU Cup so my goal is simply to get a feel for the competition and standards so that I know how to improve for the coming years.

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

My biggest supporter of my biathlon career has to be my parents who encouraged and supported me from day 1. When I first started biathlon they knew nothing about it, but have grown to be large parts of the community here in Australia to support not only myself but the growth of the sport as a whole. However, my biggest inspiration is definitely my coach, Luca Bormolini from Italy. He pushes me to become the best athlete I can be and believes in my abilities even when I do not and I can always trust his coaching.

Do you have a favourite race (sprint, pursuit etc.)? Which is it and why?

My favourite race is a sprint, because I am able to stay focused to ski fast and shoot very well. In longer races, my shooting accuracy tends to vary much more and I find it much harder to maintain focus on ski technique and pushing myself.

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I love Lucy!

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Even as the youngest female competitor at the Sochi Olympics and only the third Australian woman ever to represent her country at the Games Lucy Glanville is probably still not a name people are very familiar with. Australia isn’t the first country that springs to mind when you think of biathlon but it actually has a thriving scene. Obviously with the weather they have it’s hard to convince people to take up a winter sport but they do get snow especially in the ironically named “Hotham”.

Lucy is one of a small band of Australians making a name for themselves in biathlon. Along with Alex Almoukov, Dyllan Harmer and Daniel Walker they are doing a great job representing a country that is not a typical winter sports competitor. The Australians are sports mad though and you know no matter what the sport they will always give it their all.

Lucy was born on the 16th of October 1994 and currently lives in Sydney where she is studying a degree in Art History at Macquarie University majoring in Russian studies. She is a clever one that Glanville as she spends a lot of time in Russia, as that is where the team trains in the summer, so she can combine biathlon and her education.

She was the first female biathlete from Australia to go to an Olympics since Nagano 1998. So you can see how hard it is for Australians to compete in biathlon but also how well Lucy is doing to have qualified aged only 19. Her best finish in Sochi was 78th in the Individual and she came 82nd in the Sprint. She has also competed at 2 Senior World Championships in Nove Mesto and Ruhpolding as well as in the Youth/Junior World Championships.

So as the new season approaches what might we see from Lucy this year. Well like all of the smaller biathlon nations funding is hard to come by and it’s especially important for Australians. Travel and accomodation eats up a lot of their money as they have to stay in Europe for an extended period to compete. It’s not like they can pop home for the weekend! Like many others Lucy will probably spend her time between the IBU Cup and the World Cup. Hopefully she can make more appearances on the World Cup and can improve on her best finish of 78th from Sochi.

A push into the TOP 60 would be excellent progress for the youngster and some better results on the IBU cup are achievable. Mostly it is gaining experience that will help her in the future and an appearance at the World Championships in Kontiolahti can only add to this. She is of course still eligible for the Junior World Championships and will be looking to do well in Raubichi, Belarus. Speaking of young biathletes there are a couple of other girls from Australia, Sabrina Howell and Gabriele Hawkins, who in the future might give Australia the chance to compete in the relays and give Lucy a chance to enter more races.

Continual improvement is all that we want to see from Lucy in the up coming season. It’s a difficult sport and it’s fiercely competitive but she has the talent and determination to do well. You have to respect her for coming to Europe to compete and it also means she can add a few dollars to her lessons(being a professional biathlete!) as she is also a qualified cross-country ski coach! So if you Aussies want a lesson or two you know who to ask! For Lucy it will be another tough season but she is doing a great job which is why I love Lucy and you should too!:-)

Have a look at Lucy’s website: http://lucyglanville.com.au/

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Almoukov:The Blizzard of Oz!

Almoukov

When you think about Australia the first things that come to mind are sun, sea, sand, barbeques, corks on hats and deadly animals. If you think about Australian sport you might come up with Aussies Rules, Rugby Union, cricket and surfing. What doesn’t immediately spring to mind though is biathlon.

Biathlon I hear you cry! But it doesn’t even snow in Australia so how can they do biathlon? Well it does and they do! Not only that but they also have athletes who compete on the IBU World Cup. One in particular made history last season by becoming the first Australian male biathlete to finish in the Top 40 and score World Cup points. His name is Alex Almoukov.

Yes I know what you are thinking, Almoukov? Isn’t that a Russian name? Well of course it is and in fact Alex was born in Russia in Solobo to Russian parents and moved to Australia when he was six. Let’s face it it’s no bad thing to be Russian if you want to do biathlon! But he competes for Australia and considers it his home having spent the majority of his life there.

The 23 year old has recently graduated from University and is a fellow WordPress blogger. You can follow him here and on Facebook. It is an interesting insight into how the other half live. By the other half I mean the biathletes who struggle to get sponsorship and funding rather than the more fortunate who get a lot of support (you can find them at the top of all the standings!). It’s not easy when you compete for one of the countries whose Winter Sports teams are not well supported. Travel costs are high as are equipment costs especially ammunition.

Alex seems to progressing really well despite all of these hardships. He took part in the last Olympics and has shown good improvement especially in the Individual event. However it’s not easy to gain experience on the World Cup circuit as competition is fierce and chances to race are limited due to only the Top 60 or Top 30 being able to start the Pursuit and Mass-Start respectively.

This year the Australian team have been able to go to Russia for some summer training which will be a great help. Unfortunately if you are an Australian biathlete you tend to live in eternal winter. You spend winter in Europe competing and go home where it’s winter again. On the plus side you can spend the “summer” training skiing on real snow in Australia in places like Whisky Flats rather than on roller skis.

So what about next season for Alex? Well he did pretty well in Sochi last season so I am sure he will want to improve on his placing there in the Olympics. A good season for him I think will be to build on his progress from last year and try to break into the Top 40 more often. So next time you are watching biathlon look out for Alex and cheer on The Blizzard of Oz!

You can find Alex on Facebook or read his blog http://almoukov.wordpress.com.

For more information on Australian biathlon see http://www.biathlon.asn.au/

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