Tag Archives: Brian Halligan

Raubichi: Give Youth a Chance!

doherty

For this year’s Youth/Junior World Championships all eyes will be turning to Belarus. The home of Darya Domracheva will be hosting this year’s Championships in Raubichi, a purpose built winter sports complex just 20km North East of Minsk. The Junior WC was first held in 1997 in Forni Avoltri Italy followed by the Youth WC in 2002 in Ridnaun also in Italy. You might recognise some of the former winners. If you are good enough to get a medal here you are joining some illustrious company.

Medalists from the YJWC’s include Andrea Henkel, Olga Vilhukina, Darya Domracheva, Magdalena Neuner and Dorothea Wierer. Some former male champions include Simon Fourcade, Emil Hegle Svendsen, Anton Shipulin, Lukas Hofer, Simon Eder and Jean Guillaume Beatrix to name but a few! This year’s races start with the Youth Men and Women’s Individual on the 18th of February and end on the 24th with the Men’s and Women’s Junior Relays.

The Youth section of the championships is open to athletes who are under 18. To qualify as a Junior you must be between the ages of 19 and 21 by the 31st of December which is the cut-off date for the age ranges. Each country has their own selection criteria by which they select the eligible athletes. Last year’s competition took place in Presque Isle, USA and showcased some great young talent that is coming through in biathlon.

The two biathletes who stood out in the Youth category were American Sean Doherty and Italian Lisa Vittozzi. Curiously they both achieved exactly the same results with both winning gold in the Sprint and Pursuit and silver in the Individual. Other impressive performers were Julia Schwaiger of Austria who won the Individual and Germany’s Anna Weidel who was second in the Sprint and Pursuit behind Vittozzi. France sent a strong team and reaped the rewards with two individual medals, one each for Julia Simon (bronze in the Sprint) and Estelle Mougel (bronze in the Pursuit) and team gold in the Youth Relay. Stand outs among the young men were Germany’s Marco Gross and Russia’s Dmitrii Shamaev who were 2nd and 3rd respectively in both the Sprint and Pursuit. Another young Russian, Yaroslav Kostyukov, won the Individual and Russia also won the relay ahead of Canada and Finland.

vittozzi

There were equally good performances from people just outside the medals who will be pushing to get on the podium this time around. America’s Maddie Phaneuf, Estonia’s Tuuli Tomingas and Russian pair Liliya Davletshina and Maria Ivanova will all be hoping to medal in the Women’s competition although some will be making the move to Junior level. The young Canadian guys will be looking for some individual medals to add to a very impressive Relay silver as will the young Finns who were third.

Last year’s Junior competitions were a little more evenly spread in terms of medalists. On the Womens side a Russian, Evgeniya Pavlova, won the Sprint, a Kazakh Galina Vishnevskaya won the Pursuit and Luise Kummer a German won the Individual. Austria and Canada also had success with Lisa Hauser and Sarah Beaudry. As for the junior men Russia’s Alexander Povarnitsyn won Sprint gold and Pursuit silver. The French team won gold with Fabien Claude in the Pursuit and silver and bronze in the Individual from Aristide Begue and Dany Chavoutier. Norway also turned up at this point with Tore Leren taking Individual gold and Sprint silver with Jarle Midthjell Gjoerven adding Pursuit bronze. The Junior Relays were dominated by the German Team who won both the men’s and women’s races.

Some of these biathletes will be competing again in Raubichi and some are now too old and will be hoping to move to the IBU Cup and hopefully the World Cup for their respective countries. One thing is for sure there is a lot of good young talent in biathlon at the moment and there will surely be new names that come to the fore in Raubichi especially in the Youth Category.

What is important to remember though is that it’s not all about medals and success. For the majority of the biathletes that take part it is great experience for them and hopefully a stepping stone to greater things. You don’t have to win at this level to be a great biathlete just ask Martin Fourcade. For many of the youngsters taking part it is not only a challenge to be selected but just to be able to get to the venue. Many are partly funded or not funded at all and have to raise their own money just to pay for flights, accomodation and food. They all deserve your support and so keep an eye out for all the results not just the TOP 3. So if you don’t normally pay much attention to the Youth and Junior biathletes now is your chance. You never know you could be watching future World and Olympic champions in the making. What are you waiting for – Give Youth a Chance!

I have to say a huge thank you and good luck to Maddie Phaneuf, Robert Sircus, Martin Femsteinivik, Brian Halligan and Mateusz Janik who were all kind enough to do interviews for me in the build up to these Championships! I know you will all do your best and I will be behind you all the way! Tom Lahaye-Goffart and Jarl Hengstmengel won’t make it but better luck for next time!

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Advertisements

Brian Halligan:The Interview!

halligan

This week’s interviewee is another young American biathlete Brian Halligan from Saratoga Springs. The 19 year old currently lives in Fort Kent, Maine. He has already taken part in two Youth/Junior World Championships in Obertilliach and Presque Isle.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @bhbiathlon

Take a look at his blog: http://brianhalliganbiathlon.blogspot.co.uk

Americans play baseball, basketball, hockey, football and want to be WWE Wrestlers! Explain yourself! How did you become a biathlete?

My father was a National Guard biathlete so I grew up around the sport. I was never pushed to do it but I fell in love with it at an early age. My childhood winters were filled with skiing and biathlon so it was just natural for me to do biathlon.

How do you balance training and competing with your education and social life? Are there things you would like to do but can’t because of training?

I will admit that training and racing has kept me from some social outings with friends but they understand that this is something I love to do. Plus they all tell me they are jealous of me because I get to go to Europe. As for education I decided to put university off for a few years to see how far I could get with biathlon.

Will you be competing in Raubichi in the World Youth/Junior Championships? What is the selection criteria for your country?

I have not qualified for Raubichi yet. Qualification for the US is at the end of December. It is a best 2 of 3 race series in Anchorage, Alaska. The top junior athletes within 98% of the leader qualify for the Championships.

(This interview was done before the trials which were eventually held in Mount Itasca, Minnesota and good news Brian qualified not only for Raubichi but also the Open European Championships in Estonia!)

Do you receive any funding? If not how do you pay for equipment, travel etc?

Right now I do not receive any funding. Travel and equipment is paid for by my parents and I.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a biathlete?

I really hate explaining biathlon to people. Nobody in the US knows what it is so they always ask about it. When graduating high school I got so tired of explaining to people I was joining a biathlon team instead of going to university, I started telling people I was just going to University in Maine. The best part of biathlon for me is the racing. I love to race, even during training. My teammates always tell me to slow down because I am going too hard but I love to race.

If you could steal one characteristic from another biathlete, what would it be, who from and why?

I wish I could steal the Bo brothers speed and accuracy on the range. It is always fun to see them come in and shoot clean in 19 or 18 seconds.

What would you like to change about biathlon? (the rules, equipment, schedule etc).

It would be cool if there was a Jr. World Cup. It doesn’t have to be all season, but 2 or 3 stops would be fun and something to look forward to while training in the summer, not just YJWC.

Who is your role model? (in biathlon or in general)

I don’t think I have one role model. I have received so much help and guidance from so many athletes past and present. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In my case it took the biathlon community to raise me.

What’s your typical day like?

My typical day: I wake up at 7:00 and eat breakfast. Then I go to training at 8 or 8:30. Training ends around 11 so I usually eat either second breakfast or first lunch. A little later around 1:30 I’ll eat a bigger lunch. Next, depending on how I’m feeling I’ll nap, do homework, or watch a biathlon race from last year’s world cup. At about 3 I will dry-fire and get ready for afternoon training. Training will end at about 6, then it’s time for dinner, then bed at 10. Some days I have to skip afternoon training because I work in the Deli at the grocery store in Fort Kent.

You are lucky enough to have people like Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey in your team. Do they give you help and advice or are they mean and just ignore you?;-)

I have seen Tim and Lowell as role models my whole life, even though I just met them this year. They haven’t given me advice of any kind but just being able to practice with them and hang out with them from time to time is really cool and inspirational.

Does your rifle have a name?

Haha, no. But when I shoot well I sometimes talk to my rifle.

Describe yourself in three words.

Fun, Focused, Happy

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Nove Mesto, CZE

Favourite biathlete (past or present): Russell Currier (I live with him in Fort Kent)

Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Mass Start

Favourite/best race of your career so far? YJWC, 2014 in Presque Isle. In the Individual I was 18th

Favourite food: Pineapple and Ham Pizza

Favourite singer/band: Twenty One Pilots

Favourite film: Miracle on Ice

Favourite sports team: New York Yankees

Favourite TV show: The Walking Dead.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!