Tag Archives: British para nordic

Callum Deboys: The Interview!

Callum Deboys is a para nordic athlete from Great Britain. The 23 year-old comes from Kirkmichael, South Ayrshire in Scotland. In 2017 he was involved in a motorcycle accident which resulted in the amputation of his left leg. Last season was his first on the Para nordic World Cup where he competes in the sitting category in both biathlon and cross-country skiing.

You can follow Callum on Instagram.
Check out his website: https://deboys.co.uk/

Why did you become a Para nordic athlete?

After my accident the best recovery for me was to set myself challenges and also just being in the right place at the right time. I was training to become a rower at Strathclyde park with my coach John Blair and he then put me in contact with Scott Meenagh. Scott gave me the opportunity to come and train with the AFPST (Armed forces para snow sports team), at the snow tunnel in Germany. I just fell in love with the sport.

Did you do any sports before your impairment?

I used to play rugby through school and done some cycling as a hobby, although in the years before my accident I hadn’t done much due to working as a chef.

Did you know anything about nordic sports before you started?

I didn’t know anything about Nordic sports.

How difficult have you found learning to cross-country ski?

It has been a very challenging journey so far, both mentally and physically. When I started my fitness wasn’t great and I wasn’t very strong, I found it very hard physically to begin with. When I became fitter and stronger everything came with it, my technique improved as I could better control the seat. The most challenging part so far has been cornering, especially finding an edge of the ski, there is such a fine line of too much or not enough. Having the mental connection to the physical movement is very difficult to begin with. Safe to say I’ve had a few bruised elbows.

Tell us about Frank.

Frank or Frankenstein is my rig. I named him this as he’s been cut, bent and fixed more times than I can remember. Frank is now bomb proof, but all the support comes at a price as he is pretty heavy. Hopefully Frank will be going into retirement this season as I have had a new frame built by S&C Engineering in Kilmarnock.

You have only done a few biathlon races so far. How did you find them?

Very interesting and challenging, the few races that I’ve done I absolutely loved. I thought cross country was hard until I tried biathlon. Having only done a few days training I’m looking forward to getting loads of shooting done throughout the year.

What are your plans for summer training?

I like to mix my training up to keep it interesting and exciting, either roller skiing, cycling or swimming. I do most of my cardio vascular training on cycle paths near Ayr or the canals in Glasgow and strength and conditioning is in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. We have several training camps throughout the year starting from July. I love getting away to the snow tunnels through the summer to change up training and continue learning good technique on snow.

Do you have somewhere to train for shooting over the summer?

I can train at a local farm around a mile from my house, as well as at Scott Meenagh’s house. We are also planning on shooting at a few training camps this season as well.

What are your goals for this season?

My main goal for this season is to improve on my times and positions from last year but remembering I had surgery at the start of the year. Second goal is to improve my technique and control on the rig which will in turn help me improve my times. Lastly to just get in amongst biathlon and do my best.

How are you funded?

Self Funded and help from sponsors. I have received an Athlete Perfomance Award, a sportaid Scotland award and a Caf grant, with some additional help from GB Snowsports.

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

So far my favourite has been in Prince George, Canada. The World Championships meant so much to me because it was such a big year, only starting skiing in June to qualify for the championships was incredible. Although it was extremely cold, there was some nice technical areas and the track was just fun.

Does your rifle have a name?

Not yet….

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest, hard working, big appetite.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Canada
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Canada
Favourite shooting range: Oestersund, Sweden
Lucky bib number: don’t really have one, 15
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Collin Cameron
Best thing about being a biathlete: It’s both mentally and physically demanding

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Steve Arnold: The Interview!

Steve Arnold is a British para biathlete and cross country skier. He was serving with the Royal Engineers in Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both of his legs above the knee. He initially started in sport as a hand cyclist but saw the error of his ways when he was introduced to Nordic skiing in 2017. He has also competed at the Invictus Games and was Vice Captain for the British team at the last edition in Toronto in 2017.

Follow Steve on Twitter: @stevearnold79
Check out his website: stevearnoldsport.com
He is on Instagram too: Instagram.com/stevearnold79

Why did you become a biathlete?

After finishing with GB Para Cycling in Dec 2016, I wanted a new challenge and Nordic/biathlon was a sport I’d never done before. I knew it was hard physically and technically but I wanted to see that for myself and see if I could push myself to the standard required to race for GB.

How hard was the transition from cycling to biathlon and cross country? Are there any similarities or are they very different?

Obviously the climate change was a little bit of a shock to the system going from a summer sport to a winter one but the most difficult bit has been learning the technique of moving the ski around on the snow. It’s also different muscle groups from the cycling so going from a lot of chest and arm work to back/lats and triceps has been an interesting challenge in the gym. (I’m not a lover of gym work!)

How do you assess your progress so far in para nordic? Are you happy with how it’s going? Have you identified areas which you need to work on?

After just one season I can’t really complain about my progress, I know there’s still plenty to learn on the technical side and I do need a bit more explosive power for the sprint races but with just being in the sport for a little over 16 months its been a good start with exciting times ahead.

You missed out on the Paralympics in South Korea. Does that motivate you more to make it to Beijing or will you just go season by season?

Not going to South Korea did hurt but its definitely made me start this four year cycle well. I’ve looked at how I can improve as an all round athlete and be at the top of my game in four years time. I also think you need to look at it season by season though, set yourself realistic goals, don’t be afraid to try new things in the first couple of seasons and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just looking at four years away for me would be mentally draining and I think it would take the enjoyment out of it.

What are your goals for this season?

Consistently be in the Top 15 in all Cross country/Biathlon races.
Know which distances I’m going to prioritise for 2019/20 by the end of this season.
Handle the ski better.
Improve in the sprint races.(explosive power)

What are you doing for summer training?

I’m currently working with GB Para Canoe to make me stronger and have better core stability, but along side that I’m back on the bike and Mountain board (roller skis) getting the miles in. Also plenty of time in the gym, soon the team will be out in Oberhof in the snow tunnel so looking forward to being back on snow.

You were in the Army. Does the shooting you learned there help you with biathlon or not?

Not really. Although the Marksmanship principles are the same it’s very different shooting an air rifle to a 5.56mm rifle. For one there is no kick back on the air rifle, you are only shooting 10 metres and the target is tiny. Put that all together with it being a race I’d say put me back on the front line anytime.

British Olympic and Paralympic snow sports are merging. Do you think that is a good thing for the para nordic team?

I think this is a great thing to happen to our sport and team to be training with the best British winter athletes in this country with great facilities and knowledge can only be a good thing.

You were Vice Captain of the British team last year at the Invictus Games. You must have been really proud of that. What was that experience like? Will you compete this year?

Being VC last year was incredible and I’m still very proud and honoured to be able to have been a small part of helping people change there lives for the better. It was amazing to see first hand how powerful sport can be in helping people. I wont be competing this year but I am the athlete representative on the UK Delegation Board so it’s been great to still be part of the Invictus Games in a small way.

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

I would have to say so far it would be Canmore in Canada. It’s just set in a great place and the town is incredible.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest,funny,fearless

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): CANADA
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): GB
Favourite shooting range: OBERHOF
Lucky bib number: 24
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: TRYVGE LARSEN (NOR)
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: COLLIN CAMERON (CAN)
Best thing about being a biathlete: You’ll never know how hard it is until you try it.

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