Tag Archives: Cheile Gradistei 2016

Karoline Erdal: The Interview!

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Karoline Erdal is a Norwegian biathlete who was born in Förde on the 15th of November 1997. She skis for her hometown club Förde IL. She recently took part in the Youth/Junior World Championships in Cheile Gradistei where she won gold in the Youth Women’s Sprint race and bronze in the Youth Women’s Relay with teammates Kristina Skjevdal and Emilie Kalkenberg. Her brother Ole Martin Erdal is also a biathlete.

You can follow Karoline on Twitter: @Karolineerdal

You won a gold and a bronze medal in Cheile Gradistei. Can you describe how it felt to win those medals?

The feeling was amazing! I was really satisfied with the races and I felt my shape was good.

What do you remember about the races? Can you describe them?

The Sprint was the individual race I was looking forward to competing in. I knew my shape was good and with good shooting, it would be a good race. I started as number two, and the minutes after I crossed the finish line waiting for the other competitors was really thrilling. But I made it, and I was so happy!

The relay was really hard. My legs were a bit heavy, but I was determined to give it all in the last race. My teammate, Emilie, exchanged as number six, and I knew I had to give it all on the track. The shooting was pretty good and I managed to take the team up to third place. I am really proud of my team and everyone did a great job!

Did you have any goals before you went to Romania and did you achieve them?

I had a goal to take an individual medal and perform four good races where I was satisfied with my own performance. I think I achieved them, and I have learned so much from this trip.

Norway has a lot of biathletes. How were you selected for the YJWCH? Did you have selection races?

The competition in Norway is pretty strong, that means that a ticket to YJWCH is a big achievement. We had four competitions that counted for the selection. Out of these four, we could stroke one competition, which means that only three of them count. The competition was really hard!

How did you prepare for the Championships?

I prepared like I would do for normal races in Norway. Having good training sessions with good focus and keep myself free from illness.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are to make progress every year, and eventually compete on the IBU and World Cup. For next season the goal is the YJWCH!

Why did you become a biathlete and why do you like the sport?

I became a biathlete mostly because of my family. We have always been an active family, and my father competed in biathlon before. When my brother started as a biathlete I wanted to try it myself, and I loved it! He is a big inspiration to me.
I like the sport because of the constant excitement and the combination between skiing and shooting. Nothing is decided before the athlete crosses the finish line.

Do you combine sport with your education or are you concentrating only on biathlon at the present?

At the present I am living in Geilo and going to high school where I combine school and biathlon.

Does your rifle have a name?

My rifle has no name.

Describe yourself in three words.

Kind, stubborn and strong-willed.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track:
Holmenkollen
Favourite biathlete (past or present): Tarjei Boe
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Sprint or Mass Start
Favourite/best race of your career so far? Sprint YJWCH 2016
Favourite food: Taco and steak
Favourite film: Fast and Furious 7
Favourite sports team: The Norwegian biathlon team!
Favourite TV show: Prison Break at the moment!

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Hanna Öberg: The Interview!

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Hanna Öberg is a Swedish biathlete who was born on the 2nd of November 1995 and currently lives in Östersund. She recently competed in the Youth/Junior World Championships in Cheile Gradistei where she won double gold in the Junior Women’s Sprint and Pursuit. She also won a silver medal in the Junior Women’s Relay with teammates Sofia Myhr and Anna Magnusson.She has raced on the IBU Cup this season in Idre.

You can follow her on Twitter: @hannaaaoberg
You can look at her website: http://www.hanna-oberg.se/

You won double gold in Cheile Gradistei. Can you describe how it
felt to win those medals?

After the first gold in the Sprint I was so happy and for so many reasons. I knew that with a good day both on the track and on the shooting range I could be fighting for a medal but a gold felt a little bit unbelievable. After the finish I cried a lot. All the hard work I have laid down it finally paid off. And of course it was huge for me to share the podium with Anna Magnusson(bronze), we have been friends for a long time and we come from the same small city in Sweden. We are good friends but also tough competitors.

To win the second gold in the Pursuit was just crazy too. To win one gold was more than I ever could imagine so to win the second gold was just unbelievable.

What do you remember about the races? Can you describe them?

Before the Sprint I was very nervous. I had a good feeling before the race and knew I had a good chance for a great result. The skiing felt solid on the first two laps and after zero misses in the prone I came in to the standing shooting with a little bit shaky legs. Actually I wasn’t so nervous on the range but with the legs starting to shake I took some extra breaths before firing the last shot. After leaving the range I got to know that I had a lead of 17-18 seconds before Anna and Lena Häcki. I went pretty hard on the first half of the last loop hoping to get some extra power at the end. I have heard of people getting energy they didn’t know they had when they are chasing medals. But it never came to me so the second half of the last loop was really hard. I was so tired after finishing the race and I only realized later that it was as tight as 0.6 seconds.

After the sprint I was satisfied and felt that I had nothing to lose in the Pursuit. Actually I would have been happy just to finish in the top ten. My body was really tired so I knew that I had to shoot well to hang on to the podium. And all of sudden I had shot zero three times and was coming in to the range in the lead and I liked the situation. It was so easy to shoot that day and without any nervousness I cleaned the targets again. This was the first time for me to shoot zero four times in a competition. Just the right day to do it on!

How did you prepare for the World Championships? Have you done any races on the IBU Cup for example?

I raced at the IBU Cup in Idre at the beginning of the season but after that it has just been a couple of races in the Swedish cup. Before the YJWCH I hadn’t raced at all for over a month. I was just focusing on training towards the Championships.

What are you plans for the rest of the season? What are your goals for
next year?

I will race at the European Championships in Tyumen and after that maybe the last IBU Cup but nothing is set yet. Next year is my first as a senior and then I hope I will race my first World Cup.

The Swedish Women’s team have had a difficult time in the last few years. You seem to be doing a lot better now as a team. What do you think has changed?

There have been some years with not so many of the junior girls taking the step up to a good senior level. There are not so many biathletes in Sweden. But now there are a lot of young girls my age who have been pretty much on the same level and this has pushed everyone of us to get even better. Furthermore the Swedish biathlon confederation took some of us younger girls into the A-team last year and this year with Wolfgang Pichler coming back as coach we have progressed a lot.

Why did you become a biathlete and why do you like the sport?

My father did biathlon when he was young but not at such a high level. In 2005 he and a couple more people started a biathlon club in my home town and so it was natural for me to start with biathlon. Since then it has been clear to me it is biathlon I want to do. I like the sport because of its complexity. It’s not just to ski fast or shoot clean. You have to ski well, shoot well and also to shoot pretty fast. It’s so much more exciting than just cross-country skiing.

Do you combine sport with your education or are you concentrating only
on biathlon at the present?

This year I have been taking some courses at the University alongside my training and competing. Mostly because of economic reasons but also because I think it’s good to have something else to focus on sometimes.

Does your rifle have a name?

Ha ha, no it doesn’t.

Describe yourself in three words.

Ambitious, Purposeful and positive.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Östersund
Favourite biathlete (past or present): Helena Ekholm and Magdalena Neuner
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Mass Start
Favourite/best race of your career so far?: The YJWCH Sprint in Romania.
Favourite food: Some good medium cooked meat with roast potatoes and mushroom sauce.
Favourite singer/band: Music isn’t quite my thing..
Favourite film: The Nicholas Sparks based films are really good!
Favourite sports team: I don’t really know.
Favourite TV show: I must sound really boring but I don’t watch so much TV.

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Lena Häcki: The Interview!

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Lena Häcki is a Swiss biathlete who was born in Engelberg on the 1st of July 1995. She recently took part in the Youth/Junior World Championships in Cheile Gradistei where she won 2 silver medals in the Sprint and Pursuit races. She also competes on the World Cup for Switzerland and her career best result so far was 12th in the Sprint race in Antholz in 2015. She competed in the Senior World Championships held in Kontiolahti in 2015 and her best result there was 28th in the Sprint.

You can like Lena’s Facebook page: Lena Häcki (Sportsperson)
You can look at her website: http://www.lenahaecki.ch/

You won 2 silver medals in Cheile Gradistei. Can you describe how it felt to win those medals?

It was an amazing and incredible feeling. For me it was like a miracle.

What do you remember about the races? Can you describe them?

I felt very good on the track, and the shooting was okay, I liked the track very much, it was a hard track.

Did you set any goals before you went to Romania and did you achieve them?

I hoped for a medal, but it wasn’t really a goal, I just hoped that I could give my best and I did that.

You already compete on the World Cup and you competed in Kontiolahti at the World Championships. What are the main differences between those events and the Junior World Championships?

There is not much difference between these both, the Junior World Champs are very well organized, there are just other people there.

What are you plans for the rest of the season? What are your goals for next year?

My plans are just to make some good races and to show that I deserved to win those medals. Next season I want to compete in the World Cup and get some good points.

Why did you become a biathlete and why do you like the sport?

My trainer asked me one day if I wanted to try biathlon and I tried it and loved it so much. I continued to do it and still love it so much. For me it’s an amazing sport and I like it a lot because everyone has a chance, anyone can win or lose.

Do you combine sport with your education or are you concentrating only on biathlon at the present?

At the moment I am a maths student, I try to study maths but it is very hard and not easy to do both.

Does your rifle have a name?

Yes, my rifle is called Giorgio.

Describe yourself in three words.

Ambitious, kind, strong-willed.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Antholz
Favourite biathlete (past or present): Ole Einar Björdalen
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Sprint
Favourite/best race of your career so far?: My 12th place in the Sprint in Antholz 2015
Favourite food: Swiss food
Favourite film: A Walk to Remember
Favourite sports team: The Swiss biathlon team 😉
Favourite TV show: How I Met Your Mother

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Felix Leitner: The Interview!

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Felix Leitner is an Austrian biathlete born in Hall in Tirol on the 31st of December 1996. He recently competed in the Youth/Junior World Championships in Cheile Gradistei where he won gold in the Individual and Sprint races and bronze in the Pursuit. These were his first races in the Junior category but he already has a gold and silver medal in the Youth category in the Pursuit and Sprint from Raubichi last season.

You won double gold in Cheile Gradistei in your first World Championships as a Junior. How did you feel? Did you expect to do well or was it a bit surprising?

I felt really great. I knew that I was in good shape in running and I also felt good at the shooting range so I expected one or maybe two medals. But, I did not expect that I would be so successful.

Can you describe the races? Did you have any plan before the start about how you wanted to race?

In the Individual I was really nervous because I did not know how I should pace my race, but I did it really well. Instead at the shooting range I had an awesome feeling, that I would shoot 0 mistakes. I was really safe.
In the Sprint competition (my favourite competition) I knew that I could also win with 1 mistake, so I was not insecure after my shooting mistake in the standing. The last loop was really hard but I gave everything I had.
The Pursuit was really hard for me. I am not used to having so many races in such a short time. But because of my shooting I could get a medal again.
In the relay I absolutely wanted to exchange as first. My running was great but I had some problems on the shooting range (+3 shots).

Did you set any goals before you went to Romania and did you achieve them?

My goals were 1-2 medals. I totally achieved it.. 🙂

You have raced on the IBU Cup this season and you were 10th in the Sprint in Nove Mesto. What was that race like? Did it help you to prepare for the Junior World Championships?

The first day in Nove Mesto was super. I like that course.
I needed some races for the YJWCH, but it also was really important for my self-confidence.

What are your plans for the rest of the season? What are your goals for next year?

Just now I don’t know what my next races are, but my next big goal for this season is the Junior European Championships in Pokljuka. I want to fight for medals again.
My goal for next season is to get better and better, and then we will see.

Why did you become a biathlete and why do you like the sport?

My brother is a ski jumper and in the same club they also had biathletes so I tried it and I still love it. I enjoy it probably because of the mix of running and shooting.

Do you combine sport with your education or are you concentrating only on biathlon at the present?

At the moment I go to school at Schigymnasium in Stams. But I am in the last class and I will be happy when I can only focus on sport.

Does your rifle have a name?

No name for my rifle no.

Describe yourself in three words.

Love my friends!

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: HOCHFILZEN
Favourite biathlete (past or present): LANDERTINGER, BJOERNDALEN, FOURCADE
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): SPRINT
Favourite/best race of your career so far? INDIVIDUAL YJWCH 2016
Favourite food: PASTA (RECHEIS)
Favourite sports team: TG FLOX
Favourite TV show: CIRCUS HALLI GALLI

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Junior World Championships Review 2016!

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Doherty,Porshnev,Leitner

This year’s Youth and Junior World Championships were held in Cheile Gradistei in Romania. We got underway on Thursday with the Junior Individual race for both men and women. The Junior category is open to anyone aged between 18 and 21.

The Women went first and was won by Austria’s Susanna Kurtzhaler who shot clean to win by 8.6 seconds. Second place went to the Ukraine’s Anastasiya Merkushyna who missed 1 target which cost her the gold medal. Bronze also went to Austria with Julia Schwaiger shooting clean to claim the final podium position.

It was a good day for Austria as they also won the Men’s Individual with Felix Leitner winning gold with a fantastic performance. Despite missing a target he won the race by 1 minute 50 seconds. Taking silver for Italy was Andrea Baretto who shot clean and with 2 misses in bronze was the USA’s Sean Doherty.

On Saturday we had the Sprint races with the women going first and we had a really close finish. Gold went to Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg who shot clean but won by just 0.6 of a second. Silver was won by Switzerland’s Lena Haecki who missed 2 shots but had a great ski. Bronze also went to Sweden with Anna Magnusson 12 seconds behind the winner with 1 missed target. France’s Lena Arnaud was 4th for the second race in a row.

The Men’s Sprint race came next and was won again by Felix Leitner. The young Austrian was on fantastic form winning by 11.5 seconds with 1 miss. The silver medal went to Sean Doherty with 2 misses and in bronze was Germany’s David Zobel who was 39 seconds behind with 1 miss.

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Oeberg, Haecki, Magnusson

On Sunday we had all 4 Pursuit races for the Youths and Juniors. The Junior women’s race went to Hanna Oeberg who held on to first place from the Sprint shooting clean. Lena Haecki held on to silver despite missing 6 targets and bronze went to Chloe Chevalier of France who came up from 5th to get onto the podium in 3rd.

The men’s race was won by over 30 seconds by American Sean Doherty. After winning bronze then silver he added the missing gold to his collection. That medal means he has won 10 medals at the Youth/Junior World Championships which is a record. Silver went to Russian Nikita Porshnev and double gold medallist Felix Leitner took bronze.

The final day of competition on Tuesday saw both the Women’s and Men’s Relays. The women were first in the morning and the 3×6.km race was won by Norway with a team of Anne Marit Bredalen, Turi Storstroem Thoresen and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold. The silver medal went to the Swedish Team of Hanna Oeberg, Sophia Myhr and Anna Magnusson who finished 15.6 seconds behind but only used 4 spare rounds to Norway’s 5. Finally bronze went to the Austrian Team made up of Susanna Kurtzhaler, Julia Schwaiger and Simone Kupfner.

The Men’s 4×7.5km Relay was the last race of the entire competition and the final gold medal went to Russia. Their team of Dmitrii Shamaev, Viktor Plitcev, Nikita Porshnev and Kiril Streltsov won by almost 2 minutes using just 2 spares. Silver medal went to the German team of Marco Gross, David Zobel, Lars-Erik Weick and Dominik Reiter. The final podium place was taken by the Czech team of David Tolar, Milan Zemlicka, Ondrej Hosek and Jan Burian to win the bronze medal.

That concludes all the races for the Juniors in what has been an exciting competition which has seen double gold medals for Hanna Oeberg and Felix Leitner. Sean Doherty made history by becoming the most decorated biathlete at the Youth/Junior level. His tally of gold, silver and bronze here in Romania takes his total up to a record breaking 10 medals. It will be very interesting to see what all our medal winners go on to achieve in the future. Some of them already have World Cup experience and others are just making their way in the IBU Cup. It is reassuring to see that there is lot of talented biathletes to look out for in the coming years.


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Youth World Championships Review 2016!

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Erdal,Kalkenberg, Kryvonos

This year’s Youth and Junior World Championships was held in Cheile Gradistei in Romania. We got underway on Wednesday with the Youth’s Individual race for both men and women. The Youth category is open to anyone aged under 18.

The women went first in the morning and the race was a very close one. In fact it was won by only 2 seconds in the end by Germany’s Marina Sauter. She missed 2 targets as did Myrtille Begue of France, the younger sister of Aristide Begue, to win the race. Begue took second and in third was the Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova.

The men were next and this race was dominated by Norway’s Harald Oeygard. He won by 40 seconds from compatriot Aleksander Fjeld Andersen. They both missed one target and in third place shooting clean was Italy’s Michael Durand.

The Sprint races came on Friday and the women started first with victory going to Norway’s Karoline Erdal who won by 25.5 seconds. The silver medal also went to Norway with Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg beating Ukraine’s Anna Kryvonos for second place. All three of the podium finishers missed one target.

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Oeygard,Andersen,Durand

The men’s race went to Russia with Igor Malinovskii claiming gold by 26.3 seconds. Norway were second with Endre Stroemsheim taking silver by just over a second from another Russian Viacheslav Maleev.

On Sunday we had all the Pursuit races for the Youths and Juniors. The Youth Women’s race was won by Arina Pantova of Kazakhstan by just 3.4 seconds from Anna Kryvonos who took silver. Third place went to Marina Sauter who made up 11 places coming from 14th to take the bronze medal.

In the men’s race Viacheslav Maleev moved up from 3rd to take gold ahead of countryman Mailinovskii who missed 7 shots but still managed to hold on to the silver medal. Bronze went to Harald Oeygard who came from 8th to grab 3rd place.

The final day of competition for the young biathletes was the Relays on Monday. The Women’s 3x6km Relay was won by Russia with a team of Iaroslava Pervakova, Valeriia Vasnetcova and Polina Shevnina. They used 8 spare rounds in total and finished almost 25 seconds ahead of the second placed team the Czech Republic. Their team of Natalie Jurcova, Marketa Davidova and Tereza Vinlarkova used only 6 spares to claim silver. The bronze medal went to the Norwegian team of Kristina Skjevdal, Emilie Kalkenberg and Karoline Erdal who had 1 penalty loop but made up for it with fast skiing.

The Men’s 3x 7.5km Relay was the last race of the Youth competition and the gold medal went to the Norwegian team of Endre Stroemsheim, Aleksander Andersen and Harald Oeygard. It wasn’t really a surprise as each member of the team had already won individual medals. The silver medal went to the Russian team of Egor Tutmin, Viacheslav Maleev and Igor Malinovskii. The bronze was won by Italy who have had a good men’s competition. Michael Durand, Peter Tumler and Daniele Cappellari needed only 6 spares to make the podium.

That concludes this seasons Youth World Championships and has given us a few names to look out for in the future. The Norwegians and Russians have strong teams as you would expect but Italy also did well and so did Kazakhstan. Harald Oeygard had an impressive competition winning 2 gold and 1 bronze medal. The Russian pair of Malinovskii and Maleev also took home a gold medal and 2 silvers each. Erdal and Kalkenberg did well for the women as did Alina Pantova and Marina Sauter. Keep an eye out for them going forward because as you can see the future of biathlon is in good hands!

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