Tag Archives: European Championships

Login on to Loginov!

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Alexander Loginov is biathlon’s new young hot shot. Along with Johannes Thingnes Boe he is the future of men’s biathlon. The two of them have brought their Junior rivalry up into the Senior ranks. It will be very interesting to see how the two of them do after pretty successful debut seasons.

Alexander Viktorovich Loginov was born in Saratov, a major port on the Volga River in Russia on the 31st of January 1992. He had a quite astonishing Junior Career winning 4 gold medals and 7 bronze across 4 years. In 2010 in Torsby at 18 he won gold as part of the relay team. The following year in Nove Mesto he helped defend that title and took two bronze medals finishing third in both the Sprint and Pursuit. He won another 3 bronze medals in 2012 in Kontiolahti in the Sprint, Individual and Relay before winning 2 gold and 2 bronze in Obertilliach.

In the meantime he was also winning more medals in the European Championships. In 2012 in Brezno-Osrblie he was first in the Individual and Pursuit and second in the Sprint and Mixed Relay. Then in 2013 in Bansko he took gold in the Sprint, Pursuit and Individual. Not a bad way to start your career in biathlon!

He made his long awaited debut on the World Cup in the 2012/13 season in Holmenkollen and started with a bang! He came 5th in the Sprint and 3rd in the Pursuit getting his first podium and also came 15th in the Mass Start just for good measure. He also helped himself to a 12th place in the Sprint in Sochi and two wins with the Relay team in Annecy and again in Sochi. A pretty decent debut year!

He had a good full season on the World Cup last year. Although not making the same kind of impact as old rival Johannes Boe, who won five races, he had a solid if not spectacular season. He made 2 appearances on the podium both in second place, one in the Sprint in Kontiolahti and one in the Holmenkollen Pursuit. He also made the Top 15 another six times and made one appearance at his home Olympic Games in Sochi coming 30th in the Individual.

Alexander has had a really good biathlon career up to now. He has made a great transition into Senior biathlon and if he doesn’t win a race next season I will be very surprised. I think the more established biathletes will need to watch out for him and I am hoping he can continue his battles with Boe the younger from their Junior days. He will also be a threat at the World Championships and the more experience he gets at the top level the more dangerous he will be. It won’t be long before you are all Login on to Loginov!

Update: Since writing this article Loginov has had a positive sample for doping dating from November 2013 but only tested in November 2014.

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Andrejs Rastorgu-YEAH!!!

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Contrary to popular belief Andrejs Rastorgujevs is just one person! The ‘s’ at the end of both names is just because he comes from Latvia and not because he is plural! I am a huge fan of Rastorgujevs but he managed to drive me mad last season. He was in a winning position so many times and threw a podium away on the final shoot every time. I was willing him in every race to get there but he just missed out.

Apart from that he actually had a fantastic season and made some amazing progress! He finished a career best 4th in the Pursuit in Oberhof (which really led to my desperation to see him on the podium!). He got another seven TOP 10 finishes which really made it an outstanding season for him.

Andrejs Rastorgujevs was born on the 27th of May 1988 in Alūksne, Latvia and is a member of the army as well as being a biathlete. His debut on the World Cup in the 2009/10 season in Oestersund was quite a memorable one – for all the wrong reasons! He finished 47th in the Sprint which you would agree is a pretty impressive first race but only if you finish in the correct lane! He was unfortunately disqualified. However this didn’t stop him heading to Vancouver to compete in his first Olympics where his best finish was 50th in the Sprint. In fact it underlies his massive improvement that his best finish in Sochi was 9th in the Pursuit and his worst result was just 33rd in the Individual.

Andrejs has competed many times in the European Championships where he continued to infuriate me by finishing 5th and 4th in many events over several years!;-). However it all came good in Nove Mesto 2014 and he won gold in the Individual and bronze in the Sprint. This showed that he does have the nerve to handle the pressure in important races and hopefully he can bring that to the World Cup this December.

It’s a really important season coming up for Andrejs. He has got everything he needs to be able to win a race on the World Cup. He has the ski speed to match any of the top men and he is also a consistent shooter. It is just that final shoot he needs to work on and show that he can cope with the pressure of leading a race and being chased down by the other guys. I am pretty confident he can do it and make it on to the podium this season if not all the way up to the top step. Actually he better do it for my sanity and blood pressure watching him and so I can finally shout congratulations Andrejs Rastorgu-YEAH!!!

Check out his website: andrejsrastorgujevs.com

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Kazar: The Crack Slovak!

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Matej Kazár is one of Slovakia’s top biathletes. He was born on the 10th of May 1983 in Košice. He made his first appearance for Slovakia on the World Cup in 2002 as a member of the relay team and has been a regular since 2005. He scored his first points in 2008 in Ruhpolding by finishing 23rd(good number!) in the Pursuit.

He enjoyed a successful junior career winning gold and silver in the European Championships. However his best results have come in the Summer biathlon competitions. In 2010 he had a stellar year winning gold, silver and bronze in the Pursuit, Sprint and Mixed Relay respectively in the Summer Biathlon World Championships in Duszniki Zdrój in Poland. Not only that but he also won 2 gold medals and a bronze in the European Summer Biathlon Championships in the same year in Osrblie, at home in Slovakia, in the same events. Anyone would think he doesn’t like snow!

In fact his best results on snow have been a 17th place in last year’s Individual in Oestersund and another 17th place in the Pursuit in Kontiolahti in 2011/12.He also has another ten TOP30 finishes to his name, five of which came last year. Actually last year was probably his best season so far. He finished 48th in the Total Score by coming 45th in the Individual standings,52nd in the Sprint,44th in the Pursuit and helping Slovakia to a 12th place finish in the Nations Cup.

This season his best result so far came in the Sprint race in Annecy. He finished 26th but didn’t do so well in the Pursuit coming 39th because of 4 missed targets. Matej needs to become more consistent and try and achieve TOP 20 and 30 results on a more regular basis. This however is easier said than done as there are so many great male biathletes competing just now and more good up and coming ones to try and beat. Matej can’t afford to worry about them though, he just needs to concentrate on himself. Some TOP 20 finishes in Sochi would be a massive confidence boost and with a teammate like Anastasiya Kuzmina you never know what could happen in the mixed relay. Maybe he needs to pretend he is on rollerskis to get some good results and we will all see what The Crack Slovak is capable of!

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Dutch courage!*

chardine

It’s flat. It doesn’t have a lot of snow. It’s more famous for windmills, tulips and clogs and a liberal attitude to just about everything. The Netherlands is not a place you would readily associate with biathlon. You would however be wrong! Not only do they have biathletes, they have a whole family of them!

All born in Waddinxveen the Sloof family comprising of brothers Joël and Luciën and sister Chardine are taking the biathlon siblings thing to a whole new level! Especially as their coach just happens to be their dad, Eddy! Despite being the youngest, the most successful and probably best known of the three is Chardine. She burst onto the scene in 2012 at the Junior World Championships in Kontiolahti winning two gold medals in the Individual and the Pursuit. In doing so she made history by becoming the first Dutch athlete to win a World Championship.

JoelSloof

Moving to Sweden in 1999 obviously helped all of the Sloofs in biathlon as The Netherlands neither has the weather conditions or facilities to support professional biathletes. Torsby is the location the family chose and it has paid off as all three children have done well in biathlon. The eldest brother Joël born on the 15th of November 1988 has had most experience on the IBU and World Cup. He has had some good results in the past year finishing from around 50th to 95th on the World Cup and a 51st place in the World Championship Individual in Nove Mesto was a great achievement. Luciën born on the 7th of June 1990 is obviously slightly less experienced but has produced some good Top 50 results in the Junior World Championships and also in the European Championships.

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However the Sloof family don’t have the monopoly on Dutch biathlon. The recently retired and brilliantly named Herbert Cool had a good career and there is another up and coming biathlete Jarl Hengstmengel, who placed a credible 48th and 68th in the Individual and Sprint respectively in the Junior World Championships in Obertilliach this year. He trains in Germany and has set a goal of becoming one of the Top 50 in the World. As an 18 year old he has great ambition and also the time to try and achieve it. He is aiming high and there is nothing wrong with that unless you are on the shooting range of course!

jarl

So there you have it, The Netherlands has quite a few good young biathletes coming through. It just shows you that you don’t need hills or snow to be good at winter sports. A little help is required of course in these cases from Sweden and Germany but a bit of Dutch courage can take you a long way.

Good luck to all of them!

You can follow all The Sloofs and Jarl on Twitter and Chardine, Luciën and Jarl on Facebook. I strongly recommend you do so – they need your support!

You can find out more info at: http://www.sloofbiathlon.com
(It’s in Dutch but you can translate it easily with an online translator.)

*just so we’re clear I mean Dutch courage as in brave people who are Dutch. I am not advocating drinking alcohol for courage(as the saying means in English) before doing biathlon!Although……


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Golden ANEV-ersary?

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Krasimir Anev is a Bulgarian biathlete who was born in Samokov on the 16th of June 1987. He is probably better known for his performances at the European Championships than on the World Cup tour but that is starting to change. He has won 5 European medals to date including at last season’s event in his home country in Bansko. He took the bronze medal in the Individual event to cap off a fine 2012/13 season.

It began way back in Oestersund where he achieved his best result on the World Cup by finishing 8th in the Individual. This seems to be his best event as it has also provided him with 2 other European medals, a silver and bronze, and saw him round off the season with a 13th place finish in Sochi. Other impressive results for Anev include an 11th place finish in the Sprint in the World Championships in Nove Mesto and a further two 19th position finishes in Pursuit events in Nove Mesto again and also in Oslo.

This led to an overall finish of 38th on the Total Score for the season and 10th place in the Individual standings. He helped Bulgaria to 14th place in the Nations Cup just behind the likes of Switzerland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Bulgaria boasts some excellent biathlon facilities. Belmeken is a great training centre, there is also Borovets and of course there is Bansko where the European Championships were held and is a regular stop on the IBU Cup. It has produced some very good biathletes like Ekaterina Davofska who won an Olympic gold medal in Nagano in 1998 and is now the President of the Bulgarian Biathlon Federation, and also Irina Nikulchina who won bronze in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

So what are Bulgaria’s expectations for Anev this year? He needs to push on from the success he has had in European Championships and be more consistent on the World Cup. A first podium in the World Cup is not out of the question for him especially in the Individual event. I imagine they will be hoping for another Olympic medal to add to the Bulgarian collection but it will be a very difficult task for Anev considering the competition. However if he continues to improve and gain experience you never know what he could produce in the Individual event in Sochi. It has been 16 years since Bulgaria won an Olympic Gold in the Individual so could 2014 be a golden ANEV-ersary? It would be nice, wouldn’t it?

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