Tag Archives: Felix Leitner

Season 2016/17 Preview: Men

Oestersund, Pokljuka, Nove Mesto, Oberhof, Ruhpolding, Antholz, PyeongChang, Tyumen and Olso! Are you ready? It’s almost time for the new biathlon season to begin! That means it must be time for a season preview too so here it is!

Looking back over previous previews they all read more or less like this. Martin Fourcade is the red hot favourite. If he stays fit and healthy all season he will win the Overall Title for the 6th year in a row. Potential challengers are Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tarjei Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen, Simon Schempp and Anton Shipulin. They are all capable of beating Fourcade in a single race but don’t seem to have the consistency over a whole season to win the big Crystal globe.

Preview finished!

Only joking! As the top places are nearly always the same for the men I decided that this year’s preview should move away from the elite and see what’s happening a little bit behind them. Who are the up and coming biathletes to look out for? Who could get their first win or first podium? Who should be doing better? That’s what I am going to look at before season 2016/17 gets under way.

It’s sometimes hard to believe but there are some well established biathletes who have yet to win a race on the World Cup. The most famous is probably Simon Fourcade. He has achieved many podium results but never higher than second. Surely this season he will get to the top step. Fellow Frenchman Quentin Fillon Maillet has also come within a toenail of winning but again second place is his best result. Germany’s Benedikt Doll will be hoping to grab his first win. Tim Burke is another who will want to come first instead of second place as will Sergey Semenov and Benjamin Weger.

Expect a strong season from the Austrian team. Simon Eder was 5th last season in the overall title and Dominik Landertinger was 9th. With Julian Eberhard getting his first win and Sven Grossegger achieving a personal best of 5th they will be a dangerous squad this year.

Hoping to get their first taste of the podium are Andrejs Rastorgujevs who has a few 4th positions to his name already. Klemen Bauer also has a personal best of fourth as does Simon Desthieux and Krasimir Anev.

Scoring points on a more consistent basis will be the goal for biathletes like Mario Dolder, Leif Nordgren, Macx Davies, Kalev Ermits and Martin Otcenas.

Make sure you look out for some of the younger biathletes this season who will be trying their best to impress their coaches and the fans. Watch out for Sean Doherty to continue his rise to the top. The likes of Rene Zahkna, Rok Trsan and Fabien Claude will be pushing hard to do well. Keep an eye out too for Sebastian Samuelsson who has been picked for the Swedish team to make his debut in Oestersund and Felix Leitner who will start his first World Cup race for Austria.

On the other hand it’s about time Freddie Lindstrom had a better season. We haven’t seen him on the podium since 2013. Lukas Hofer didn’t have a great season individually either and it would be good to see him back on form. Jakov Fak will be hoping to improve as will Ondrej Moravec.

There are many more biathletes to watch out for but too many to mention here. The Germans are always dangerous with Peiffer and Lesser showing some good form in patches last time.

Last but not least expect new dad Ole Einar Bjoerndalen to pop up with a few podium finishes and don’t be surprised if he adds more World Championships medals to his vast collection in Hochfilzen. That’s if he can cope with the sleepless nights of course!

Hopefully it will a great season with some more first time winners and some great races. The title race might not be close but we can look forward to some great battles in individual races. Bring it on boys!!!

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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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The Biathlon23 Awards 2014/15!!!

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It’s back! That’s right the Biathlon23 awards are now in their second year! It has now taken over from the Oscars as the best awards around! As usual they are not your typical awards and there are a few new categories too. Obviously the same rigorous system was used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree!

Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
Who says the Americans don’t know what biathlon is?! A lot of them read the winning interview. There was strong competition from fellow American Susan Dunklee and Great Britain’s Scott Dixon but there is only one winner this year. We just can’t get Phaneuf!
Winner: Maddie Phaneuf

Strangest search on the blog:
I love people! I love them because they are strange! Here is a selection of some of the strangest searches on the blog this season! I get a lot about gossip, boyfriends/girlfriends of biathletes and people looking for nude pictures! Sorry wrong blog for all that but there is always some gold in between! For example:
Why does Vita Semerenko like biathlon?” ..erm I don’t know ask her!
Martin Olsbu” – sorry about that MARTE!
Emil Svendsen prince” – news to King Harald!
biathlon Musgrave” – we live in hope!
Julia Soukalova” – maybe Gabriela’s sister?!!!
feet Darya Domracheva” – I can confirm that yes she has them, 2 in fact!
Jakov Fak beard” It’s lovely but what do you need to know about it?!
Winner: “What does Tiril Eckhoff mean?” Good question!

Best Facial hair:
A hotly contested award this year. We had season long beards from the likes of Jakov Fak, Klemen Bauer and Daniel Mesotitsch and the part time beard appearance from last year’s winner Simon Fourcade. However in Oestersund we had 2 normally clean shaven contenders, in full beard Lowell Bailey and Zorro/Don Juan style from Tobias Arwidson. Just for the concept, growing and sculpting efforts and more importantly making me laugh out loud!
Winner: Tobias Arwidson.

Best earrings:
Again there were many contenders in this category. Veronika Vitkova brought the pink earrings, Gabriela Soukalova had some pretty heart shaped ones too but the winner has to be snowflakes for snowsports!
Winner: Darya Domracheva.

Nicest person in biathlon:
There are many reason why this person wins. He helps out biathlonworld.tv with all their songs and appears in almost every video (taking advantage of his kind nature obviously!), he helps the French team win relay medals, he eats Cheerios for breakfast. Most of all though he didn’t even try to punch Anton Shipulin in the face when he ruined his chances of a first win in Pokljuka! He was philosophical with a “shit happens” response! Well done!
Winner: Jean Guillaume Beatrix

Best Team Performance:

There were some great team performances this year. The amazing shooting from the Ukrainians and the fantastic Czech Women’s relay team were in contention. However after the World Championships there can only be one winner with both the Men’s and Women’s Relay teams winning gold. That is true teamwork!
Winner: Germany

Biggest improver:
His previous best result was an 8th place last year but this year he has been in the TOP 10 on six occasions and saved his best for the World Championships where he won a silver medal on his first ever trip to the podium. He then went on to Khanty Mansiysk where he won his first ever World Cup race in the Pursuit. We knew he could shoot but it turns out he can also ski as well. Obviously he has put a lot of effort into improving his skiing and it’s paid off with this award!!!
Winner: Nathan Smith

Best fall:
We don’t like to see biathletes fall. That’s a total lie we love it as long as they don’t get hurt! This guy did get hurt but thankfully not too badly. He had concussion and scrapped much of his handsome face off but made a full recovery to take part in his home World Championships.For the fall on the downhill in Pokljuka the award has to go to the greatest face plant in biathlon history.
Winner: Olli Hiidensalo

Best quote in a press conference:
Erik Lesser was asked after winning the Pursuit in the World Championships what he would do with the special lock he was awarded. He couldn’t think of an answer but someone else kindly obliged saying “Erik has seen 50 Shades of Grey, he knows exactly what to do with the lock!” Ha, ha it was brilliant! Thanks.
Winner: Tarjei Boe

Best Tweeter:
There are a few candidates for this award. Tobias Arwidson is a regular tweeter of funny stuff but lately has become far too obsessed with food!;-) Martin Fourcade tweets a lot of pictures of himself and I mean A LOT! Nerys Jones likes to show everyone just how much she loves coffee. Chardine Sloof and Amanda Lightfoot often appear in each others photos on Twitter. The winner though keeps us up to date on everything. Training, eating, her sponsors, her van and sometimes even biathlon! And just about anything else you can think of!
Winner: Victoria Padial

Best Facebooker:
So again Martin Fourcade is great at keeping us up to date with everything on social media with posts almost everyday but here at Biathlon23 we think he has won enough already this year!!! The award goes to one of his fellow countrymen however. Not only do we get updates from this guy but also a short video recap complete with awesome soundtrack! I don’t know where he finds the tunes but they are always good ones!
Winner: Antonin Guigonnat

Best rifle design:
So most rifles go for the design on the stock. There are a range of fancy colours and stickers and things but one lady has taken it further. In an audacious move she has decorated the barrel with white to get a nice black and white design. We like your style!
Winner: Eva Puskarčíková

Most ridiculous rifle colour:
There are some very odd choices of rifle colour but none more so than a kind of “pea” green.
Winner: Nicole Gontier

Best ski suit:
A few options here. The Norwegians followed my advice and added a splash of colour to their suit. Great Britain had another good one. I liked the look of Finland’s too. I like that Slovenia have put some blue and white in to counteract the neon yellow. For design and colour combination which is similar in style to Slovenia but with more blue and less yellow.
Winner: Estonia

Worst ski suit:
Well France and Sweden didn’t seem to change theirs at all! Italy went from blue to red but they are all still good designs. For the colour alone which is a horribly suspicious shade of yellow.
Winner: Lithuania

Rising star:
I had to give this one to a youngster who has made a huge breakthrough this year. She broke her foot in the summer and started the season late but still got her first 2 wins on the World Cup as well as grabbing 4 podiums in a row! She also helped her relay team to World Championship gold and won Pursuit silver for herself. She is one of the best shots on the whole tour and at only 21 there is a lot more to come from her.
Winner: Laura Dahlmeier

Best vocal performance:
Well this category was won last year by Bjorn Ferry with his retirement tune “Breaking the Law”. As there seems to have been no raucous singing caught on camera this year it has to be a straight battle between Lowell Bailey and Gabriela Soukalova. Or does it? I suddenly remembered the Christmas video when they were joined by Lukas Hofer and Darya Domracheva singing some Christmas songs. For awkward hand placement as well as his lovely singing voice there is only one victor!
Winner: Lukas Hofer

Biggest disappointment:
Well unfortunately it’s the same as last year!
Winner: More doping scandals.

Best biathlete blog:
There is one reason and one reason only why this blog is the winner. The section known as Pepp-talk! It’s a Swedish blog but when you translate it into English the title changes to Pepper-talc and totally ruins the awesome play on words. Biathlon 23 loves nothing better than a good play on words!
Winner: Peppe Femling – femling.se

Best biathlete website:
A clear winner here for 2 reasons. The first is the picture of the cowboy leaning against the biathlon targets. Cool! Secondly there is a shop and regular readers will know of my obsession with the pencil case!!Check it out yourself! http://www.edersam.com
Winner: Simon Eder

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
This was a hard one to choose. There were many outstanding performances this year. I had to choose one and so I went for probably the biggest surprise and against the odds win. After not even making her country’s team for the Sprint at the World Championships she was drawn in bib 93 for the Individual and was given no chance of winning. No one told her that of course and she produced the performance of her life shooting 20/20 and skiing well to take the gold medal.
Winner: Ekaterina Yurlova

IPC biathlete of the Year:
America’s Andy Soule (sitting)was a contender for this with 2 silver medals in the IPC World Championship at home in Cable. The Russian pair of Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarev (visually impaired) won 3 gold medals at the World Championships but the worthy winner also winning 3 golds in biathlon and 3 golds in cross country is Ukraine’s remarkable athlete in the standing category.
Winner: Oleksandra Kononova

Youth/Junior Biathlete of the Year:
A really difficult decision this one as we had some stellar performances from the Juniors this year. Aristide Begue dominated the Individual races, Galina Vishnevskaya had a great year, Alexsandr Dediukhin really impressed as did Lena Arnaud. The Youth category was also really strong with Kirill Streltsov, Darya Blashko, Julia Schwaiger and Felix Leitner all having great World Championships. However I am awarding it to a young lady from Norway who won 4 medals in 4 races in Raubichi in the Youth category, a gold, silver and 2 bronze.
Winner: Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold.

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Raubichi 2015: Bela-Youth!

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The 2015 Youth/Junior World Championships in Raubichi started off with an explosion of fireworks in the opening ceremony on the 17th of February. The next day competition got underway with a different kind of bang. The bang from the biathlon rifles as 170 competitors got underway in the Youth Women’s and Men’s Individual races and at 20 rounds each that is a lot of bang!

The women were first to compete and the first medal was won by the Ukraine. Anna Kryvonos hit 19/20 and that extra hit was crucial to give her a 18 second margin of victory over Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold. She missed two shots as did Russia’s Elizaveta Kaplina who was third which meant they had to settle for silver and bronze. France’s Emily Battendier was impressive in 6th place as was South Korea’s Ko Eun Jung who was 9th.

In the men’s race Russia proved the strongest by winning gold and bronze. Fast skiing by Kirill Streltsov allowed him to make up for his two shooting errors to win ahead of Denmark’s Anders Emil Schiellerup who was second shooting 20/20. He made a little bit of biathlon history by becoming the first Danish biathlete ever to win a medal at a World Championships. Igor Shetko took bronze knocking Poland’s Bartolmiej Filip and Norway’s Andreas Kjeverud Eggen off the podium after they posted the same time in fourth. Home favourite Raman Shynkevich gave the crowd something to cheer coming home in 8th.

The home crowd really got something to cheer about in the Sprint race on Friday! Darya Blashko took gold and the first medal for Belarus of these championships. It is always nice to see the home nation doing well. Behind her in second came Austria’s Julia Schwaiger and Ingrid Tandrevold grabbed her second medal with bronze to add to her Individual silver. In the men’s race Norway won their first gold of the competition with Jonas Uglem Mobakken winning the Sprint from Felix Leitner of Austria who made it two medals for his country adding to the silver of Schwaiger. In third was another Norwegian Mattis Haug.

The Pursuit races both took place on Sunday morning and Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold finally got the gold medal that her excellent form deserved and meant she got the full collection of gold, silver and bronze from these Championships. Julia Schwaiger maintained her position from the Sprint and got her second silver and her teammate Simone Kupfner made it another medal for Austria clinching the bronze. In fact Austria’s day got even better in the Youth Men’s Pursuit when Felix Leitner converted his Sprint silver into gold. He was followed by Kirill Streltsov who won silver and Mattis Haug who stayed in third to get his second bronze medal.

streltsov

The last day of competition in the Youth category was the Relay. The Women’s Relay was first and consisted of a team of 3 who have to ski 6km each. The home nation did themselves proud and raced to another gold medal. Dzinara Alimbekava, Hanna Sola and Darya Blashko gave the crowd a lot to cheer about beating Russia into second and Norway into third. The Russian team of Elizaveta Kaplina, Natalia Ushkina and Kristina Reztsova took home silver giving Kaplina a second medal and the Norwegian team of Kristin Vaagaa Floettum, Eline Grue and Ingrid Tandrevold won bronze which meant Tandrevold took home 4 medals from Raubichi. In the Men’s 3 x 7.5km race there was no surprise when the Russia team won with Igor Shetko, Nikita Porshnev and Kirill Streltsov. In second were the Ukrainian team of Vitaliy Trush, Nazarii Tsebrynskyi and Dmytro Ivasenko and in third were the Norwegian team of Jonas Mobakken, Andreas Eggen and Mattis Haug.

So what have we learned from these World Championships? Well thankfully biathlon is in pretty good shape in the Youth category with some strong youngsters coming through. The Russians as usual have strength in depth on both the Men’s and Women’s side. In particular Kirill Streltsov is one to keep an eye on after winning two golds and a silver and it was great to see a Danish biathlete win a medal too. For the women Ingrid Tandevold took home gold, silver and two bronze medals and she looks like an exciting talent and is consistent too. The Ukraine seem to have a good Youth programme going as do the Austrians. Belarus are producing some good young talent too and it seems to help you win gold if you are called Darya!

For the other biathletes who maybe weren’t as successful as they had hoped it’s good to remember that World Championships are a big learning curve and if you came away from Raubichi having learned something from the experience whether it was good or bad you will be a better biathlete for it and so really everyone’s a winner! What we have all learned is that from Raubichi 2015 there is definitely some Bela-Youth!

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