Tag Archives: IPC Nordic World Championships

Martin Fleig: The Interview!

Martin Fleig is a German para biathlete who competes in the sitting category. In February he won double gold in biathlon at his home World Championships in Finsterau. His victories in the 12.5km middle distance and the 15km Individual were were followed with bronze in the 7.5km Sprint event. He also won bronze in the 15km cross country race. He won the biathlon Overall World Cup last season and is the current world number one. The 28-year-old was born with spina bifida and fluid on the brain.

Like his Facebook Page: Martin Fleig
Check out his website: http://www.martin-fleig.de/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I started with cross country skiing. One day, I guess I was 14 years old or so, I tried biathlon. I really did not like it! A few years later I had the chance to get my own rifle, so I could shoot much more easily because the rifle fit me perfectly. My first competitions were not really good, but I found my motivation to go ahead with doing biathlon. And over the years the fun came too.

You became double World Champion in biathlon at your home Championships in Finsterau last season. Can you describe the feeling and what do you remember about the races?

It’s really difficult to describe. I guess I had a really good feeling before the first race started. I knew that I was in really good shape and the races at the World Cups before the Worlds were also very good for me. So I was able to start the Worlds with confidence. During the first race I often thought about my training at home at the Notschrei Nordic Center. I told myself all the time ‘you can do it, just do it like in your training’. I knew I just had to remember my shootings from the past and in my training before doing it clean. Honestly, at the 15k race I did not know about my comfortable situation by being the leader by almost 3 minutes. It was strange for me when I missed one shot because I was sure that my chance to take a medal was over. But after I finished the last shooting I heard the stadium commentator said something like‚ ‘Dont worry about your missed shot, Martin. You are still in the lead!’ That was really cool because I knew that I would be able to win a medal again.

You won both biathlon races at the World Cup round in PyeongChang. Do you like the tracks and range there? What are you goals for the Paralympic Games?

Oh yes, I really do like the tracks and also the place itself. About my goals, I am really not able to say something directly about that. Let us first start the new season and the first World Cup races and maybe then we could say a bit more about what we could expect at the PWG. All I can say now is, that I train really hard and do my best to be prepared for it! We also have to wait and see what the Russian guys will be able to do if they come back because we should not forget that those guys are the strongest skiers in the world!
(The Russian Team are currently banned by the IPC from all competitions following the McLaren Report into state sponsored doping at the Sochi Olympics.)

What have you been doing for summer training? Do you mostly train alone or with your teammates?

I have put my training into a new level. More hours overall than last year and some more technical training. We are doing a good mix of muscle and athletic training, skiing technique and also some other kinds of stamina training like handcycling, roller skiing or swimming. Most of the time I train with my Mother or alone. Twice a week I train with some teammates or with the head coach, Ralf Rombach or Michael Huhn.

Is your sit-ski custom made? Do you have the same one for roller skiing or do you need two? What is the most challenging thing for you in terms of skiing in the sit-ski?

Yes, it has been made by a firm called Rapp & Seifert – Sanitätshaus und Orthopädietechnik GmbH. A BIG thanks to those guys who make it possible for me to do my sport so successfully!!! For the upcoming season they have built me a new, much lighter sledge. So yes, now I have got two of them. To ski in the sitting position is very challenging in general. For me, the fast corners on a track are the most challenging ones.

Can you describe for my readers how you shoot from a sit-ski?

If I come to the shooting range, a coach has got my rifle in his hands and he chooses a shooting lane. Then I come to that lane, let myself fall down on my left side and the coach gives me the rifle and I can begin to shoot. After the shooting (5 targets), I get up by myself and go ahead with the next loop of 2,5km or 3km.

More and more of your fellow athletes are doing both a winter and summer sport now. Have you ever considered turning to the ‘dark side’ of summer sport? What sport would you do?

Well, I really admire those who handle both kinds of summer and winter sports at this high level. For me, in my situation it is impossible to imagine doing so. But IF I think about which summer sport I would do, it would be wheelchair races I guess. But I am not really sure about that, it is just a thought.

What are your hobbies away from biathlon and cross country?

I love photography! I prefer to be outside, no matter if I do sport or something else. To be outside gives me a feeling of freedom. And if I go outside to take photos, I can really get my mind free from all around me. It makes me feel very satisfied. I mostly photograph things like insects, flowers or things in nature.

Does your rifle have a name?

Nope.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): France
Favourite track: Ruhpolding
Favourite biathlete (IPC or IBU): Vanessa Hinz, Simon Schempp
Favourite shooting range: Oberhof
Lucky bib number: 10
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Martin Fourcade
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Laura Dahlmeier
Best thing about being a biathlete: The ability to manage the difference between skiing and shooting.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Advertisements

Electric Cable!

ipc soule

This year’s International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic World Championships took place in Cable, USA from the 23rd of January until the 1st of February. Cable is a town in Bayfield County, Wisconsin and is the starting point of the American Birkebeiner cross-country skiing race. Wisconsin is famous for it’s cheese and in a genius move by the organisers all the medallists received cheese shaped like Wisconsin along with their medals. Not that any of the biathletes need extra motivation but if they did the cheese would do it! The championships have been held in America twice before but this was the first time in Cable. They began with the opening ceremony on the 23rd of January but racing got underway properly on the 24th with the first of the biathlon disciplines.

The Sprint race was the first challenge for the biathletes. This means a 6km race for the women and 7.5km race for the men. We got underway with the sitting races and the men went first followed by the women. The first race gave us a surprise as a Russian didn’t win! It was in fact Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi who shot clear and took the first gold medal of the Championships. Also shooting clear and giving the home crowd something to shout about was America’s Andrew Soule. They were followed home in third by Alexey Bychenok of Russia. Surprisingly Russia’s Roman Petushkov who won 6 gold medals in Sochi could only finish 13th. In the women’s race it was a Russian one-two with Nadezhda Fedorova taking gold and Marta Zaynullina silver. In third was Olympic gold medalist Andrea Eksau of Germany.

The standing races came next and it was back to normal programming with a Russian gold medal from Vladislav Lekomtcev who beat France’s Benjamin Daviet into silver and Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset into bronze. In the women’s race the on form Oleksandra Kononova from the Ukraine won gold and Liudmyia Liashenko made it a double success for Ukraine by taking silver ahead of Maija Jarvela of Finland who won the bronze.

The last races of the day saw the Visually Impaired biathletes take to the course with their guides. Russia were again on top of the podium with Nikolay Polukhin/Andrey Tokarev winning the men’s race and Iuliia Budaleeva/Tatiana Maltseva winning the women’s race. The men’s podium was completed by Anatolii Kovalevski/O Mukshyn of the Ukraine and the other Russian pair Vladimir Udaltcov/ Ruslan Bogachev who won silver and bronze respectively. Silver in the women’s race went to Oksana Shyshkova/Lada Nesterenko of the Ukraine and Germany got their second bronze of the day from Vivian Hosch/F Schillinger.

On Tuesday the biathlon Middle distances races took place for all categories. The distance was 10km for the women and 12.5km for the men. In the men’s race we had a Russian winner but not the one you might have expected. Grigory Murygin took gold and Alexey Bychenok improved his Sprint position by 1 place to take silver with Germany’s Martin Fleig in third. In the women’s race it was a clean sweep for Russian with Maria Iovleva winning gold, Irina Guliaeva silver and Marta Zaynullina bronze.

In the standing race Lekomtcev made it double gold for himself winning ahead of Ulset who got silver to add to his Sprint bronze and Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh who got his first medal in third. The women’s race was another clean sweep but this time by the Ukraine. Kononova and Liashenko finished in the same positions as the Sprint race in gold and silver and their teammate Iryna Bui joined them on the podium by coming in third.

In the VI the men’s race went to Polukhin/Tokarev who repeated their Sprint victory. Silver went to another Russian pair Stanislav Chokhlaev/E Fatkhullin and bronze to guess who more Russians Udaltcov/Bogachev. For the women Budaleeva/Maltseva took their second biathlon gold followed by Shyshkova/Nesterenko who took their second silver and in third place was Russian pair Elena Remizova/Maksim Priogov.

Friday saw the final biathlon races of the Championships and it was the turn of the Long distance. Long translates into 12.5km for the women and 15km for the men. By now you will have realised that Russia are pretty good at Para-biathlon and again swept the podium in the women’s sitting event. This time is was Zaynullina with gold, Konovalova with silver and Kocherova with bronze. In the men’s event home boy Andy Soule prevented another Russian clean sweep by taking his second biathlon silver. Russian’s Bychenok and Murygin took gold and bronze.

In the women’s standing Oleksandra Kononova made it an incredible 3 out of 3 gold in biathlon and overall won 6 golds including her cross country medals. An outstanding performance from a quite brilliant athlete. Her teammate Liashenko must be sick of her though as she again lost out on the win but gained another silver medal. Finland’s Jarvela got her second medal getting the bronze. The men’s race excitingly had three different nationalities on the podium. Reptyukh took gold, Lekomtcev silver and Daviet bronze.

The final events were the VI and surprise surprise Polukhin/Tokarev got their third gold and completed an excellent championships for the Russian and his guide. Chokhlaev/Fatkhullin came in second and Iurii Utkin/ Vitalii Kazakov of the Ukraine in third. As for the women it was more gold for Russia in the shape of Budaleeva/Maltseva,more silver for Russia from Remizova/Pirogov and more medals for the Ukraine too from Olga Prylutska/ Borys Babar.

What a great World Championships we had! Some incredible performances especially by the unbeaten Oleksandra Kononova and Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarev. The Russian’s and Ukrainians dominated proceeding as expected but there were some who managed to break their domination. Andy Soule had a dream home championships getting 2 silver medals, Benjamin Daviet also takes home 2 medals and Maija Jarvela got on the podium twice. I really hope all these guys like cheese as they have a lot of it to eat. It has been an historic IPC World Championships in Wisconsin with some amazing races and great individual performances. It really was an Electric Cable!

There were also cross country races and you can find full results for cross country and biathlon here:
http://www.paralympic.org/nordic-skiing/calendar-results

For more information about para-nordic sports see:
http://www.paralympic.org/
You can follow IPC Nordic Skiing on Twitter: @IPCNordic

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook.