Tag Archives: Lee In-bok

Oberhof 2017: The Sprints!

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Biathlon is back after the Christmas break and we find ourselves in Oberhof! Or do we? You might not recognise it because of all the snow but it is in fact Oberhof. After a few years struggling with no snow , you may remember last year’s World Cup was moved to Ruhpolding, now there is too much!

It meant a difficult race for the Men’s Sprint on Thursday afternoon with fresh snow on the tracks making them slower and changing wind and snow conditions throughout the race. Although it’s good for the fans as it throws up some different results.

After his near total domination before Christmas Martin Fourcade didn’t win! (Of course he chooses the race when he is in bib23 to do it but I won’t hold a grudge…..well just a small one!) Instead we saw Austria’s Julian Eberhard win the second race of his career. He is one of the fastest skiers in the field and if he hits the targets he always has the chance to win. It’s just that he doesn’t hit them that often! Today he did and with 9/10, just 1 miss in the prone, he won by almost 11 seconds. I have a theory that the wind makes his bullets hit when they normally miss so if it’s bad conditions put your money on Eberhard! 😉

Second place went to the Czech Republic’s Michal Slesingr who also missed just one target and in third place was Dominik Windisch from Italy also with 1 miss. Martin Fourcade finished in 8th after missing 3 shots in the standing shoot. He was beaten for the first time this season by rivals Simon Schempp in 6th and Emil Svendsen in 7th. It should make for a fun Pursuit on Saturday!

Two biathletes managed to shoot 10/10 in the tough conditions. Lukas Hofer who started in bib 70 cleared the targets to finish 4th just 0.1 of a second from 3rd place and South Korea’s Lee In-bok came 51st, his career best result.

There were more personal best World Cup results from the Czech Republic’s Adam Vaclavik in 17th, Germany’s Matthias Bischl in 22nd, Poland’s Grzegorz Guzik in 26th and Croatia’s Kresimir Crnkovic in 37th. It wasn’t a good race from Klemen Bauer however as a problem with his rifle meant he had to use the team’s spare and missed all 5 prone targets and 2 in the stand eventually finishing in 96th place.

The women were treated to much better conditions on Friday. The sun was out and the wind was calm which made for a lot of good shooting. Gabriela Koukalova started where she finished off in Nove Mesto by taking the win with 10/10. Second place went to Kaisa Makarainen who missed 2 shots in the standing but must be skiing really fast to end up second. Third place went to Marie Dorin Habert who missed 1 shot.

Laura Dahlmeier decided not to race today but should be back for the Mass Start on Sunday. Darya Domracheva made her long awaited comeback and finished 37th with 2 misses. Anais Chevalier continued her good form in 4th and the best German on the day was Maren Hammerschmidt in 5th.

Chardine Sloof who is now racing for Sweden got her personal best result with clean shooting in 10th. Poland’s Gwizdon and Guzik had good races on 8th and 11th places respectively and China’s Jialin Tang made it back into the points in 20th.

It sets up two very exciting Pursuit races tomorrow and who knows what the conditions will be like! I can’t wait!

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Lee In-bok!

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Now that those pesky Summer Olympics are over we can look forward to the real Olympics – The Winter Games! I mean is sport without snow even sport at all? Well that’s for the philosophers among you to decide but someone who will be looking forward to the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang more than most people is Lee In-bok.

The South Korean biathlete will have the opportunity to compete in a home Olympic Games, a chance that not many sportspeople get. Lee was born in the North Jeolla Province of South Korea on the 30th of March 1984.

He is a vastly experienced member of the South Korean team. He has already competed at two Olympic Games for his country in Vancouver and Sochi. His best result at the Olympics was 65th place in the Sprint race in Vancouver.

He has also taken part in six biathlon World Championships starting in Antholz in 2007 going through to Oslo Holmenkollen last season. His best result for these Championships was 71st in the Sprint race in Nove Mesto in 2013.

On the World Cup he has achieved two Top 60 positions to date but is still waiting for his first points scoring finish. He was 53rd in the Hochfilzen Individual race in 2008/09 which is his career best result. He was also 60th in 2007/08 in the Sprint race at home in PyeongChang.

It will be a very important couple of seasons for Lee In-bok. He will be nearly 34 when the Olympics take place and so he will have to make sure he stays fit so that he can arrive at his home Games in good form.

This season he should be looking to grab a few more Top 60 finishes and obviously the best chance to do this is in the races that he is guaranteed to start – the Sprint and the Individual. There is also the chance to compete in Hochfilzen, the scene of his best finish to date, in the World Championships. Hopefully he can achieve another good result there to boost his confidence before he goes into the Olympic year.

As you will see from his results he won’t be threatening the podium in PyeongChang but it is a chance for him to get his own best result and with the motivation of a home crowd it could see him make it into the Top 40 in one of the events. Possibly more importantly it will give him the chance to showcase biathlon to his fellow Koreans and hopefully make it more popular and encourage more interest and investment in the sport there.

Only three people can win medals in any one race at the Olympics but they are, or should be, about a lot more than that. It is a chance for all the biathletes to show where all their hard work and training has got them and to hopefully encourage more people to take up the sport. It’s about participation and fairness and unity. Not everyone can win a medal but everyone who takes part and especially those like Lee In-bok who are competing in their own country can try and give the best performance of their career.

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Over the Mun!

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Now that the Sochi Olympics is long gone and we have forgotten what happened and who won what (only joking!) it’s time to turn our attention to the next Winter Olympics which will take place in Pyeongchang in South Korea. For those of you who don’t know South Korea is at the same latitude as Spain and can get very cold in winter as I know from personal frozen cheeked experience! Therefore it should make a great place for the next Olympics.

All the South Korean biathletes will be looking forward to 2018 and I have decided to cast my eye over one of them here. Ji-hee Mun -pronounced ‘moon’ otherwise my title doesn’t work so well! – is one of South Korea’s best known biathletes. Born in Jeonbuk Province on the 2nd of August 1988 she will be coming up to 30 by the time we reach Pyeongchang.

She was the only female biathlete from South Korea to go to Sochi accompanying the vastly experienced Lee In-bok. She finished 74th in the Sprint event and 69th in the Individual. On the World Cup her best result to date was a 37th place finish in the Sprint event in Pyeongchang in 2007/08. This was one of two occasions that she has appeared in the TOP 40, the other coming in the Antholz Individual where she came 39th. Ji-hee also has many TOP 60 finishes to her name and is a prominent member of the South Korean relay teams.

Winning the right to host the Winter Olympics in 2018 is a big deal for South Korea and is a fantastic chance to increase the popularity of biathlon in the country. You won’t be surprised to learn that it is not a well-known or well supported sport there but with the Olympics it is a fantastic opportunity for biathletes like Ji-hee to showcase their sport at home. They also had a chance to do this in 2009 when the World Championships where held there. It was nice for the South Koreans to have their families and friends be able to watch them and with the bigger stage of the Olympics it will bring more attention to them and the sport.

Ji-hee started biathlon at the age of 14 and I am sure she never expected to have the chance to compete in a home Olympics some 16 years later. It is only the beginning of the 4 year cycle that will take us to Pyeongchang and I am sure all the South Korea team will be working really hard to make sure they are selected for the team and that they can compete well and show their fellow citizens what biathlon is all about. Ji-hee must really be looking forward to this and if she can get some good results at home I know she will be Over the Mun!

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