Tag Archives: Lithuanian biathlon

Gabrielė Leščinskaitė: The Interview!

Gabrielė Leščinskaitė is a Lithuanian biathlete. She was born on the 25th of March 1996. She has represented Lithuania at the Youth/Junior World Championships four times. She has raced on the IBU Cup, World Cup and at the World Championships.

Like her Facebook page: Gabrielė Leščinskaitė Biathlete

Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because probably that was one of God’s plans. If not because of this, then the reason was my surroundings. I was born in a sporty family so from a very young age I had to release energy in order to express myself. Actually I insensibly chose biathlon because I can’t even clearly remember how and when I became a biathlete. It just happens when your stepfather turns out to be the President of the Lithuanian biathlon federation.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? What were you disappointed with?

I hope that last season was the last such terrible and gloomy season in my life. I think there is nothing I am happy with. But I survived it though. Obviously there are many things I am disappointed with. It is quite hard to pick out one or two things that I feel sad about because everything in life is made of millions of connected pieces like a chain. However, one of the worst things that disturbed my preparation was a groin injury. That made me reduce the workload to the minimum and just maintain some kind of shape but in the end I was still suffering from the endless sore leg and butt. Apart from poor physical preparation I have been fighting with other problems related to psychological and mental health like intense anxiety, fear, insomnia etc.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan up until December?

This summer is a little bit different from the previous ones. First of all, I started to work constantly only in July, so the majority of the work is simply delayed. Secondly, we got some changes in our team. Some of the biathletes left the biathlon world and a new coach came to train the rest of us. So as usual half of the summer we spent in Lithuania, then some athletes had a camp in the mountains, while others stayed in the Baltics. Soon we should go to Ramsau but this year is an exception and we are heading to Vuokatti to check the snow out there. Finally, our preparation journey ends in beloved Sjusjoen, how could we miss this place?!

What is your favourite or best biathlon event? Why?

I do not have a favorite event but I do have a least favorite one and it is the Individual race. And you know what, the greatest achievements of my life was made during Individual races :)))

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths are persistence, patience and hope. My weaknesses are uncertainty, low self-confidence and vulnerability.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals for next season are to improve my skiing technique and shooting time. Staying overall healthy, peaceful and optimistic should help me get the right shape I guess.

Do you have any hobbies away from biathlon?

I would like to have more time for hobbies but I have to continue my studies every time I come home after competitions. The only things I can do is just spend time with my family and take some dancing sessions that are the only thing that takes away the worries, lightens me up and inspires.

How popular is biathlon in Lithuania?

Actually some years ago you could barely find any Lithuanian that knew what biathlon is. I have been repeating the same story of giving an explanation of this sport to every person that hasn’t heard about it. I feel really satisfied that after the Olympics in PyeongChang the situation is turning to be a bit better.
Of course there is nothing to talk about the funding, on this point biathlon suffers from a lack of financial aid a lot.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

Probably I do. Hochfilzen and Anterselva. Because of the aura there. Sjusjoen track is nice for me as well.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

That would be Algimantas Salna. Because he’s like legend walking on the earth.

Does your rifle have a name?

No.

Describe yourself in three words.

Always a dreamer.

Quickfire Questions:
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Haven’t seen it yet.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Lithuanian of course!
Favourite shooting range: Lenzerheide.
Lucky bib number: Doesn’t exist.
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Klemen Bauer.
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Clare Egan.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Chance of winning for everyone.

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Tomas: Yes, he Kau’KAN’as!!!

kaukenas

It’s fair to say that last season wasn’t the greatest for Tomas Kaukenas. The Lithuanian biathlete from Ignalina didn’t manage to score a single point on the World Cup which means he never got inside the TOP 40 in any of the races. He’s not the only one you are thinking and that’s correct but it is not a true indication of his talents.

Tomas was born on the 1st of May 1990 and made his World Cup debut at age 18 in 2009. At only 25 he has been to 4 World Championships and also to the Olympics in Sochi. In fact he performed really well in Sochi and managed a trio of respectable results. He finished 47th in the Sprint and improved that to 40th in the Pursuit. It was in the the Individual that he produced his best result however finishing in 23rd place.

His personal best on the World Cup was a 22nd place finish in the Pursuit race in Kontiolahti in season 2013/14. That year he finished 58th in the Total Score with 62 points. Strangely enough that was exactly the same score as he got when finishing in 63rd position overall the year before. His personal best finish from the World Championships just happens to be a 22nd place in the Sprint from Nove Mesto in 2013.

So as you can see apart from being a numerical oddity he is also a very good biathlete which makes his performances last year a bit of an enigma. Lithuania is not one of the biggest biathlon nations and so therefore doesn’t have the money to compete with some of the other teams when trying to identify and bring through young talent. However they seem to have done that with Kaukenas and so hopefully last year was just a little slip from him and he will come back stronger next season.

With the addition of the Single Mixed Relay to the biathlon schedule hopefully he will have a chance to showcase his talents and maybe get a few points for the Lithuanian team. He has the skill to break into the TOP 20 if he can regain his form. If he can recreate his performances from 2013 and 2014 he will easily make the TOP 40 and maybe even score more than the 62 points he got in those 2 seasons!

You could also argue that the colour of last year’s Lithuanian ski suit may have mean that Tomas didn’t want to be seen and that could be the reason for his disappearance from the TOP 40 last season!! Joking aside it would be great to see him get back to his best as it’s always good to see biathletes from different countries doing well. Their neighbour’s Latvia have Andrejs Rastorgujevs to inspire them and it would be nice of Tomas could do the same sort of thing for Lithuania. Can he do that this coming season? Yes he Kau’KAN’as!!

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