Tag Archives: Oleksandra Kononova

The Biathlon23 Awards 2019/2020!

Hello and welcome to the 7th annual Biathlon23 awards. The alternative awards for biathlon which represent the important things in the sport with best facial hair, best earrings and best ski suit among the most prestigious and most sought after awards. To be honest it has been a bit of a struggle writing these this season in the light of world events but if they can even just make you crack a small smile all the wailing, gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair will have been worth it! (To be fair the pulling out of hair is the only way I can get it shorter with no trips to the hairdresser allowed!)

The awards are of course subject to a rigorous system 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):
Paulina Fialkova was not the most popular interview on my blog this season! Just the second most popular even though it is now a few years old! This season’s winner was a slow burner that picked up a lot of interest a little while after it was published. It belongs to a biathlon renegade! From the naked lady on her rifle to her super cool middle name from her maths genius (!) to her hilarious instagram ramblings – what’s not to like!

Winner: Joanne Reid


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:

‘dorothea wierer speaking german’ Yes she does and Italian and English! Is there no end to her talents?
‘dorothea wierer jeans’ I don’t think the super fashionista and helicopter traveller would be seen in jeans these days! 😉
‘tuuli tomingas prize money’ If you want to know how much money she has Mr and Mrs Tomingas just ask her!
‘petra fialkova biathlon’ My favourite of the Fialkova sisters!
‘laura dahlmeier biathlon where she been’ Great question! Wasting her time by not being a biathlete anymore!
‘when did hanna oberg begin her youtube career’ Hey Oberg stick to biathlon! Leave the vlogging and blogging to others please! 😉
‘biathlon and drugs’ What you do at the weekend is your own business!
‘what is a super sprint in biathlon’ Exactly! All I know is it’s a sprint and it’s super!
‘benjamin weger career end’ Fear not he only ended the season early. Do you get the feeling he knew something we didn’t!

Winner: ‘scottish biathlete mike dixon best result’ – I believe it was getting a sweet job as biathlon commentator on Eurosport! Or as I like to call it – my job!

Best Facial Hair:
It looks like I am going to have to give this award to the same person in perpetuity! I mean nobody else has made much facial hair effort this season. Are beards out now? Are we back to clean shaven? Anyway nobody can beat this guy. Imagine the effort it takes to comb and wax that moustache everyday to look like D’Artagnan?

Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There were some good earrings around this season but they were all blown out the water by the newly discovered Estonian earring legend! Sporting an earring made from an old casing – well hopefully it is old!- what could be more appropriate than that for a biathlete! Not sure anyone can top that in the future!

Winner: Regina Oja

Best fall:

There were quite a lot of falls this season especially in Oberhof. Kalev Ermits skied right off the tracks onto the road and then Dominik Windisch managed to hit everything down the side of the tracks but luckily just missed the lampost! However the best fall was in Kontiolahti. You have just announced your retirement, your team throws you up in the air in celebration – and then drop you on the ground from a great height! Hilariously funny and a great way to end a stellar career! NOT! 😉
Note to French team – see Finnish team for proper technique!

Winner: Martin Fouracde

Best GIF:
The GIFs on Instagram are a lot of fun! We had some dances, some very strange facial expressions and a bit of comedy too. My favourite and the one that comes in the most useful is a Norwegian who lifts his glasses, has a look and then gives a round of applause. Hopefully he will do the same for these awards!

Winner: Johannes Dale

Best rifle design:
Well I think this award is going to be retired this season! The biathletes are pretty pathetic at rifle design. We have the standouts of course – Davidova, Krcmar, Lesser etc. but they are not new. Seriously how hard is it to come up with a cool design! Oh I know I will just change the colour! Not good enough people! (I apologise if I have missed any good work on the IBU Cup or Juniors). Anyway in what is almost certainly the final awarding of best rifle design it is going to someone who actually makes their own rifle with their own fair hand which is pretty amazing.

Winner: Quentin Fillon Maillet

Best ski suit:
What do we look for in a good ski suit? Well first it needs to be easily recognisable from afar or in a crowd. It needs the colours of the country and of course it needs pizzazz! Germany looked like Germany again this season which was good. Norway always have a good suit. This year’s winner though was made especially for the World Championships. Normally I am against changing suit for World champs but this one is actually better than the World Cup suit! It has all the colours of the national flag and has pizzazz in abundance!

Winner: Belgium

Worst ski suit:
Bulgaria won this last season and then had the audacity not to even change their suit for this season! Do they not read the awards!!! This season I had to give worst suit to what can only be described as a harlequin gone wrong – badly wrong!

Winner: Romania

Best Biathlete23:
Not a lot of competetion this year for this award. Jakov Fak and Tarjei Boe both came 4th in bib23 at the World Championships in Antholz which was great. However almost at the last minute our heroine stepped up to save the day by getting biathlete23’s only podium in the sprint in Nove Mesto when she finished third! Unicorn power + bib23 = success! It’s simple maths! 😉

Winner: Marketa Davidova

Biggest Improver:
This was a straight fight between two biathletes. One is an estabished competitor who made leaps and bounds in performance this season and one is a young biathlete who has shown what amazing potential they have. Some suggested that it was Tora Berger in a mission impossible style mask, but I believe it was Tiril Eckhoff who won all those races and challenged for the overall title. A fall in the summer meant she spent a lot of time on her shooting and boy did it pay off. She was like a new biathlete. However the award is going to a young man who went from 24th to 5th in the overall in one season, took his first win at World Championships no less and won the world cup pursuit title. He had never made the World Cup podium before this season. Now that’s what I call improvement!

Winner: Emilien Jacquelin

Best Team Performance:
This was a no brainer! I mean winning every single race on the World Cup and the World Championships is a remarkable feat. The relay can easily be lost if just one team member has a bad day or even just one bad shoot. This team overcame everything that was thrown at them to be the first to win six races in one season.

Winner: Norwegian Women’s relay team

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
A difficult choice this season between three biathletes. Martin Fouracde winning his last race in Kontiolahti was emotional and Kaisa Makarainen winning in horrible conditions in the Oberhof mass start in her last season was extremely impressive. The award goes to another however. She won the pursuit gold medal in her home town at the World Championships under enormous pressure. After a shaky start in the sprint were she finished 7th she fought off some of the best biathletes around to take the win. It was a dream come true! – oh and she isn’t retiring!

Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
A tough decision this year. We had Johannes Boe winning his second overall in a row and Dorothea Wierer doing the same. Martin Fourcade came back to near his best and Emilien Jacquelin and Tiril Eckhoff both had breakthough seasons for different reasons. However the award is going to a history maker and fantastic biathlete who is the first to win seven medals in seven races at World Championships. She went home to Norway with five gold and two bronze medals from Antholz. Sustaining that level of performance over such a short time is outstanding.

Winner: Marte Olsbu Roeiseland

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
The para biathlon World Championship was cancelled this year so it comes down to World Cup performances to decide this one. Ivan Golubkov, Vladislav Lekomtsev and Oleksandra Kononova were strong contenders for this but the award goes to a sit skier who is a remarkable biathlete. She skis very well but her shooting is incredible. She took the overall title in the sitting category, winning 4 of the 7 races, for the second year in a row up against some tough opposition.

Winner: Kendall Gretsch

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
It wasn’t an easy decision for this one. There have been some very good performances from the juniors this season not only on the junior tour but also on the World Cup. One that stood out was a 22-year-old from Bulgaria. She won a medal in each individual event at the Junior World Championships (individual silver, sprint and pursuit bronze) and took a personal best on the World Cup of 17th at the Senior World Championships. She is from a small biathlon nation that lacks the same funding as the big nations which makes her performances even more impressive!

Winner: Milena Todorova

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

The Youth World Championships were held in Lenzerheide in January and one biathlete stood out for his performances across the whole event. The 18-year-old Norwegian won three gold medals. He was first in the individual, first in the pursuit and anchored the Norwegian relay team to victory. His worst result over 4 races was 4th in the sprint! Outstanding – watch out Johannes!

Winner: Martin Nevland

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Season Review 2019/20: Para biathlon!

Yury Holub

Just when para biathlon finally gets it’s own World Championships without a cross country skier in sight along comes a global pandemic and it gets cancelled!!! What are the chances?!

Normally the para nordic world championships are with both biathlon and cross country but this season it was going to be biathlon only – the dream! However they were cancelled the night before they were due to start in Oestersund. It’s a shame but the health and safety of the world comes first and there will be more chances to hold them in the future.

Before that anti-climax there were three World Cup rounds in Lillehammer, Altenberg and Finsterau. How very biathlon – Norway and two rounds in Germany! 😉

As you know there are three categories in para biathlon; sitting, standing and visually impaired (VI) and they are for both men and women so you get six races a day and six world cup winners! In your face IBU! 😉

Taking his first world cup title in biathlon in the visually impaired category was Yury Holub from Belarus. He won two out of the seven races across the season and was consistently on the podium which ensured he would win the crystal globe in a very competitive field. In the women’s VI it was Russia’s Vera Khlyzova who was victorious overall.

In fact Russia took three world cup titles this season on the team’s return to action after being banned due to the ‘Sochi shenanigans’.

Vladislav Lekomtsev dominated the men’s standing with 5 wins from 7 races reminding everyone what a tough customer he is! The men’s sitting saw simliar success for Ivan Golubkov who won four races to clinch the crystal globe ahead of Martin Fleig of Germany.

The women’s standing went to Ukraine who have many talented biathletes in this category. Oleksandra Kononova took the title for the second year in a row fighting off competition from teammate Iryna Bui.

The women’s sitting title went to American sharpshooter Kendall Gretsch who makes Annie Oakley look like an average shot! 😉 She also claimed the crystal globe for the second season in succession winning four of the seven races.

Next season the biathlon world championships will be held in Lillehammer in February 2021 – hopefully!

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Para-Biathlon World Champs 2019: Prince George!

I’m not sure how the International Paralympic Committee got permission from the Royal family to let Prince George host the Para-Nordic World Championships but the little guy did a good job!!! Of course not! They were held in Prince George, Canada! 😉

There were three biathlon races, the middle on Saturday 16th February, the sprint on Wednesday 20th February and the individual on Thursday the 21st of February.

Biathlon Middle:

There were surprise wins in the sitting categories with neither of the pre-races favourites, Americans Kendall Gretsch and Daniel Cnossen, taking the wins. Instead the women’s title went to fellow American Oksana Masters who missed 3 targets from 20 but Gretsch missed 4 on the final shoot after having hit the first 15. She still got silver and Germany’s Andrea Eskau took the bronze medal hitting 19/20.

In the men’s race Ukrainian Taras Rad won the gold medal hitting the perfect 20/20. He finished ahead of Canada’s Collin Cameron who despite 3 misses got his best biathlon result to date. The bronze medal went to Eui Hyun Sin of South Korea with 1 miss.

There was also a shock in the women’s standing. After winning all of the World Cup races this season the Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova became unstuck with this one. Her teammate Liudmyla Liashenko grabbed gold with 3 misses, Yuliia Betnkova-Baumann was second with 2 misses. Kononova took bronze also missing 3 to make it an all Ukrainian podium.

The men’s standing went more to form. France’s Benjamin Daviet was the only man to shoot 20/20 and so no one could stop him winning the gold medal. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset missed 3 but skied hard to take silver. Canadian Mark Arendz finished third with just 1 miss.

The vision impaired (VI) races went exactly to form. German Clara Klug missed 3 but still took the title with guide Martin Hartl. Oksana Shyshkova from the Ukraine missed 1 and finished in the silver medal position with guide Vitalii Kazakov. Bronze went to Ukraine’s 16-year-old Andriana Kupustei and guide Nazar Stefurak at their debut World Championships.

In the men’s race Yury Holub from Belarus missed 1 shot to win the gold medal with guide Dzmitry Budzilovich. Vitaliy Luk’yanenko of Ukraine hit 20/20 to take silver with guide Borys Babar. France’s Anthony Chalencon missed 5 but skied well to get bronze with guide Simon Valverde.

Biathlon Sprint

Amazingly considering this is biathlon and anything can happen every single winner in every class won again in the sprint meaning we had 6 double World Champions! Yury Hulub missed 1 in the men’s VI but held off Ukrainians Dmytro Suiarko and guide Vasyl Potapenko who took silver with 10/10 on the range and Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksander Mukshyn who took bronze with 2 misses.

Clara Klug took gold with 1 miss in the women’s race. Oksana Shyshkova missed 3 and had to settle for silver ahead of clean shooting Adriana Kapustei.

Benjamin Daviet shot clean again to take the men’s standing title. Behind him also shooting 10/10 were Ukrainian Gregorii Vovchynski in second and Mark Arendz in third.

Liudmyla Liashenko defeated her teammate Oleksandra Kononova on the tracks after both women missed a shot in the standing sprint. Norway’s Vilde Nilsen was third with 2 misses getting her first World Championship medal in biathlon after skipping the middle distance race.

Taras Rad was too quick for Germany’s Martin Fleig in the men’s sitting race after they both shot clean. Fleig took silver in bib23!!! The bronze medal went to Aaron Pike who won his first medal at a major event in biathlon with 1 miss.

Oksana Masters continued to surprise herself with back to back wins in biathlon after a tough summer with an elbow injury. She shot the same score as teammate Kendall Gretsch, both women missing 1 target, but was stronger on the skis. Third place went to Andrea Eskau with no misses.

Biathlon Individual

Benjamin Daviet continued his amazing form in the individual winning despite 1 miss which added a minute to his time. Mark Arendz in second, who had perfect shooting, and Gregorii Vovchynskyi in third with 1 miss could do nothing to stop him becoming a triple World Champion in biathlon.

There were another three triple World Champions crowned on Thursday. Liudmyla Liashenko with the perfect 20/20 led a podium clean sweep for Ukraine with Oleksandra Kononova in silver with a 2 misses and Yuliia Batenkova-Baumann getting bronze despite 3 misses.

There was another perfect shooting score in the women’s sitting with Kendall Gretsch finally getting her first gold medal at World Championships. Oksana Masters took the silver with 3 misses and Andrea Eskau got bronze with 1 miss.

Taras Rad won his third biathlon gold in bib23!!! 🙂 He beat Martin Fleig into second with 18/20 and Ukraine’s Vasyl Kravchuk was third with the same shooting score grabbing his first medal at this event.

Clara Klug was the final biathlete to secure triple gold with a clean shoot in the women’s VI. Her teammate Johanna Recktenwald with guide Simon Schmidt shot the same 20/20 to take bronze for her first World Championship medal. Oksana Shyshkova split the German pair with 1 miss costing her the chance of victory.

In the men’s VI it was Paralympic champion Vitaliy Luk’yanenko who got gold hitting all 20 targets. Yuru Holub missed 3 but finished only 10 seconds behind after a great ski. Ukraine’s Iaroslav Reshetynskyi and guide Kostiantyn Yaremenko won the bronze medal with 18/20.

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The Road to PyeongChang? Seriously?

Apparently there is something going on next year in February and March. Not sure what it is but maybe it’s one of those new reality TV shows about survival. People keep talking about the road to PyeongChang. I don’t know about you but the only road I know that goes to PyeongChang runs through North Korea so maybe I am right!

Of course not! It’s the Winter Olympics and Paralympics! If nuclear war hasn’t broken out by then the eyes of the biathlon world will turn to South Korea. There are other ‘so-called’ sports taking place too but none of interest to us! 😉

PyeongChang is a county in the Gwangwon province of South Korea. It is located in the Taebaek mountain region and is around 180km east of the capital Seoul. Happy 700 PyeongChang is the slogan of the area. The average height of the region is 700 metres above sea level and apparently this is the optimal elevation to live at. Expect lots of elderly spectators at the biathlon then.

The biathlon races will take place at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre which will also be used for sports such as cross country skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined. Or as I call them biathlon’s annoying little cousins! 😉

The arena has 4500 seats and room for 3000 people to stand giving an official capacity of 7500. The altitude difference for the tracks is from 749 to 796 metres. They weren’t joking about the height of the area!

There will be 11 biathlon events taking place. On the 10th of February is the Women’s Sprint followed by the Men’s Sprint on the 11th. Both Pursuit races take place on the 12th. The 14th and 15th are for the Women’s and Men’s Individuals respectively. The Mass Starts are on the 17th and 18th. The Relays are all at the end of the programme with the Mixed Relay on the 20th, the Women’s Relay on the 22nd and excitingly the Men’s Relay on the 23rd!!! An auspicious day indeed! 😉

The races will all be held in the evening local time which means if you are watching in Europe they will be on mid-morning or early afternoon when everyone is at work. If you are watching in North America they will be on very early morning when you are asleep! Great news!

Defending their title (because let’s face it no one remembers who won in Sochi!) will be Anastasiya Kuzmina and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen in the Sprints, Darya Domracheva and Martin Fourcade in the Pursuits and the Individuals and Domracheva and Emil Hegle Svendsen in the Mass Starts. Hoping to hang on to the Relay titles will be Norway in the Mixed Relay, Ukraine in the Women’s Relay and Russia in the Men’s Relay.

It should be a great Olympic Games and it will be followed in March from the 9th to the 18th by the Paralympics. There will be 18 biathlon events over 3 categories. Men and women compete in the visually impaired races, the standing races or the sitting races depending on their impairment.

They will race over 3 distances which are the short, middle and lndividual. The short distance is 6km for the women and 7.5 for the men. The middle distance is 10km or 12.5km and the Indvidual is 12.5km or 15km.

The champions from Sochi in the short distance for the women were Russia’a Mikhalina Lysova (VI), Alena Kaufman (standing) and Germany’s Andrea Eskau (sitting). For the men it was the Ukraine’s Vitaliy Lukyanenko (VI),Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtsev (standing) and Russia’s Roman Petushkov (sitting).

The middle distance gold medals were won by Lysova and Kaufman and Germany’s Anja Wicker in the sitting race. The men’s were won by Lukayenko, Russia’s Azat Karachurin and Petushkov. The Individual titles went to Russia’s Iuliia Budaleeva, Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova and Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova. Winning for the men were Russia’s Nikolai Polukhin, Ukraine’s Gyrgorii Vovchynskyi and Petushkov completeing his clean sweep in the sitting races.

At the time of writing it is unknown whether the Russian team will be allowed to compete in PyeongChang as they are currently banned after the McLaren Report findings. The decision will be made in September by the International Paralympic Committee and will be an important one as you can see where a lot of the medals tend to go!

There are less than six months to go before the Games get underway. The biathletes are already quite far along the road to PyeongChang. However I would recommend booking a flight. Seriously!!! 😉

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Finsterau 2017: Biathlon Sprint!

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Women’s Standing.Kononova,Liashenko,Bui

Saturday was the final day of action for the biathletes at the World Championships in Finsterau. The last day saw the biathlon sprint races take place and some familiar names on the podium.

In the women’s standing race Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko matched her gold medal from the Individual by winning the Sprint title shooting clean. Defending world champion Oleksandra Kononova took silver and Ukraine made it a 1-2-3 with Iryna Bui taking the bronze.

The men’s title in the standing went to Canada’s Mark Arendz. He won by just 2 seconds from another Ukrainian Ihor Reptyukh with France’s Benjamin Daviet getting bronze.

The Ukrainians enjoyed even more success in the visually impaired events as Oksana Shyshkova with guide Vitalii Kazakov beat Germany’s Clara Klug guided by Martin Hartl. Ukraine’s Olga Prylutska with guide Volodymyr Ivanov took another bronze to add to Ukraine’s massive medal haul.

Anatolii Kovalevskyi guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn added another gold in the men’s race. Belarus’ Vasili Shaptsiaboi and guide Mikhail Lebedzeu won the silver and France’s Anthony Chalencon with guide Simon Valverde got the bronze in what was his first ever podium in biathlon.

The USA’s Oksana Masters won the women’s sitting race despite missing 2 targets. Anja Wicker was second taking another medal for the hosts and Belarusian Lidzyia Hrafeyeva grabbed the bronze.

More gold for Ukraine came from Maksym Yarovyi who won ahead of teammate Taras Rad in the men’s sitting. Germany’s Martin Fleig added a bronze to his two gold medals meaning he won a medal in every biathlon race at his home World Championships.

It has been a really good World Championships with Ukraine as the dominant team. However it was also successful for the home team Germany which always helps to make the event enjoyable for the crowd.

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Finsterau 2017: Biathlon Individual!

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Men’s Standing podium. Arendz,Daviet,Ulset.

It’s Valentine’s Day so a great day to show your love for biathlon! It was also the second day of biathlon competition at the World Championships in Finsterau, Germany.

Today was the Biathlon Individual races which means 4 shoots and 15km of skiing for the men and 12.5km for the women.

The first race of the day was the Men’s Sitting and was won by Germany’s Martin Fleig who now becomes double World Champion after winning gold in the Biathlon Middle. He shot 19/20 to beat the Ukraine’s Taras Rad into second place. Norway’s Tryvge Larsen took bronze.

The Women’s sitting race was also won by a German. Anja Wicker repeated Fleig’s shooting score of 19/20 to win her first gold here in Finsterau. Silver went to Lidziya Hrafeyeva from Belarus and bronze was won by Oksana Masters from the USA.

The next races were the men’s and women’s standing events. The men’s race went to France’s Benjamin Daviet who shot 19/20. Mark Arendz from Canada shot the same score to grab the silver medal to add to his gold from the biathlon Middle. Third went to Norway’s Nil-Erik Ulset who missed 2 targets.

There was a big surprise in the women’s standing when Liudmyla Liashenko won the gold medal. The Ukranian missed just 1 target to secure gold. Normally it is her teammate Oleksandra Kononova who wins this race but she finished last missing 9 targets. The silver medal went to Japan with Momoko Dekijima getting her first medal here in Finsterau and bronze went to Iryna Bui of Ukraine.

The final races were the visually impaired races where the biathetes require a guide to help them ski around the course and an acoustic system to help them shoot.

The men’s race was won by Vasili Shaptsiaboi with his guide Dzmitry Budzilovich from Belarus. He missed just 1 target to finish ahead of silver medal winners Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn from Ukraine. Bronze went to their teammates Vitaliy Lukyanenko and guide Ivan Marrchshak.

The women’s race meant yet another gold medal for the Ukrainian team with Oksana Shyshkova and guide Vitalii Kazakov winning after shooting the perfect 20/20. Silver went to the home nation with Clara Klug and guide Martin Hartl and bronze went to another Ukrainian pair Olga Prylutska and guide Volodymyr Ivanov.

The final biathlon race, the Sprint, takes place on the 18th of February.

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Finsterau 2017: Biathlon Middle

fin17bm
The German medallists

The IPC Biathlon World Championships got underway in Finsterau, Germany on Saturday. There were six biathlon races across three categories; sitting, standing and visually impaired.

The first races of the Championship were in the the middle distance biathlon which is 6km in distance with 4 shoots.

Home favourite Martin Fleig made it a great start for the German team by winning his first world title in the men’s sitting race. He only missed 1 shot to finish ahead of Ukraine´s Taras Rad who took silver and South Korea´s Eui Hyun who won the bronze.

In the women’s sitting race Lidziya Hrafeyeva from Belarus won a tough race beating two Germans to win the gold medal. Anja Wicker won the silver and Andrea Eskau took bronze making it 3 medals for the home team in the sitting races.

Canada´s Mark Arendz won the gold medal in the men’s standing, shooting clean to claim his second career world title. France´s Benjamin Daviet was second to get the silver medal and Ukraine´s reigning Paralympic champion Grygorii Vovchynskyi finished third to take bronze.

In the women´s standing, Ukraine´s Oleksandra Kononova won the gold medal continuing her domination of this event. Teammate Lyudmila Liashenko took the silver medal and Japan´s Yurika Abe got the bronze.

In the visually impaired races the Ukraine had a great day. The men´s visually impaired went to Iurii Utkin and guide Ruslan Perekhoda. Silver went to their teammates Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn, while Dmytro Suiarko and guide Vasyl Potapenko made it a clean sweep of the podium for Ukraine taking the bronze medal.

In the women´s visually impaired race Ukraine´s Olga Prylutska and guide Volodymyr Ivanov won the gold medal and her teammate Oksana Shyshkova and guide Vitalii Kazakov took silver. Germany´s Clara Klug and guide Martin Hartl managed to break the Ukrainian dominance by getting the bronze medal and made it a great opening day of competition for the hosts.

The next biathlon races are on Tuesday.

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The Biathlon23 Awards 2014/15!!!

awards

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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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

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