Tag Archives: para-biathlon

Callum Deboys: The Interview!

Callum Deboys is a para nordic athlete from Great Britain. The 23 year-old comes from Kirkmichael, South Ayrshire in Scotland. In 2017 he was involved in a motorcycle accident which resulted in the amputation of his left leg. Last season was his first on the Para nordic World Cup where he competes in the sitting category in both biathlon and cross-country skiing.

You can follow Callum on Instagram.
Check out his website: https://deboys.co.uk/

Why did you become a Para nordic athlete?

After my accident the best recovery for me was to set myself challenges and also just being in the right place at the right time. I was training to become a rower at Strathclyde park with my coach John Blair and he then put me in contact with Scott Meenagh. Scott gave me the opportunity to come and train with the AFPST (Armed forces para snow sports team), at the snow tunnel in Germany. I just fell in love with the sport.

Did you do any sports before your impairment?

I used to play rugby through school and done some cycling as a hobby, although in the years before my accident I hadn’t done much due to working as a chef.

Did you know anything about nordic sports before you started?

I didn’t know anything about Nordic sports.

How difficult have you found learning to cross-country ski?

It has been a very challenging journey so far, both mentally and physically. When I started my fitness wasn’t great and I wasn’t very strong, I found it very hard physically to begin with. When I became fitter and stronger everything came with it, my technique improved as I could better control the seat. The most challenging part so far has been cornering, especially finding an edge of the ski, there is such a fine line of too much or not enough. Having the mental connection to the physical movement is very difficult to begin with. Safe to say I’ve had a few bruised elbows.

Tell us about Frank.

Frank or Frankenstein is my rig. I named him this as he’s been cut, bent and fixed more times than I can remember. Frank is now bomb proof, but all the support comes at a price as he is pretty heavy. Hopefully Frank will be going into retirement this season as I have had a new frame built by S&C Engineering in Kilmarnock.

You have only done a few biathlon races so far. How did you find them?

Very interesting and challenging, the few races that I’ve done I absolutely loved. I thought cross country was hard until I tried biathlon. Having only done a few days training I’m looking forward to getting loads of shooting done throughout the year.

What are your plans for summer training?

I like to mix my training up to keep it interesting and exciting, either roller skiing, cycling or swimming. I do most of my cardio vascular training on cycle paths near Ayr or the canals in Glasgow and strength and conditioning is in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. We have several training camps throughout the year starting from July. I love getting away to the snow tunnels through the summer to change up training and continue learning good technique on snow.

Do you have somewhere to train for shooting over the summer?

I can train at a local farm around a mile from my house, as well as at Scott Meenagh’s house. We are also planning on shooting at a few training camps this season as well.

What are your goals for this season?

My main goal for this season is to improve on my times and positions from last year but remembering I had surgery at the start of the year. Second goal is to improve my technique and control on the rig which will in turn help me improve my times. Lastly to just get in amongst biathlon and do my best.

How are you funded?

Self Funded and help from sponsors. I have received an Athlete Perfomance Award, a sportaid Scotland award and a Caf grant, with some additional help from GB Snowsports.

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

So far my favourite has been in Prince George, Canada. The World Championships meant so much to me because it was such a big year, only starting skiing in June to qualify for the championships was incredible. Although it was extremely cold, there was some nice technical areas and the track was just fun.

Does your rifle have a name?

Not yet….

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest, hard working, big appetite.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Canada
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Canada
Favourite shooting range: Oestersund, Sweden
Lucky bib number: don’t really have one, 15
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Collin Cameron
Best thing about being a biathlete: It’s both mentally and physically demanding

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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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An Ode to Biathlon!

This year’s Christmas holiday special to keep you going over the biathlon break is in the form of a poem. That’s right there is no beginning to my talents! 😉 Eat your heart out Homer – it’s epic! 😉

Biathlon, biathlon,
Why do I love you so?
Because you are the best sport,
Shooting and skiing in the snow!

From Fourcade to Dahlmeier,
Makarainen and Boe,
You always entertain us,
With one hell of a show!

Sprint, Pursuit, Individual,
Relay and Mass Start,
We love watching all of them,
The excitement is off the chart!

We have the best fans around,
And that will never change,
Cheering on the athletes,
When they are on the shooting range!

But watch out dear biathletes,
There is always someone ready to swoop,
Especially when you miss a target,
And go round the penalty loop.

The World Cup takes us everywhere,
To many places we go,
To help support our favourite stars,
Just like Anto Guigo!*

There are many families in biathlon,
And we are not sure how,
But there is Boe, Fourcade, Gasparin,
Claude, Fialkova and Gow.

Some biathletes have ups and downs,
Like Slovenia’s Klemen Bauer,
But when he finishes in the Top 6,
He’s guaranteed a flower!

We also have team Sweden,
With gold medallists Seb and Hanna,
They are still brilliant biathletes,
Even dressed like a banana!

Italy have some amazing shooters,
Like Vittozzi and Wierer,
Making all the other biathletes,
Wish the targets were nearer!

Then there are our officials,
Who carry out all the checks,
We appreciate all the coaches too,
And especially the wax techs!

Don’t forget para biathlon,
With sitting, standing and VI,
Their impairments don’t hold them back,
Their limit is the sky!

Imagine doing biathlon blind,
And shooting with your hearing,
Using a guide to get you around,
And help you with the steering!

I am obsessed with biathlon,
That’s obvious to see,
But the most important thing of all,
Is to support bib23!

*for rhyming purposes only! 😉

Please feel free to send me your biathlon poems!

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Derek Zaplotinsky: The Interview!

Derek Zaplotinsky is a Canadian para biathlete and cross country skier. He races in the sitting category and recently competed at his first Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. He lives in the awesomely named Smoky Lake, Alberta (which is the second best name for a lake!). He was paralysed in a motocross accident in 2006 when another bike landed on him. He initially tried hand cycling but made the smart decision to change to biathlon.

You can follow Derek on Twitter: @Derek_zap
Or Instagram: Derek_zap

Why did you become a biathlete?

Growing up in a small rural town in Alberta, shooting was something we enjoyed as kids. First with the pellet guns and then big game hunting. In all honesty I started cross country skiing because I wanted to do biathlon. I thought biathlon would be a fairly easy sport to compete in, with my experience with guns, but was I mistaken. I learned quickly it’s a lot harder than it looks. Biathlon is a sport that motivates me, I want the accuracy and speed while dealing with the heart rate and breathing.

PyeongChang was your first Paralympic Games. How did you find the experience overall?

The experience was overwhelming, but enjoyable. You train and prepare for years, but nothing can describe the feeling being there. You are competing against the best athletes in the world and the intensity level is high. I was proud to be representing my country and hopefully I’ll have the chance to experience this again in 2022.

Were you happy with your performances in Korea?

In all honesty, I was bummed with my performance. I went into the Games feeling good with my skiing and shooting. In the Biathlon sprint and 15 km cross country I was pleased with the 9th place results and was looking forward to putting it all together for the rest of the races. When it came to the middle distance biathlon I felt my skiing was good but my shooting was not consistent. Prior to the sprint cross country race I came down with a sinus infection, which definitely ended up hurting my performance for the rest of the Games.

Are you looking forward to the World Championships in Prince George? What are your goals for that event?

Yes, I did the Canadian Winter Games there 4 years ago and had some great results so I’m hoping it’s my good luck track. Without the extensive travel and no time difference to adjust to I would like to have a podium finish.

Do you still do summer training on a chair nailed to a skateboard or have you upgraded your equipment? 😉

Ha, Ha , Ha, not anymore. Upgraded and now use roller skis, works much better for shooting and simulates the position.

What are your plans for summer training?

A busy summer – there was a camp in Bend in June, I just got back from 3 weeks at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. It was good to be back on the snow, it helped break up the summer training. We have a camp in Mammoth Lakes in September, and I will make the 5 hour trip to Canmore for biathlon training as often as I can. If not at a camp, I ski around home following a daily program designed by my coach, along with a weekly strength program.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths – I would have to say would be my determination, and my competitiveness.
Weaknesses – I over think things and like to consistently play around with my sit ski, looking for the perfect fit.

What are your hobbies away from cross country and biathlon?

Really there is not a great amount of time for extra activities, if time and the weather works in my favor I enjoy boating with friends and snowmobiling in the mountains after the end of the season.

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

Finsterau, Germany. I had my best results of my career there so I can not wait to go back.

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

Dorothea Wierer, with Emily Young a close second. She’s like the sister I never wanted.

Does your rifle have a name?

No name, we still aren’t close friends, but I’m working on that.

Describe yourself in three words.

Focused, determined and sarcastic.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Italy
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Marketa Davidova. Who doesn’t love unicorns?
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Sweden
Favourite shooting range: Canmore
Lucky bib number: Haven’t found it yet.
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Brittany Hudak
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Mark Arendz
Best thing about being a biathlete: Travel

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Steve Arnold: The Interview!

Steve Arnold is a British para biathlete and cross country skier. He was serving with the Royal Engineers in Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both of his legs above the knee. He initially started in sport as a hand cyclist but saw the error of his ways when he was introduced to Nordic skiing in 2017. He has also competed at the Invictus Games and was Vice Captain for the British team at the last edition in Toronto in 2017.

Follow Steve on Twitter: @stevearnold79
Check out his website: stevearnoldsport.com
He is on Instagram too: Instagram.com/stevearnold79

Why did you become a biathlete?

After finishing with GB Para Cycling in Dec 2016, I wanted a new challenge and Nordic/biathlon was a sport I’d never done before. I knew it was hard physically and technically but I wanted to see that for myself and see if I could push myself to the standard required to race for GB.

How hard was the transition from cycling to biathlon and cross country? Are there any similarities or are they very different?

Obviously the climate change was a little bit of a shock to the system going from a summer sport to a winter one but the most difficult bit has been learning the technique of moving the ski around on the snow. It’s also different muscle groups from the cycling so going from a lot of chest and arm work to back/lats and triceps has been an interesting challenge in the gym. (I’m not a lover of gym work!)

How do you assess your progress so far in para nordic? Are you happy with how it’s going? Have you identified areas which you need to work on?

After just one season I can’t really complain about my progress, I know there’s still plenty to learn on the technical side and I do need a bit more explosive power for the sprint races but with just being in the sport for a little over 16 months its been a good start with exciting times ahead.

You missed out on the Paralympics in South Korea. Does that motivate you more to make it to Beijing or will you just go season by season?

Not going to South Korea did hurt but its definitely made me start this four year cycle well. I’ve looked at how I can improve as an all round athlete and be at the top of my game in four years time. I also think you need to look at it season by season though, set yourself realistic goals, don’t be afraid to try new things in the first couple of seasons and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just looking at four years away for me would be mentally draining and I think it would take the enjoyment out of it.

What are your goals for this season?

Consistently be in the Top 15 in all Cross country/Biathlon races.
Know which distances I’m going to prioritise for 2019/20 by the end of this season.
Handle the ski better.
Improve in the sprint races.(explosive power)

What are you doing for summer training?

I’m currently working with GB Para Canoe to make me stronger and have better core stability, but along side that I’m back on the bike and Mountain board (roller skis) getting the miles in. Also plenty of time in the gym, soon the team will be out in Oberhof in the snow tunnel so looking forward to being back on snow.

You were in the Army. Does the shooting you learned there help you with biathlon or not?

Not really. Although the Marksmanship principles are the same it’s very different shooting an air rifle to a 5.56mm rifle. For one there is no kick back on the air rifle, you are only shooting 10 metres and the target is tiny. Put that all together with it being a race I’d say put me back on the front line anytime.

British Olympic and Paralympic snow sports are merging. Do you think that is a good thing for the para nordic team?

I think this is a great thing to happen to our sport and team to be training with the best British winter athletes in this country with great facilities and knowledge can only be a good thing.

You were Vice Captain of the British team last year at the Invictus Games. You must have been really proud of that. What was that experience like? Will you compete this year?

Being VC last year was incredible and I’m still very proud and honoured to be able to have been a small part of helping people change there lives for the better. It was amazing to see first hand how powerful sport can be in helping people. I wont be competing this year but I am the athlete representative on the UK Delegation Board so it’s been great to still be part of the Invictus Games in a small way.

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

I would have to say so far it would be Canmore in Canada. It’s just set in a great place and the town is incredible.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest,funny,fearless

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): CANADA
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): GB
Favourite shooting range: OBERHOF
Lucky bib number: 24
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: TRYVGE LARSEN (NOR)
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: COLLIN CAMERON (CAN)
Best thing about being a biathlete: You’ll never know how hard it is until you try it.

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Collin Cameron: The Interview!

Canadian Collin Cameron is a para-biathlete and cross country skier in the sitting category. At the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games he won three bronze medals, two in biathlon and one in cross country at his first attempt. The 30-year-old also won his first World Cup para-nordic race in PyeongChang in 2017 in the cross country Sprint. He was born with arthrogryposis, a condition that causes a shortening of the lower limbs and an under-development of muscles and tendons in the legs. Currently living in Sudbury, Ontario he works as a a safety compliance and driver trainer. He received a nomination for best facial hair in the Biathlon23 Awards – probably his best achievement to date! 😉

Why did you become a biathlete?

I was getting classified in early 2016 at the team USA nationals camp in Vermont and my coach at the time (Kaspar Wirz), basically said you should try this, so I did. I saw it as an opportunity for more race starts! I had never shot in my life, nor did I have much interest in doing it if I’m totally honest.

Two L’s in Collin! What’s that about? Do you get annoyed when people only spell it with one L? Or have you developed some coping mechanisms to deal with it?!! 😉


My mother always liked the name, but didn’t want it pronounced as colon so she figured having a second L would assure that never happened and also make it a little more unique. I commonly get just one L, so I’m just used to it now.

You got two bronze medals in biathlon at the Paralympic in PyeongChang. Where did that come from?! Tell me about the races and your emotions at the end?

Not really sure where it came from. I don’t train for biathlon at home, only just getting access to a range a month before Games, my only training until that point was at training camps or during World Cups. My skiing was not the best early season, but my shooting was still there in Canmore (World Cup 1), same can be said for Oberried (WC2). Things just came together at the right time for me in Korea and I found some of my speed and pace I was missing all season until then. The 7.5km race was the first race of the Games and I set it out as a warm-up race for me to get all the bugs out and get things moving in preparation for the cross country sprint which is the race I was planning everything around. So it was an obvious shock for me to be in third after crossing the line! I didn’t really believe it.

The 15km race was interesting because it was a bit of a last minute decision to race it. I had only done the Individual once ever before (in Oberried), but we were confident in my shooting so we figured I should just enter. I knew I was in it after the last round of shooting when all the range staff were at the bottom of the first climb yelling at me to go. I managed to find a bit extra turnover after hearing that. I was met by our team psych Dr. J after the finish line and he said I was sitting third with guys still to come. I thought for sure that was going to be temporary, knowing there are some amazing biathletes still out there that hadn’t finished. Once it was confirmed though, I was so thrilled, probably more so than after the 7.5km race. It was an amazing feeling sharing the podium that day with Dan Cnossen (who had a phenomenal games), and Martin Fleig (World Champion from Finsterau). I think also it was a sweeter feeling because I was able to regroup after my 4th place in the cross country sprint, which I was somewhat disappointed with because I had targeted that as my main race. The staff on the team said I came to Korea as a sprinter and left a biathlete, which is hard to argue with!

Sorry to repeat it but you finished 4th in the cross country sprint in such a close finish. Were you a bit gutted about that or happy that you were still challenging for a medal?

Totally gutted. We had planned all the other races around that day (and possibly relay day), so it definitely felt like a disappointment to be so close, in what is normally my strongest event. All that being said, it was still probably one of my best races! I also think it was a super important learning opportunity for me. The biggest gain from that was the discussion with my coaches on how to deal with that disappointment and how to transfer that into the next few days of racing. That was huge for me, and I was able to turn that missed chance into a second bronze in the 15km biathlon.

You won a bronze in the cross country relay with Brian McKeever in the secretly Scottish team! What was that race like for you?

Being on that open relay team was by far one of my favourite moments of the Games. It was a huge honour to be on the same team with a guy like Brian, who is a legend in the para world. I think it was also a testament to how hard I worked all year to stay healthy and find my form for the Games that the coach and Brian had the confidence in me to have us as a two man team. I was really looking forward to this opportunity since mid summer when we did some time trials in New Zealand when our coach was looking at possible relay teams. I had never done a relay before and the idea of being on a relay team, and possibly the same relay team with Brian, was definitely motivating and maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity. We had a really good idea going in that it would be a three person team for the open relay, but it wasn’t until the day before that things were shuffled around and I found out I was going to be doing two legs, not just one with Brian. I got a crash course from Brian and Graham Nishikawa his guide the morning of race day on how the exchange zone worked and that was pretty much it! We had a bit of fortune in the fact that the Ukrainian team had a time penalty for an early exchange, and I lost us a tonne of time on my second leg because I has some pole issues on the last climb. It was definitely an emotional experience for me, finishing 4th again, to having that upgraded moments later to 3rd. To finish that day on the podium with Brian, his guide Russell Kennedy (and Graham, who guided Brian on the first lap and every bit deserved sharing that moment with us) will always be a fond moment when I look back at my first Paralympics.

PyeongChang was your first Paralympic Games. What did you make of the whole experience and what did you learn from it?

I learned that you can’t always measure success on how many medals you get. I had some of my best races at the Games and finished 4th and 5th. The 4th on sprint day was a very important day for me as a whole when I look at going forward with this sport and what I want to achieve in it.

What are your goals for this season in biathlon? Will you focus everything on performing well in Prince George at your home World Championships?

Main focus this year is to continue to learn and keep my focus for the next Winter Games in 2022.

You don’t live in Canmore like some of the rest of the team. And you have a job. Where and when do you train?

I train after work almost every day, sometimes on some local roads closer to home, others a little further out of town on the old highway for longer workouts. I start my workday at 4am so I can finish around 2pm to have training time in the afternoon before my wife is done work so we can still have a somewhat normal life together in the evenings, which is super important.

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

I have to give a shout out to Scott Meenagh here. He said in an interview a year or two ago that I was his favourite biathlete. Right back at ya, Scotty!
(Not any old interview Collin, he said it in a biathlon23 interview!!!)

Does your rifle have a name?

The rifle I use is technically the teams rifle, so I never thought of naming it. I’d have to give this some serious thought when the days comes that I have my own rifle!

Describe yourself in three words.
easy-going, driven, and hairy.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Totally neutral, can’t pick a favourite.
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Mark Arendz. His samurai design is pretty cool and unique on the para side, as there are not many custom rifle designs.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Our suit design for the Games is my favourite!
Favourite shooting range: Canmore. It’s tough to beat that view!
Lucky bib number: 3
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Emily Young. Purely based on her love and passion for the sport of biathlon. (? 😉 )
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Martin Fleig and Trygve S. Larson.
Best thing about being a biathlete: 3 extra race start opportunities 😉

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Mark Arendz: The Interview 2!

Mark Arendz is a Canadian para biathlete and cross country skier who competes in the standing races. He is a double World Champion in biathlon after winning gold in the Sprint (7.5km) and Middle distance (12.5km) races in Finsterau in February 2017. He also won silver in the Individual (15km) biathlon race as well as bronze in both the 10km and Open Relay cross country races. The 27-year-old from Prince Edward Island also has a silver and bronze medal in biathlon from the Sochi Paralympics. This is his second interview for biathlon23 which of course eclipses all these achievements! 😉

Follow Mark on Twitter: @markarendz
Have a look at his website: http://www.markarendz.com/

You are a double biathlon World Champion! How does that feel? Can you describe your winning races in Finsterau?

Reassuring, confidence building. All of my performances in Finsterau confirmed that my training and preparations were right on. My focus is on the process, controlling factors I have control over. If I can cross a finish line knowing I executed a perfect race plan, then I can be satisfied with the result regardless of what it is. The first race of the Championships, the Middle Distance, was about staying clean and consistent skiing times. That race set a great tone for me throughout the rest of the Championships. The Sprint was a tight finish and led to some tense moments afterward awaiting the results. I skied a strong race, but success for me was hitting the five targets in the second bout. After going clean; it was simple, get to the finish as fast as possible.

You did 6 races at the World Championships and medalled in 5 of them. How tough is it to do that both mentally and physically?

True, I did a lot of races in Finsterau. I had to take each day by its self. I woke up each morning with my plan for the day. I kept my focus on that plan and what I could control. In the end, I was fortunate enough to celebrate a few evenings. After four races, I was feeling quite beat up on that final rest day. The body recovered well enough so that I could wake up the next morning and win the Biathlon Sprint. I finished the week with a surprising third place in the Cross Country Middle Distance.

Are you going to do all the events in PyeongChang? It’s a pretty tough schedule, have you considered targeting specific races?

In PyeongChang, at the Games, my priority is on the three Biathlon races. If the body is holding up and everything is going well, my next priority will be on being prepared to be part of a Relay team. Any other races will be a day to day decision based on health and energy levels.

You had some good results on the World Cup in PyeongChang. Do you like the tracks and range there?

I have been at the venue in PyeongChang twice now. I do enjoy the courses there. There are a lot of working sections, and some big, steep climbs. The wind is a little unpredictable which should make for some interesting shooting. I look forward to battling out it with my fellow competitors.

You get to start the season in your back garden in Canmore! What is it like racing at home? Do you feel some extra pressure to perform well?

It is always exciting to race at home, in front of family and friends. To have the edge in knowing every single snowflake on the course. Or how the weather will affect the conditions. The key to success will be to distinguish between an everyday training session and a World Cup race morning! For performance, there is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed!

What have you been doing for summer training?

A busy summer with several training camps in Bend and Mammoth Lakes in the United States. The Snow Farm in New Zealand where I was on-snow for three weeks. Throughout the rest of the summer, I have been doing a lot of roller skiing, biking both on the road and off. Of course running, exploring the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Some time spent in the gym as well. It is all about the fine details that will make the difference come March.

It will be your third Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. How do you think para-biathlon has changed over the years? Is there anything you would like to change about it for the future?

The depth in the fields has been one of the biggest changes in the past few years. There are several competitors in each category that are capable of winning. I would love to see the Pursuit format perfected and replace the Middle Distance race at major competitions.

You are the Nordic skiing athlete representative. What does that involve and are you enjoying it?

At the test event in PyeongChang, I was elected by the other athletes to become the Athlete Representative. It is a new role I am taking on and so far I have enjoyed. Being part of the decisions, shaping the future of the sport. The sport of Nordic Skiing is off and running but now is the time to make decisions on how we approach the future. I have been on conference calls once every two weeks. Once we get to the Winter, there will be a few meetings at several of the World Cups to openly discuss issues and hopefully, brainstorm ideas to make our sport better.

Obviously training takes up a lot of your time but what do you do in your free time? Any exciting hobbies we should know about?!

Besides following Biathlon23, no, there are no exciting hobbies as of yet. I’m open to any suggestions!

This is the greatest answer ever given to a Biathlon23 interview question!!! 🙂

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