Tag Archives: Paralympic Games

Arendz: Making his Mark!

Arendz-

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Para-biathlon it is exactly the same as biathlon! ( It’s just that the para-biathletes are much better!!) They get a little bit of assistance to help them compete but essentially the format and competition is the same. One of the top para-biathletes is Canada’s Mark Arendz. He will be competing in the up-coming Paralympic Games in Sochi in 2 days time. (For more info on the games see my article Of Para-mount Importance.)

Mark was born on Prince Edward Island on the 3rd of March 1990. At the age of seven he was involved in a farming accident and had to have his left arm amputated just above the elbow. Having already showed a keen interest in sports it did not deter him and he started to compete in cross country skiing with the aid of a ski prosthetic.

To this day he still competes as a cross country skier but after watching in the biathlon in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics he decided to take it up too.A wise decision! Mark competes in the standing races in para-biathlon and made his Olympic debut at home in Vancouver 2010, but he really made a big step up in his biathlon career in 2011 when he finished second overall in the IPC Biathlon World Cup. He repeated that feat the next year again finishing second but finally won the overall title in 2013 taking the Chrystal Globe for the first time.

That was an amazing year for Mark as he won gold in the Sprint event at the IPC World Championships in Solleftea, Sweden and also two bronze medals in the Individual and the Biathlon Middle (12.5km). He ended the year in great form too when he took part in the IPC World Cup round in his adopted home town of Canmore. He finished second in the men’s 15-kilometre para-biathlon standing race but was later promoted to first when officials disqualified Russian winner Vladislav Lekomtchev for having his coach on the range providing instructions. In the same competition he was sixth in the Short and second in the Middle distance races.

So now it’s on to Sochi for Mark and the rest of the Paralympians. He will be competing in both cross country and biathlon. It will be tough for Mark in Sochi as the Russians have an exceptionally strong biathlon team and of course the full support of the home crowd. That being said he is still one of the favourites to win medals in all of the biathlon events so watch out for Arendz making his Mark in Sochi!

You can follow Mark on Twitter.

Mark’s website:
http://www.markarendz.com/

For more info see: http://www.paralympic.org/Events/Sochi2014

All the biathlon races take place on the 8th,11th and 14th March.
See here for more details:
http://www.sochi2014.com/en

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Of Para-mount Importance.

zaripov

Everyone is talking about the Sochi Winter Olympics. Who will take home the gold? Svendsen or Fourcade? Berger or Zaitseva? Whoever wins it’s going to be exciting stuff, but please don’t forget that there are 2 Olympic Games in Sochi next year. From the 7th to the 16th of March the Paralympic Games is also taking place.

Biathlon has been a Paralympic sport since 1988 when it was introduced in the Innsbruck Games for athletes with physical impairment. Since 1992 athletes with visual impairment have also been able to compete.

The program consists of 12 events, 6 for men and 6 for women. The athletes are divided into 3 categories which are standing,for those who are able to use the same equipment as able-bodied skiers, sitting and visually impaired. Athletes in the sitting category use a sit-ski or mono-ski to compete. It consists of a fitted chair over a single ski and makes use of a suspension device to help minimize wear and tear on the athlete’s body.

Athletes who are visually impaired use an electronic rifle which allows them to aim by hearing. The increasingly louder acoustic signals emitted as the rifle is pointed towards the centre of the target mean that the athletes aim by sound instead of sight. They are also accompanied by a sighted guide and are recognised as a team by the awarding of duel medals.

The men and women compete in the Pursuit and Individual races. They also compete over the same distances, around 3km in the Pursuit and 12.5km in the Individual, apart from the women’s sitting individual which is slightly shorter at 10km.

The growth of biathlon since 1988 has been very promising. In the first year there were only 3 medal events and no female competitors. In the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver there were 12 medal events competed for by 18 different countries made up of 61 male and 34 female biathletes. The competitors come from the usual biathlon countries like Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Norway and also Canada and The U.S. amongst others.

So who should you look out for in the games next year? Well as it’s in Russia here are a couple of medal contenders for the home country. Irek Zaripov(pictured above) was born on March 27, 1983, in Sterlitamak. He lost both legs in a motorcycle accident at aged 17. He has taken part in 2 Paralympic games in Turin and Vancouver, the latter being much more successful as he won 4 gold medals and 1 silver in biathlon and cross-country skiing sitting events. He received the Order of Merit from the Russian President and he is an ambassador for the Sochi Games. In 2011 he won another 6 medals this time in the IPC Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing World Championships in Russia and therefore is one of the favourites to medal in March.

For the ladies there is fellow Russian Mikhailina Lysova. Competing in the visually impaired section she works with her guide Alexey Ivanov. Now that her nemesis Germany’s Vernea Bentele has retired Lysova has a great chance winning in Sochi. She finished 3rd in both the Pursuit and Individual in Vancouver behind Bentele but in the 2011 World Championships she won gold in both biathlon events and also silver in the relay. Her main competition will come from fellow Russian Elena Remizova so the home country can look forward to a lot of potential medals.

So please remember after you have finished cheering for your countrymen and favourites in February don’t forget to watch the Paralympic Games in March. It’s of para-mount importance!

For information about the Paralympic Games see: http://www.paralympic.org/Events/Sochi2014

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