Tag Archives: Paulina Fialkova

Summer World Championships!

The Nut Cracker, Swan Lake…wait a minute….sorry, sorry wrong Tchiakovsky!

It’s the Russian town of Chaykovskiy that we are interested in as the biathlon Summer World Championships took place there over the weekend of the 25th to the 27th of August. There were 26 nations putting on their roller skis including biathletes from Greenland, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.

The Mixed Relays for the Juniors and Seniors took place on Friday followed by the Sprint races on Saturday and the Pursuits on Sunday.

The Russians dominated the Relays winning both the Junior and Senior titles. The Junior team did it the hard way with Kristina Reztsova doing two penalty loops and Valeriia Vasnetcova also doing one. The men fared better with Nikita Porschnev needing 3 spares and Igor Malinovskii using 5 to win the race by 57.9 seconds.

It was decided on ski speed as Russia with 3 penalty loops won the gold from the Ukraine who only used 6 spares in total! Khrystyna Dmytrenko used 2 on the first leg, Anna Kryvonos shot clean on her leg and the men, Vitaliy Trush and Taras Lesiuk needed two spares each. They finished well ahead of Belarus in third with a team of Anastasiya Anifryieva, Dzinara Alimbekova, Ihor Karpiuk and Anton Smolski incurring 2 penalty loops, one the first leg and one on the final leg.

Turkey finished in fourth, Kazakhstan were fifth, Romania sixth and Slovakia were seventh.

The Senior mixed relay was won by a strong Russian team. Uliana Kaisheva took the first leg using 3 spares. Sveltana Sleptsova was second using 2 spares. She handed over to Alexey Volkov who also used 2 spares and then Anton Shipulin led the team home to victory using 3 spares. They finished almost 30 seconds ahead of Slovakia who took the silver medal.

Their team of Paulina Fialkova (4 spares), her sister Ivona Fialkova (4 spares), Tomas Hasilla (5 spares) and Matek Kazar (3 spares) crossed the line nearly a minute in front of bronze medallists Ukraine.

As usual they shot really well with Yuliya Zhurakov shooting clean on the first leg, Mariya Panfilova using 2 spares, Anton Myhda with 1 spare and Maksom Ivko with 3. Fourth place went to Belarus, fifth to Kazakhstan, sixth to Moldova and seventh to Mongolia.

There were some familiar faces on the podiums for the Sprint races on Saturday. The Junior Women’s Sprint was won by Russia’s Kristina Reztsova. She missed just one shot in the standing shoot to finish 32.7 seconds ahead of the second placed athlete. That went to Dzinara Alimbekova from Belarus who missed one in the stand. Valeriia Vasnetcova was third but she missed 3 shots, two in the prone and one in the stand.

There was more home success in the Junior Men’s Sprint with a clean sweep of the podium from Russia. Igor Malinovskii won the race missing a single target in the prone. He was wearing bib23 which undoubted helped him win! The silver went to Vasilii Tomshin who missed 1 in the standing and finished 12.6 seconds behind the winner. Third went to Nikita Porshnev who missed 3 targets but was only 28.3 seconds back from the leader.

The Women’s Sprint also went to Russia. Svetlana Sleptsova won the gold shooting clean and then promptly announced her retirement! Maybe all she ever wanted was that gold! Second place went to Slovakia’s Paulina Fialkova with two misses in the stand and third went again to Russia with Olga Dmitrieva missing two shots and the silver medal by just under a second.

Finally in the Men’s Sprint we got a winner who wasn’t Russian! That’s right Vladimir Chepelin from Belarus took the gold with one miss in the prone. Russia got the silver with Alexey Volkov shooting clean but finishing 3.4 seconds behind Chepelin. Slovakia took another medal with Tomas Hasilla claiming bronze.

The final day of the Championships was on Sunday and we had 4 Pursuit races to look forward to. The Junior Women’s race went to Natalia Ushkina who came from 4th to grab the win ahead of Reztova and Vasnetcova. She shot the best of the three with just 1 miss while the others missed 7 and 6 shots. It was a comfortable victory in the end for Ushkina who led a Russian clean sweep of the medals.

The Junior Men’s race went to Taras Lesiuk and Ukraine. He came from 4th to take the win by nearly 18 seconds from the two Russians Igor Malinovskii and Stepan Parfenov. Again the shooting was crucial with just 3 targets missed by Lesiuk compared to 5 and 6 from the Russians.

The Women’s Pursuit was won by Sleptsova giving her 3 golds from 3 races. Not a bad way to retire! Ukraine got another medal with Nadiia Bielkina coming from 5th with just 2 misses to get silver. The bronze went to Paulina Fialkova who dropped one spot from the Sprint.

The Men’s race went to Russia too with Alexey Volkov taking the gold by 43.7 seconds from teammate Anton Shipulin who started 6th. Krasimir Anev of Bulgaria came from 5th to 3rd and another Russian Sergey Klyachin went from 18th to 4th despite four missed targets. Let’s just say across all the races the shooting wasn’t the best. Luckily there is still time to improve before the snow comes!

It was a very successful home Championships for the Russian team leading the medal table with 18 medals, 8 of which were gold. The Ukraine were second and Belarus third. Slovakia and Bulgaria were the only other teams to win medals.

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Kontiolahti 2017: The Mixed Relays!

The final races in Kontiolahti were the Single Mixed and the Mixed Relay. Martin Fourcade decided to have a day off and would not compete in either race. To be fair he deserves a bit of a rest!

The Single Mixed Relay contained some strong teams and the team with the top shooters would prove to be the best. It was Italy who took the lead after the first leg with Lisa Vittozzi on great form using just 1 spare. However Lukas Hofer went on the penalty loop 3 times on the prone leaving them no chance. He was great yesterday finishing 6th in the Pursuit and terrible today! He also did a similar thing in PyeongChang. He is possibly the most inconsistent biathlete ever!

That left the USA and Austria in contention for victory with some great shooting from Lisa Hauser, Simon Eder, Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey. Dunklee actually had a fall on the downhill but didn’t injury herself or her equipment.

Germany were also in the mix with Laura Dahlmeier and Roman Rees as were France with Anais Chevalier and Jean-Guillaume Beatrix.

In the end it was Eder’s fast and accurate shooting on the last leg that won it for Austria. He hit 10/10 in lightning speed to win by 32 second in the end. The race for second and third came down to a sprint finish with Roman Rees leaving the range in second after a clean shoot in his final stand. Lowell Bailey needed 1 spare and was just behind the German. Bailey stayed behind until the last few metres when he managed to get his ski ahead and take the second place for the USA. Germany were third and France finished 4th. The two top teams both needed just 5 spares with Germany using 6 and France 8.

The Mixed Relay was later in the evening. France got a great start with Marie Dorin Habert taking the first leg. She used 1 spare but handed over in the lead. She was 4 seconds in front of Iryna Varvynets of the Ukraine and 7 seconds ahead of Italy’s Dorothea Wierer. Japan were in 4th with Fuyuko Tachizaki and Austria 5th with Dunja Zdouc. Norway went on the penalty loop twice with Marte Olsbu.

France also controlled the second leg. Germany moved into second with another fantastic relay leg from Maren Hammerschmidt. She needed 2 spares to hand over in front of Slovakia in third after two great legs from Paulina and Ivona Fialkova. The Ukraine were in 4th with Olga Abramova and Russia in 5th with Irina Starykh. After the first prone the USA with Joanne Reid were up to 3rd but after her stand they dropped back to 9th.

The men took over in the third leg. Simon Desthieux for France needed 4 spares and finished with a lead of 25 seconds. He was chased by Benedikt Doll who needed 3 spares. Sergiy Semenov for Ukraine moved into third but Matvey Eliseev for Russia and Tomas Hasilla for Slovakia had bad standing shoots to allow Michal Slesingr to move the Czech Republic up to 4th.

Quentin Fillon Maillet took the final leg for France and he was followed by Arnd Peiffer for Germany, Dmytro Pidruchnyi for the Ukriane, Michal Krcmar for the Czechs and Evgeniy Garanichev for Russia. The top 3 teams all needed 1 spare on the prone. Russia shot clean but the Czech Republic went on the penalty loop.

It all came down to the final standing shoot. Just the way we like it to! France and Germany both missed two shots and Fillon Maillet had some trouble loading his spare rounds. He did really well to keep cool and hit the remaining targets to give France the win. Germany were second. Ukraine needed 1 spare but Russia just avoided going on the penalty loop with the last spare round. Ukraine were third showing they are a great relay team. Russia were 4th ahead of Norway who came back to finish in 5th.

Well that concludes some great racing from Kontiolahti and we only have 1 more World Cup left before the end of the season in Holmenkollen! NO say it’s not true!!! 😦

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Kontiolahti 2017: The Pursuits!

Saturday in Kontiolahti and we had the Pursuit races. The Men started first in nice sunny conditions and the women raced later.

The Men’s race was very exciting. At the first shoot the top 7 men all shot clear and made a great start to what would prove to be a great race. At the second shoot Martin Fourcade missed on the prone and so did Johannes Boe which I am sure all the others were very pleased about. It was the third shoot where all the excitement happened.

Simon Eder, Emil Svendsen, Andrejs Rastorgujevs, Ondrej Moravec and Martin Fourcade (yes he caught up as usual) came to the range together. They all missed 1 shot. Slightly behind was Arnd Peiffer and he didn’t. This put him in the lead but by the time they all arrived at the fourth shoot they were back together again.

Unbelievably they all missed 1 target again except Fourcade who missed 2 and Arnd Peiffer who hit all five to make it 20/20. Fourcade actually tripped on the range mat in lane 2 and almost tripped Svendsen in lane 1 which I think put both of them at a disadvantage.

Peiffer’s shooting wasn’t enough though as Simon Eder and Emil Svendsen caught him again on the tracks. It came down to a sprint finish which Arnd Peiffer just won on the line by 0.3 of a second from Simon Eder with Svendsen in third. It was a strange sprint as it didn’t actually look that fast! It was revealed later that Peiffer was sick, vomited on the final lap and also had a fall so it’s pretty amazing that he won!

Moravec held on to 4th with Fourcade settling for 5th after 4 penalties. It’s possible he was replaced by a double for this race as that doesn’t happen very often! Lukas Hofer had a great race in 6th hitting 19/20 from a start of 15th.

Vetle Christiansen got his personal best result in 8th coming from 13th hitting 19/20. Mr. Pursuit (Anton Shipulin) came from 29th to finish 10th, Tarjei Boe went from 32nd to 11th and Sean Doherty hit the perfect score to move from 44th to 18th.

The Women’s Pursuit wasn’t such a close race but it was still a good one. Tiril Eckhoff started in the lead but her shooting let her down today. She missed 6 targets in total and finished in 15th. Taking advantage was of course Laura Dahlmeier. She shot 19/20 to win the race and also her first ever Overall Title and the big crystal globe. She has had an outstanding season and is a very worthy winner.

Second place went to Marie Dorin Habert who missed 2 targets and moved up from 9th. In third place getting her first ever World Cup podium was Lisa Vittozzi who hit 19/20. She has been threatening the podium for a while now and deserves her place on it. Darya Domracheva missed 3 targets to drop to 4th just 2 seconds off third place.

Paulina Fialkova had a brilliant race finishing 5th from a start bib of 37 shooting 20/20 to achieve her personal best result on the World Cup. Lisa Hauser also shot the perfect score to move from 29th to 6th, Iryna Varvynets hit 20 to move from 33rd to 7th.

That is the last of the individual races in Kontiolahti. Tomorrow is the Single Mixed and Mixed Relays.

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PyeongChang 2017: The Sprints!

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We are in PyeongChang! Luckily nobody got confused and went to Pyongyang! It’s the Olympic test event and also World Cup round 7 in South Korea. Like Korean kimchi, that is stored on a roof for months, we have been waiting a long time to see the tracks and range that will be used for the Olympics in 2018.

The first race of the event was the Women’s Sprint and because of the time difference, which is 8 hours in front of CET, we had a night race.

The fans were out to watch. There weren’t huge numbers but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality and also the best headbands biathlon has ever seen! Where can I get one?! 😉

There was some wind to deal with for the women and what looked like an icy track. Some of the bigger names decided to go in the later groups possibly hoping for faster skiing conditions but Laura Dahlmeier didn’t. She went bib 18 and shot clean and skied well. When she does that it’s almost impossible to beat her these days.

Tiril Eckhoff gave it a good try though. Shooting 10/10, and the best I have seen her do in a while, she took her first podium of the season finishing 8 seconds behind Dahlmeier.

Third place went to Anais Chevalier with another clean shoot. It could have been snatched from her by teammate Marie Dorin Habert who also shot clean and was 5 seconds ahead of Chevalier after leaving the final shoot. However she disappeared completely and it was later revealed that she had to pull out of the race after feeling dizzy and a bit weak.

Sweden’s Mona Brorsson had her best result this season finishing equal 8th with Anais Bescond after shooting 10/10. Finishing in 17th place to claim her personal best result was Slovakia’s Ivona Fialkova. Annoyingly for her big sister Paulina still beat her when she finished in 14th!

Gabriela Koukalova finished in 21st position with 2 misses to hand an even bigger lead to Dahlmeier in the Total Score.

The men raced on Friday and shooting clean and winning the Sprint, probably 2 weeks after her would have liked to, was Austria’s Julian Eberhard. If only he could have done it in Hochfilzen! He won by 40 seconds from someone who did win in Hochfilzen Lowell Bailey. He is on amazing form at the moment shooting clean again proving he is no one hit wonder! 😉

Third place went to Martin Fourcade who missed 2 shots but that podium finish means that he has once again won the Overall Title. That makes it 6 seasons in a row which is an incredible achievement.

The other Austrians all did well today too with Dominik Landertinger finishing 4th and Simon Eder in 8th. It could be the medal bounce after their performance in the Men’s Relay at the World Championships as Daniel Mesotitsch also took a podium on the IBU Cup in Kontiolahti yesterday.

Serafin Wiestner finished in 7th which is his best result this season. Germany’s Roman Rees got his career best finish in 13th and Tomas Krupkic from the Czech Republic also got a personal best in 19th.

We now have both Pursuit races on Saturday and they should be good races. The women are quite close together as are the men with the exception of Eberhard who will start with a decent lead.

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Hochfilzen 2017: The Pursuits!

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Now I warned you not to the miss the Pursuit races, didn’t I! That turned out to be good advice! We were treated to two races at the World Championships in Hochfilzen today and they were both great.

First we had the Women’s Pursuit in the morning and we had drama from the first shoot. Dahlmeier and Koukalova settled down on the mats together but Gabi had some trouble with her rifle and took a long time to fire her shots. It looked like the shells were not ejecting properly and so this affected her focus and in the end she missed 2 targets and it looked like her medal chances were over.

Dahlmeier also missed a target but still managed to complete her penalty loop to stay in the lead and that’s where she remained for the whole race not missing another shot. It means from three races she has 2 gold medals and 1 silver!

Sneaking up from 27th was Darya Domracheva. After having her first child in October and returning to action in January she has had some trouble with her standing shooting. Not today however! She hit 20/20 to win the silver medal and did what is known in biathlon as a ‘Dorin Habert’!

Third place unbelievably went to Koukalova! After her terrible first shoot she also missed another at the first standing but came back to claim bronze. She was helped a bit by the others missing especially Makarainen who was in with a medal chance until she missed on the final shoot.

Russia’s Irina Starykh, back from her drugs ban, was 4th hitting 20/20, Justine Braisaz was 5th from 28th, Marie Dorin Habert took 6th, Makarainen was 7th, Anastasiya Merkushyna hit another 20/20 in 8th, Celia Aymonier was 9th and Dorothea Wierer came from 21st to finish 10th.

Other good performances came from Pualina Fialkova who went from 31st to 13th, Alexia Runggaldier from 43rd to 15th hitting 20/20 and Baiba Bendika hit another perfect score coming from 50th to finish 27th.

The men’s race started in the afternoon and saw Martin Fourcade win his first race here at the World Championships. He missed just 1 target and controlled the race to win by 22 seconds. Johannes Boe held on to his second place despite missing 3 targets, but skiing incredibly well, giving him 2 silver medals.

Third place went to Ole Einar Bjoerndalen! Starting from 8th and no doubt inspired by his wife’s fantastic performance in the women’s race he missed just 1 target to win the bronze medal. He is incredible! I have run out of words for that man! That is his 45th World Championship medal! Let’s just say that there will be a party at the Bjoerndalen’s tonight!

Anton Shipulin had a very good race coming from 21st to finish 4th, Ondrej Moravec kept his 5th place position from the Sprint, Lowell Bailey was 6th ahead of Krasimir Anev in 7th. Completing the Top 10 were Julian Eberhard in 8th, Tarjei Boe in 9th and Simon Schempp in 10th.

Sergey Semenov did really well starting 41st and finishing 15th, Quentin Fillon Maillet went from 43rd to 22nd and Martin Otcenas from 47th to 24th.

Well we now have 2 days off to recover before the next race on Wednesday which is the Women’s Individual followed by the Men’s on Thursday. Will Dahlmeier get another medal? Can anyone beat Martin Fourcade in that event? There is lots to look forward too!

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Biathlon at the Movies II: The Sequel!

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Hollywood loves a sequel, doesn’t it? Mainly to squeeze all the money it can out of the movie goers rather than making a better film than the first one and that is exactly what I intend to do! After the success of ‘Biathlon at the Movies’ I bring you ‘Biathlon at the Movies II’! It’s basically the same but with different movies. Hopefully it helps you get through the Christmas and New Year mini-break from biathlon. All ratings come in the form of crystal globes rather than stars. Popcorn at the ready? Then role titles!!! 🙂

The King and I:
Biathlon’s greatest love story set to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The story of a young Belarusian biathlete who falls in love with the King of Biathlon. That’s right it’s the Darya Domracheva story! The plot is simple. Domracheva and Bjoerndalen fall in love but neither of them will admit it until of course she gets pregnant and they get married! Featuring such classic songs as ‘Getting to snow you’, ‘Song of the King'(suspiciously similar to the Norwegian national anthem), ‘Shall we ski?’, ‘Shall I tell you what I think of your shooting percentages?’

Biathlon23: “Make sure you have plenty of tissues!” Rating: 5 globes

I am Sam:
The tale of a biathlete who thinks his name is too long. It chronicles his struggles to think of a name that is shorter than his. Being called Simon this proves to be a difficult task. After painstakingly searching the world for a shorter title he goes with Sam much to the disappointment of his parents who thought Simon was just fine. Other Simons like Fourcade, Schempp and Desthieux seem bemused by his decision but Simon Eder finally announces that he is Simon no more declaring – I AM SAM!

Biathlon23: “Simple Simon!” Rating: 5 globes

Skifall:
The third installment of biathlon Bond following ‘The Spy Who Loved Biathlon’ and ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Simon Fourcade returns in the title role. Excitingly in this film we find out that Fourcade isn’t French after all but in fact he is Scottish. His enemy the mysterious Johannes Bøfeld follows him to his Highland home and attempts to kill M (his brother Martin) so Simon gets loads of gadgets from Q (Quentin Fillon Maillet) and blows loads of things up, saves the day and then appears for Great Britain at the Winter Olympics where he wins gold!

Biathlon 23: Oh come on, Blofeld wasn’t even in Skyfall!! Rating: 5 globes

The Hunger Range:

In a dystopian biathlon future Ivona Fialkova is chosen by her district to compete in the Hunger Range. However her big sister Paulina volunteers to take her place and is joined in the games by Matej Kazar. The tributes have to compete against teams from 11 other districts in order to win a medal and a bouquet of flowers. Unexpectedly it turns out to be the Single Mixed Relay and not a fight to the death – that’s lucky! Can the tributes from Slovakia conquer the Hunger Range? Watch it and see….

Biathlon23:”Surprised the Hungarian biathletes aren’t in this!” Rating: 5 globes

Macx Payne:
An epic starring Macx Davies in his second film role to date after ‘Macx The Man’ thrilled audiences in Norway. Macx Payne tells the story of his 10th place finish in Oestersund in the Sprint race in 2015. Being a dedicated and well prepared biathlete he naturally forgot to load one of his magazines and so only had five bullets to shoot at 10 targets. Cliffhanger! I won’t spoil the whole film for you but chaos ensues and as usual out of tragedy comes triumph. A heart warming tale of one man’s fight against his own incompetence with a lot of pain involved!

Biathlon23:” The Charlie Chaplin of biathlon.” Rating: 5 globes

Hard Target:
Florent-Claude Van Damme makes his film debut pretending to be a Belgian. He is joined in this film by Michael Roesch, who is also pretending to be a Belgian. The duo are hired by Jakov Fak, who is pretending to be Slovenian, to hunt down Torstein Stenersen, who is pretending to be Swedish. Also pretending to be Swedish is his accomplice Chardine Sloof. Are you following this so far? They are hiding out with Anna Frolina and Alexander Starodubets who are pretending to be South Korean. Anastasiya Kuzmina is also involved somehow while pretending to be Slovakian but that’s about all I could work out.

Biathlon23: “Sounds like a lot of make believe to me!” Rating: 1 globe

Open range:
A classic western starring the Estonian biathlon team. A baddie (the IBU) has decided to close down the range in Otepaa and it’s up to the team to open it again. Lot’s of action right from the start with “KALAMITY” Kauri Koiv leading his band of heroes, Kalev “THE FROG” Ermits (also known as Kermits), Rene “THE SNOWDANCE KID” Zahkna, Johanna “THE LONE RANGEr” Taliherm and Kahdri “LETHAL” Lethla. There is plenty of shooting in this one but can they save the day and open the range?

Biathlon23: “Yee-haw! or however you say that in Estonian.” Rating: 5 globes

RamBø 2: The second shooting
Tarjei Bø is released from the Norwegian training camp and sent on a top secret mission to France. His teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has offered him a deal to get out. Go to France and secure the services of their shooting coach. He goes deep undercover and befriends the French team before using his many skills to tempt away their coach. In a desperate attempt to disguise himself he grows his hair longer (after getting the proper grooming advice from expert E.H Svendsen) and ties a red band around his head in preparation to fight the whole French Team. Who will win? Will he get the coach? Will he go totally nuts with a machine gun? Watch and see.

Biathlon23: “Another unbølieveable performance.” Rating: 5 globes

24: The Movie:
The movie version of the TV series 24 starring Klemen “Jack” Bauer. The film follows Bauer for 24 hours in real time in an exciting day in his life. He gets up,has breakfast, trains, eats lunch, trains again, watches some snooker on TV , eats dinner and goes to sleep. Oh did I mention that he also thwarts multiple terrorist plots, including presidential assassination attempts, weapons of mass destruction detonations, bioterrorism, cyber attacks, as well as conspiracies which deal with government and corporate corruption. All in one day- What a guy!

Biathlon23: “Not thought this through! Who would spend 24 hours in the cinema! Rating: 24 globes


Fantastic biathletes and where to find them:

Sorry Nathan Smith fans although this is set in the same wizarding world, Harry Potter isn’t actually in this. All the biathletes have escaped from the magic rifle case where they are kept over the summer before they are allowed out in the winter. The owner of the case and the person responsible for the escape, Andrejs Rastorgujevs, is tasked with finding them all before the evil FIS catches them and tries to make them into cross-country skiers by taking away their rifles! The horror! Joined by teammate Baiba Bendika can they find all the biathletes before it’s too late?

Biathlon23: “Simply magic!” Rating: 5 globes

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Season 2016/17 Preview: Women

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It’s almost time! Just a few days until the start of the brand new biathlon season and it’s time for the women’s preview!
Unlike the predictable Men’s World Cup the Women’s World Cup is really exciting! It’s very hard to choose a winner this season and it should be a great one to watch.

Last season saw Gabriela Soukalova win her first ever Overall Title but I’m sorry to say there is no chance of Soukalova winning this season. Why not? Only because she has changed her name to Koukalova!!! She has every chance of winning again but it will be far from easy.

This season they are lining up to win the big Crystal Globe. With Darya Domracheva missing the start of the season after giving birth to her first child in October the race for the title will be between five or six biathletes.

As defending champion Koukalova will be the favourite this season. However it is often said that retaining a title is more difficult than winning the first one. She will have a lot more expectation on her shoulders this time and that means added pressure. Her committments outside of training may also play a factor if she hasn’t had enough time to prepare properly for the races.

Challenging Gabi will be of course Kaisa Makarainen who happily decided to continue her biathlon career. She is the most experienced of all the contenders and has won the overall title twice before. However she was the favourite last season and she didn’t deliver struggling with her shooting. She is still the fastest skier though and that will give her a big chance.

After the experience of Kaisa we have the youth of Laura Dahlmeier. She had a great season last year on the World Cup and at the World Championships. She is a fantastic shot and copes well under pressure. The biggest barrier to Laura however is her health. She usually misses one or two World Cup rounds through illness and you can’t give away that many points if you want to win the overall.

Marie Dorin Habert was amazing last season and pushed Gabi all the way coming second in the Total Score just 46 points behind. If she repeats her success then she possibly has the best chance of winning the overall title. If she can add a little more consistency she could make it a double World Title for France alongside Fourcade.

Trying to stop all of these ladies will be Dorothea Wierer. She won the small Crystal Globe for the Individual last season and was third overall on the World Cup. She was however over 100 points behind the winner. This means she needs to improve her points scoring over the whole season. Even if she doesn’t win the races she has to finish ahead of her main rivals as often as possible. The Mass Start was probably her weakest event last season but if she can improve her head to head racing she will have an opportunity to take the title.

There are others who we expect to do well like Tiril Eckhoff. She didn’t have a great World Cup last time and finished 11th overall. She will need to work on her shooting to move forward as we know she is a great skier. Franziska Hildebrand will be hoping to better her 5th place in the Overall and if she has a similar season this year she just might do it.

Further down the field Susan Dunklee will be hoping to win her first World Cup race after coming second in Presque Isle last time. Rosanna Crawford will be doing her best to get that elusive first podium finish to improve her personal best of 4th.

Looking to see a big improvement in results will be the Russian women’s team who had a hard time last season. Teja Gregorin and Valj Semerenko will also be hoping for better results this season.

Keep an eye out for the youngsters doing well this season. Galina Vishnevskaya, Lucie Charvatova, Julia Schwaiger, Paulina Fialkova, Ingrid Tandrevold and Lisa Vittozzi will all be out to impress.

There are a lot of others biathletes who will want to have a good season like Karin Oberhofer, Julia Dzhyma, Krystyna Guzik, Olena Pidhrushna, Veronika Vitkova, Anais Bescond and Franziska Preuss and others who will be missing like Weronika Nowakowska and Vita Semerenko but it should be a really exciting season for the women and I can’t wait for it to start!

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