Denis Serban is a Romanian biathlete from Sinaia. He was born on the 5th of August 1991 and made his World Cup debut in 2014. His personal best result on the World Cup is 60th from the Oestersund individual in 2017 and on the IBU Cup his top finish is 21st. He has represented Romania at two World Championships in Oestersund 2019 and Antholz 2020.
Follow Denis on Instagram: Serban Denis Georgian
Why did you become a biathlete?
I think my father (Nicolae Serban) has a key role in “me becoming a biathlete” . He was a great athlete who competed in the 92′ Olympic Games and after a trainer and since I was a child I used to go with him to training and I liked it and I easily started to fall in love with biathlon.
How do you assess last season? What was good and what was bad?
Last season was quite difficult for me because my value to the team was like 3rd, 4th guy in the team and the first two stages I was competing more only in relays. When you are staying a lot of time in WC and do not compete too much it is hard to train and keep in shape. Looking at the training program I think we did a little bit too much training in October, during the first training camp on snow and the second mistake was before the World Championships when we want too much and just trained too hard.
A positive thing was the feeling from the relay in Oberhof when for the first time we competed equally with all the big names. I was 3rd leg and keeping the team in the top 10 was crazy. And we stayed in the top ten until 400m before the finish. We missed that for a little bit. And the second one it was the last IBU Cup in Raubichi when I totally relaxed my mind and in the last race (mass start 60) I shot and skied very fast, ending in 21st place. It was a personal best for me in the IBU Cup.
How do you feel about the IBU Cup now starting in January? Do you have to change your preparations/training for the season?
Starting in January does not change my training program, but this season it will be one with many questions and it will be hard to keep all together because changes can happen all the time and we need to be prepared.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My big strength is shooting of course and strong upper body if we talk about what can help me straight into the race. But, I like a lot to read, learn and improve everything about biathlon and sports in general.
My biggest weakness is that I stress too much and I have this thing that I overthink a lot about everything that stresses me. I try to keep it under control, but sometimes it is just impossible.
What are your goals for this season?
My goals for this season. Hmm I don’t even know what to tell you about, because right now I’m not sure I am part of the Romanian Team, but let’s say my main goal is to have more races than last year and try to focus on individual races and of course I want to be top 3 at all National Events.
How popular is biathlon in Romania? Is it difficult to get funding and sponsorship?
Biathlon in Romania is that sport when people ask all the time ” what are those guys doing there?”. So it is not popular at all. Only local people around Azuga, Predeal, Rasnov and Bran cities know something about it. The choices now in Romania for senior level is to be part of the Army sport club or Police sport club. They and the federation pay for everything. We don’t have any sponsors and it is super hard to get one for so many reasons (too much paperwork, no popularity, no help from government for reducing taxes for companies and a lot more).
Who is your roommate on tour and do they have any bad habits (eg. snoring) or good habits (eg. tidy)?
Usually my roommate is Cornel Puchianu. He is in my opinion the most talented biathlete that Romania have of all time. He is one of my best friends and he is a great guy in all ways. Bad habits we can say he stays too much on the toilet 🤣.
You are having a dinner party with 3 other biathletes. Who would you invite and why?
First I will invite Doro Wierer obviously because it is everyone’s dream to have dinner with her. Second one will be her teammate Lisa Vittozzi and third my mate Cornel because all the time he says Lisa is as beautiful as Doro.
Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?
My favourite track is in Rupholding. I just like the profile of the track and the shooting range because the spectators are so close to the athletes and you can feel the vibe.
Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?
As a child I liked so much Raphael Poiree. He had a personalised style in the uphill and jumped on the skis and I like to think I did it the same in my competitions as a child.
Now my favourite biathlete is Martin Fourcade, even though he stopped his career. I admire his style and head strength. I don’t know how he can stay so relaxed and focused and do all that games before, in and after the race and stay with his brain together. Sometimes he looks like he is from a different planet. His balance in everything is incredible.
Does your rifle have a name?
No. I never think to give my rifle a name, but I think I have feelings for her. At least for the wood part.
Describe yourself in three words.
Meticulous, modest, ambitious
Quick fire choices:
skiing or shooting? Skiing, even if I’m better at shooting.
prone or standing? Definitely prone
against the clock or head to head racing? Head to head racing. I like when you feel the man near you.
uphill or downhill? Depends on the sport but uphill.
morning or night? Night
sun or snow? Snow for sure
roller skiing or cycling? Cycling, because we live in Romania and only have tracks with 3 km loop.
alcohol or chocolate? Definitely chocolate. Sweets are my addiction!
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