Tag Archives: Valj Semerenko

Ruhpolding 2017: The Sprints!

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Just like a Bavarian grandmother preparing Dampfnudel for pudding, the outcome of the Men’s Sprint was entirely predictable. Martin Fourcade dominated the entire race and shot 10/10 to lead the field by 18 seconds in his 200th race. In fact he now has 101 podiums in those 200 races which is incredible!

Considering he beat Julian Eberhard by those 18 seconds shows that it’s getting a bit ridiculous how good he is. Eberhard is one of the fastest skiers around and even shooting 10/10 himself in tricky wind conditions he couldn’t get near Fourcade. It’s quite depressing for the other biathletes I imagine and to be honest it’s not that entertaining to watch. None of which is Fourcade’s fault of course, that is just the way it’s going at the moment.

Third place went to a resurgent Emil Hegle Svendsen but even he was nearly 40 seconds off Fourcade’s time. The home team’s best results came from Arnd Peiffer in 4th and Simon Schempp in 5th. Schempp missed a target in the standing shoot which probably cost him a podium position. Another German Matthias Bischl continued his excellent form from Oberhof by getting another personal best result here of 16th.

It seems it’s not just Svendsen who is in good form for the Norwegians with Ole Einar Bjoerndalen in 8th and Lars Helge Birkeland in 10th. Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko got his best result of the season by far in 6th and Ukraine’s Dmytro Pidruchnyi also did well finishing 7th.

Klemen Bauer grabbed another Top 20 finish in 14th and his teammate Jakov Fak made his long awaited start to the season finishing in 56th and scraping into the Pursuit on Sunday. Johannes Boe returned from illness to finish 37th and the USA’s Sean Doherty got back in the points in 40th after also coming back from ill health.

The Women’s Sprint was also a little predictable if you watched the first leg of the relay on Thursday. The light snow meant that conditions were a little heavy for skiing but it didn’t stop Kaisa Makarainen who won her first race of the season shooting 10/10 and winning by 22 seconds. It was very similar to her relay leg when she put Finland in the lead and we all know if Kaisa shoots clean she is very difficult to beat. Second place went to Gabriela Koukalova who also shot clean but wasn’t fast enough today to challenge for the win. The same goes for Laura Dahlmeier who shot clean in third but was 30 seconds behind Makarainen.

Marie Dorin Habert was 4th meaning the Top 4 in the Total Score were the Top 4 in the race. She missed a target but still beat Dorothea Wierer, who didn’t, into 5th. Hanna Oeberg continues to impress improving her personal best to 7th in this race and Darya Domracheva finished 13th, her best result since her return. The Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova was 28th which is her personal best so far. Another biathlete racing for the first time this season was Valj Semerenko who was 30th with 2 misses.

Both Pursuit races are tomorrow but there are some big time gaps separating the top biathletes in both the men’s and women’s races. Hopefully they can be made up and we will see some exciting races on the final day in Ruhpolding.

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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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World Champs 2016: The Mixed Relay!

We are in Oslo for the first race of the 2016 World Championships! It was the Mixed Relay and it was a fantastic opening race in Holmenkollen!

The first leg was great. The USA led the race after Susan Dunklee’s excellent performance on the range and the tracks. She handed over in first place to Hannah Dreissigacker. Marte Olsbu of Norway, under a lot of pressure from the home fans, had an amazing opening leg leaving the final shoot in first place but handing over to Tiril Eckhoff in second just a small distance behind the USA. The team in third at the first exchange were the Ukraine with Valj Semerenko just ahead of Franziska Preuss in fourth and Anais Bescond in fifth.

The second leg was very close with Eckhoff, Marie Dorin Habert, Franziska Hildebrand, Dreissigacker and Olena Pidhrushna all in the hunt for the lead. Eckhoff was the poorest shot of them all missing 2 in the prone and 2 in the stand. Dorin Habert shot clean in the prone and brought herself up to the front alongside Hildebrand. Unfortunately just after she passed Hildebrand she fell on the downhill going under the bridge which allowed Hildebrand to retake the lead. Coming in to the exchange however Ukraine, France, Germany and Norway were all together.

The men took over in the third leg with Johannes Boe, Arnd Peiffer, Sergey Semenov and Quentin Fillon Maillet racing head to head. This was when I noticed the Norwegian technique of touching the skier at the exchange on the bottom to start the next leg. Interesting! This leg couldn’t seperate the four leading teams even though Fillon Maillet missed 3 in the stand he caught up again on the skis. It was surprising that none of the teams tried to break away from him as letting Martin Fourcade start his leg at the same time as the others would not prove to be a good idea.

The fourth leg as usual was crucial. Tarjei Boe, Simon Schempp and Dmtyro Pidruchnyi stayed with Fourace up to the first shoot where Boe missed 3 targets and looked like leaving Norway without a medal. The race then became between Fourcade and Schempp who both missed one target in the stand and so it came down to a ski race and you knew there would only be one winner. Schempp held on as long as he could but in the end Fourcade was too strong and just about had time to do his signature telemark landing over the bridge. Back in third Pidruchnyi missed 2 in the stand and Boe shot clean and fast to take Norway back into third position.

Special mentions to Belarus who used only 1 spare round, Austria for using 3 spare rounds and the USA who used 5.

It was a great race to start the World Championships. The French Team were excellent and deserved to win although I did feel sorry for the Ukraine who did so well up until the final shoot. I thought the others team would have done more to try and break the French Team before they got to Fourcade but they proved too strong. The Sprints are next on Saturday! I can’t wait!

As for the other teams:
Austria 5th Czech Republic 6th Russia 7th
Italy 8th Belarus 9th USA 10th
Canada 11th Sweden 12th Slovenia 13th
Switzerland 14th Kazakhstan 15th Bulgaria 16th
Slovakia 17th Finland 18th Japan 19th
Poland 20th Estonia 21st Romania 22nd
Lithuania 23rd Korea 24th Latvia 25th

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World Championships 2016: Preview!

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It’s World Championships time! It’s Oslo! It’s Holmenkollen! It’s the end of the King’s reign! That’s right it’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen’s final World Championships before he retires from biathlon. Although he did say that about the Olympics in Sochi so we can’t really trust him! Let’s believe him for now anyway. Will he go out on a high or will his grand exit be ruined by the princes of biathlon who are fighting to take his crown?

Well he has been planning for this event all season and he also did that in Sochi and we all know what happened there. So the chances are good that he will win a medal of some sort but he faces some very tough competition from people who really don’t care if they ruin the party and some of them are even his teammates!!!

We will return to Ole later but let’s go through the races as they are scheduled. First up is the Mixed Relay on Thursday the 3rd of March at 15.30 CET. The races so far this season have been won by Norway in Oestersund and Germany in Canmore. There are a lot of strong teams however so this race could be won by anyone. France have a good chance as do Italy, the Czech Republic and Russia. It will be interesting to see who races and whether or not the teams will use their strongest four biathletes in the first race. The defending champions are the Czech Republic.

After a day off come the Sprint races on Saturday the 5th of March. The Men start at 11.30 CET and the Women go at 14.30 CET. This season’s Men’s Sprint winners so far have been Martin Fourcade, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Simon Schempp. The Women’s races were won by Gabriela Soukalova, Franziska Hildebrand, Marie Dorin Habert, Olga Pudchufarova and Olena Pidhrushna. Obviously the Women’s race is a lot more open but in the Men’s it is very likely one of the three above will win it. The defending champions are Johannes Thingnes Boe and Marie Dorin Habert.

Both Pursuit races are on Sunday the 6th at 13.30 CET for the Men and 15.45 CET for the Women. The Men’s Pursuit races from the World Cup were won by Martin Fourcade, Simon Schempp, Anton Shipulin and Simon Eder. The women’s winners were Kaisa Makarainen, Laura Dahlmeier, Ekaterina Yurlova and Gabriela Soukalova. The defending champions are Erik Lesser and Marie Dorin Habert.

The Individual races are on Wednesday the 9th at 15.30 CET for the Women and the Men’s race is on Thursday the 10th also at 15.30 CET. The World Cup winners are Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Martin Fourcade and Dorothea Wierer. The defending champions are Ekaterina Yurlova and Martin Fourcade.

The Women’s Relay is on Friday the 11th at 15.30 CET and the Men’s is on Saturday the 12th at 15.30 CET. Winners so far for the Women were Italy, Ukraine, France and the Czech Republic.All the Men’s relays were won by either Russia or Norway. The defending champions are Germany for both the men and women.

The final races are the Mass Starts which both take place on Sunday the 13th at 13.00 CET for the Women and 16.00 CET for the Men. Winners on the World Cup so far have been Jean Guillaume Beatrix, Martin Fourcade, Erik Lesser, Dominik Windisch, Kaisa Makarainen, Laura Dahlmeier, Gabriela Soukalova and Dorothea Wierer. The defending champions are Jakov Fak and Valj Semerenko.

So that’s all the information you need but who will win the medals? Well if I knew that I would be rich but I can have a guess at least! In the Men’s race the favourite for all of them has to be Martin Fourcade but he only won one individual medal at the last World Championships. The Norwegians have a good chance of stopping him as do Schempp and Shipulin. On the Women’s side I think the medals will be shared between Soukalova, Wierer, Dorin Habert, Makarainen and Dahlmeier.

There are always a few surprises though and big event specialist Erik Lesser can’t be overlooked and neither can sharp shooter Simon Eder. Watch out too for Valj Semerenko and Olga Pochufarova to do well. To be honest with you it’s biathlon so anything could happen and anyone could win that’s why it’s such a great sport!

And the big question – will Bjoerndalen win a medal?! Of course he will! He always pulls it off doesn’t he? Although it will probably be as part of the Men’s Relay team that he does it, you can never discount him for an individual medal. I for one hope he does it.He definitely deserves to go out on a high. It will be really strange when he is not on the start lists anymore – he will be greatly missed.

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WC4: Ruhpolding Review 2016: Part 1!

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So we found ourselves in Ruhpolding for round 4 of the World Cup. As you know there is not much snow around so the organisers in Oberhof were forced to cancel the races there. All of which means we have 8 races in 10 days just like a biathlon version of the Tour de Ski!

Coincidentally just like the Tour de Ski we had an all Norwegian podium in the first race in the men’s sprint. Johannes Boe managed to beat his brother Tarjei into second and teammate Emil Hegle Svensen into third. All three shot clear but Johannes just had enough ski speed to defeat the other two. Some might suggest that it was karma as earlier in the week Johannes chose his big brother as his favourite biathlete while Tarjei went for Dorothea Wierer! Sven Grossegger finished 5th, his personal best result, leading an Austrian charge with Eder, Landertinger and Julian Eberhard all making the Top 20.

In the Women’s race Franziska Hildebrand became the first woman this season to win 2 Sprint events by winning her home race. It was a bit surprising as the Top 3 all shot clear but Hildebrand skied a little faster than Gabi Soukalova in second and Kaisa Makarainen in third. However Soukalova was unlucky dropping a ski pole which cost her the chance of victory as she only finished 0.3 of a second behind Hildebrand.

The Men’s Pursuit raced promised to be a great one with Boe,Boe, Svendsen and Fourcade all starting one after the other battling for the victory. So of course Simon Eder won! In a dazzling display of shooting he claimed the third victory of his career. Shooting hampered the others although Fourcade still finished second with 2 misses and Michal Slesingr shot clean to complete the podium.

New Dad Evgeniy Garanichev came from 40th to finish 9th! Simon Fourcade or should we call him Mr. Pursuit this season came from 29th to 13th, teammate Antonin Guigonnat went from 51st to 31st and Alexander Os came from 45th to finish 32nd.

The Women’s race also promised excitement and didn’t disappoint even with Makarainen and Hildebrand bowing out quickly with misses. That left a race long head to head between Soukalova and Dahlmeier. In the end Dahlmeier won by 7 seconds and Dorothea Wierer took her chance to get on the podium in third. Paulina Fialkova made up 9 places to finish a personal best 6th.

Tiril Eckhoff came from 17th to 4th, Lisa Hauser went from 27th to 12th, Karin Oberhofer from 35th to 16th, Valj Semerenko from 41st to 17th, Lucie Charvatova from 42nd to 20th, Olga Abramova from 44th to 25th and Yan Zhang from 51st to 32nd.

The final races of this round were the Mass Starts. In the men’s race Martin Fourcade took victory over Ondrej Moravec in a battle of the new fathers! Despite Moravec being the only biathlete to shoot clean Fourcade was just too quick on the skis. In third was Tarjei Boe with an impressive last lap to deny Simon Fourcade, Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Arnd Pfeiffer who all had a chance at claiming the final podium position. Svendsen was in a good position coming into the final shoot alongside Fourcade but had a nightmare missing 3 shots – very un-Svendsen-like!

The women’s race was dominated by Laura Dahmeier. She shot clean to see off the challenge of Marie Dorin Habert who missed 1 and finished 15 seconds down. The fight for third went right to the line- literally! In a photo finish Tiril Eckhoff beat Anais Bescond by a toe nail to get onto the podium. Japan’s Fuyuko Tachizaki (formerly Suzuki) shot clean in 10th to get her best ever result in an individual race.

So that’s it for Ruhpolding we now set off for…..Ruhpolding!! Round 5 involves a crazy schedule with the Men’s Individual on Wednesday and the Women’s on Thursday followed by the Men’s Relay on Friday, the 2 Mass Starts on Saturday and the Women’s Relay on Sunday!

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Biathlon at the Movies!

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We all need something to fill in the time between Christmas and New Year when there is no biathlon. Last year I brought you an exclusive interview with biathlon rifle Reginald P.Rifle and this year I was hoping to talk to ski poles Marek and Justyna but they were too busy! So instead I bring you some reviews of “biathlon” related films so you can fill in the time before the next event in Ruhpolding! It’s biathlon so all ratings are in Crystal Globes not stars. Get your popcorn ready people!!!

Top Gun:

Martin Fourcade stars as Maverick who gets his chance in the top rifle school in California ‘Top Gun’. His main rival is Iceman played by Emil Hegle Svendsen. Unfortunately in target practice Martin accidentally kills a goose and loses his confidence. However after a slow motion game of volleyball he seems to recover and in the final scene manages to team up with Emil to shoot at baddies. They become best of friends and in fact go on a date together in a helicopter!

Biathlon 23: “Top entertainment!” Rating: 5 Globes

Hot Shots:

A documentary about biathletes and their shooting skills. Highlights include biathletes shooting in the prone position and the standing position. They shoot at targets 50 metres away on what is known as “a range”. Sometimes they hit these targets and sometimes they miss. Watch out for some reloading action and cartridges falling onto the mats. There is also a great behind the scenes feature about cleaning a rifle, choosing a fancy design for the stock and placement of stickers.

Biathlon23: “Unmissable” Rating: 5 targets – sorry I mean Globes!

Hot Shots Part Deux:

You might think that this is the sequel to Hot Shots but it is in fact a remake. It turns out that the French biathlon team thought they were not featured enough in the original and decided to make their own version. A more avant-garde piece in black and white. In French with French subtitles. An Antonin Guigonnat production. Director: Quentin “Tarantino” Maillet.

Biathlon 23: “Magnifique!” Rating:Cinq Globes

The Man with the Golden Gun:

Simon Fourcade makes his second appearance as James Bond in this spy thriller. The villain is played by Johannes Thingnes Bø who with his golden rifle is terrorising the world of biathlon. His obsession with all things gold means he is out to steal all the gold medals from the biathletes. There is a car chase, a martini, a few ladies and some gadgets! What else do you want?!!! (Set in Season 2014/15 before “someone” changed their rifle from gold to shocking pink!!!)

Biathlon23: “Great action” Daniel Craig: “Better than Spectre!”
Rating: After 5 martinis 5 Globes

Mad Maxes: Fury Range

In a post nuclear holocaust future Maxim Braun, Maxim Tsvetkov, Maksim Ramanouski, Maksim Varabei, Maxim Savitsky, Maksym Ivko, Max Durtschi and Macx Davies have to find all the bullets left on Earth (well in the desert somewhere!). When they have found them all they must return to the shooting range and hit all the targets to save the world!

Biathlon23: “Max-imum fun!” Rating: 5 Globes

RamBø:

Norwegian veteran and drifter Tarjei Bø wanders into a small Washington town in search of an old friend Tora Berger, but is met with intolerance and brutality by the local sheriff. When he and his deputies restrain and shave RamBø, he flashes back to season 2011/12 when he suffered from Twar virus and unleashes his fury on the officers. He narrowly escapes the manhunt, but it will take his former commander Lars Berger to save the hunters from the hunted.

Biathlon23: “UnBølievable!” Rating: 5 Globes

Harry Potter and the Wax Cabin of Secrets:

Nathan Smith makes his debut in the first film about the boy who grows up to be a wizard at biathlon. Here he teams up with his uncle Sirius Fak to try and defeat the master of the dark arts Beatrix Lestrange. Beatrix has stolen the secret wax formula from Potter and threatens to use it to win all the biathlon races beginning with the Mass Start in Pokljuka. Will Potts be able to stop him?

Biathlon23: “It’s magic!” Rating: 5 Globes

There’s Something About Marie:

A biography of French star Marie Dorin Habert. From her childhood to the present dealing with biathlon, marriage, having a child, playing the piano, horse riding and cherries. Everything you need to know about Marie. And the one thing you really need to know…please never offer her any “hair gel”!!!

Biathlon23: “A-dor-able!” Rating: 5 Globes

No Cross Country for Old Men:

While out cross country skiing, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finds the grisly aftermath of a drug deal. Though he knows better, he cannot resist the cash left behind and takes it with him possibly to buy an even bigger motor home with. The hunter becomes the hunted when a merciless killer picks up his trail. Also looking for Bjoerndalen is Sheriff Daniel Mesotitsch, an aging lawman who reflects on a changing world and a dark secret of his own, as he tries to find and protect Bjoerndalen.

Biathlon23: “Great but a bit “old” fashioned!” Rating: 5 Globes

The Shooter:

Tobias Arwidson reluctantly leaves a self-imposed exile from his isolated mountain home in Sweden at the request of the IBU, who appeal to him to help track down an assassin who is planning to shoot the IBU president. He is set up by the IBU (saw that coming!) and is chased around a bit before he takes his revenge and returns to Lima to fish and take some photographs.

Biathlon23:”Definitely a hit!” Rating: 5 Globes

Sister Act:

When 3 young sisters witness a mafia hit(by someone who looks suspiciously like Dominik Windisch!) they are sent to a convent where they are to be disguised as nuns. Starting Selina, Elisa and Aita Gasparin, the sisters fit in by teaching the nuns how to do biathlon. They take part in a competition at the end with all the nuns and so they can defend themselves from the mafia!

Biathlon23: “N-unmissable!” Rating: 5 Globes

The Usual Suspects:

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world she wasn’t going to win the Crystal Globe.” The film starts with the retelling of the 2014/15 Women’s biathlon season. It stars Darya Domracheva, Valj Semerenko, Veronika Vitkova and Franziska Hildebrand. They each explain how they got caught up in the race for the Overall Title by a mysterious Kaisa Söze. No one knows who this Kaisa is but some say she had won the Crystal Globe in the past. None of them has met her before but everyone thinks she is going to win the Total Score! I don’t want to spoil the end but it turns out that it was Darya Domracheva the whole time!!!

Biathlon23: “I didn’t understand it either!” Rating: 5 confusing Globes!

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Aiming for the Top: Season Preview Women 2015/16

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After the news that last season’s champion Darya Domracheva has decided to take the season off to recover from mononucleosis we have been denied the chance to see her go head to head again with Kaisa Makarainen. Bad news for us but good news for Kaisa as she is the now the clear favourite to regain the Overall Title. It will be difficult for the other female biathletes to challenge her due to her superior ski speed but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be trying their best to beat her.

The main competition to Kaisa will come from the Ukraine, Germany, The Czech Republic, Italy, France and hopefully Norway. Last season’s third place biathlete in the Total Score was Valj Semerenko. It was her best season to date and it seems she did better without her twin sister Vita who might miss another season due to injury.

The biggest challenge to Kaisa could come from Germany and not just from 1 biathlete but possibly from 3. Franziska Hildebrand was 5th in the Total Score last season, Laura Dahlmeier was 8th and Franziska Preuss was 9th. They are all young, hungry biathletes and if they can produce their form from last season and put some more consistent points scoring races together they will be a real threat. Dahlmeier looks the most dangerous as she has shown she is capable of winning races but her inexperience may count against her.

Veronika Vitkova and Gabriela Soukalova were 4th and 6th respectively last season and both have the talent to improve their positions. If Soukalova has a better start to the season we could see her on the podium much more often and hopefully she has concentrated more on her summer training this year than her commercial deals. Vitkova will be looking for more wins and more podiums and could end up on the Overall podium at the end of the year although I’m not sure it will be on the top step.

Dorothea Wierer, 7th last season, and Karin Oberhofer,10th, constitute the danger from Italy. Both had fantastic seasons and with a few more good results they could both move up the rankings. They can challenge Makarainen in individual races but I am not sure if they can sustain it over an entire season.

Someone with possibly the best chance of stealing the crystal globe from the clutches of Makarainen is France’s Marie Dorin Habert. She finished 15th in the Total Score but didn’t compete in all the races after having her first child. However when she did turn up she was on the best form of her life. Strangely she won her first race just last season so it may be a bit premature to call her a title contender but she has what it takes to outscore Kaisa if she maintains last season’s form and can consistently be on and around the podium.

Another first time mum is making her way back into biathlon and Selina Gasparin will be hoping to copy the success of Habert. You may also note that the Russian biathletes are completely absent from the Top 10 with Ekaterina Glazyrina their best biathlete in 13th. I can’t really see any of the Russian women in the hunt for the crystal globe this season either.

Tiril Eckhoff is Norway’s big hope in the Total Score. She was 11th last year and she will be under pressure to perform this season. She has the talent to win races and be very competitive but seems to lack the consistency required to compete for the Overall Title. She may also be focussing her season on her home World Championships.

It will also be a big year for the North American ladies. They get to race at home this season with World Cups in Canmore and Presque Isle. The likes of Rosanna Crawford, Megan Tandy, Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker will be desperate to do well in front of their home crowd.

Away from the Overall winner there is some young talent to keep an eye on. Ukraine’s Iryna Varvynets looks like a good prospect along with the French pair Enora Latuilliere and Justine Braisaz. Germany’s Luise Kummer and Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser were impressive last season and Elisa Gasparin will be looking to build on her good form as will Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi.

It’s hard to see past Makarainen for the Overall Title but it is biathlon and anything can happen. It should be an exciting season in the women’s races with lots of new young talent coming through who will be trying to get a podium or break into the Top 10 or Top 20. We can look forward to a lot of fantastic women Aiming for the Top!

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