Tag Archives: Winter Universiade biathlon

Garanichev: Russia’s Pocket Rocket!

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Competition is fierce if you are a Russian biathlete. The sport in Russia is hugely popular and there are many excellent Russian biathletes. One of them is Evgeniy Garanichev. At 1 metre 69 centimetres he is one of the smaller biathletes on the World Cup but it hasn’t stopped him being very successful.

Garanichev was born on the 13th of February 1988 in Novoilinskiy, Russia. He currently lives in Tyumen and this was the place where he achieved great success last season. In the Open European Championships he won gold in the Mixed Relay, gold in the Sprint and silver in the Pursuit just losing out to his teammate Anton Babikov.

The medals in Tyumen are not the only ones he has won however. Back at his home Olympics in Sochi 2014 he won the bronze medal in the Individual but unfortunately wasn’t chosen for the Men’s Relay team and so missed out on a gold medal. It was a good event for him and although there is now a cloud hanging over many of the Russian athletes in terms of doping no accusations have yet been made against the biathletes from Sochi. He also won 3 medals in the Universiade back in 2011, silver in the Mixed Relay and two bronze for the Sprint and Pursuit.

At the World Championships in Oslo last season his best result was 6th place in the Sprint event. There could have been the possibility of a medal for Garanichev but maybe his appearance and results in Tyumen was one competition too many and tired him out a little. He still achieved some really good results there finishing in the Top 25 of every event.

Overall on the World Cup he finished as the 7th best biathlete. He was also in 7th place on the Total Score the previous year which is his best place finish to date. In his career he has only ever won one World Cup race which was back in Holmenkollen in season 2011/12 when he took the Sprint race. However he has had many podium places.

Now aged 28 Garanichev has a few big seasons ahead of him. We have the World Championships in Hochfilzen and then the Olympic Games in South Korea. As a new father he will have to juggle training and family life but the next two seasons will probably be his last chance to win more medals and to propel himself into the Top 5 biathletes.

Firstly however he has to become Russia’s top biathlete and so needs to become more consistent to overhaul Anton Shipulin. Only then can he set his sights on beating the likes of Fourcade, Boe and Schempp to those all important medals. He may not be the biggest biathlete from Russia but this pocket rocket has the chance to be a really successful one!

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China is on SONG!

song

There are over a billion people in China. One of them is a biathlete. Chaoqing Song is China’s best female biathlete making her one in a billion! OK so I exaggerate there is in fact more than one Chinese biathlete but it sounded good, didn’t it! It’s fair to say that biathlon is not a popular sport in China but it has still managed to produce some really good biathletes.

Chaoqing Song was born on the 21st of March 1991 and has been competing in biathlon since 2005. She has had an inconsistent sort of career on the World Cup so far. Her best ever result came in season 2009/10 where she finished an excellent 5th in the Oestersund Sprint race. In fact that season was fantastic for Song as she managed to finish eight times in the TOP 25 and meant that she finished 34th in the Total Score that season. A quite incredible result for an 18 year old as she was at the time.

That was not her only success that year however. In February 2009 she won gold at the Winter Universiade at home in China. She crossed the line first in the Women’s Mass Start to win China’s first ever Winter Universiade biathlon gold medal beating some very good Russian biathletes along the way.

Since then however Song has lost her way a little. She has competed in 2 Olympic Games for China with her best result coming back in Vancouver, a 32nd place finish in the Sprint. Last season however she showed glimpses of her old self. She came in 10th in the Antholz Pursuit race which was her highest place finish since that 5th place in Oestersund 2009. She made up an amazing 20 places starting from 30th and shooting clean to take 10th beating the likes of Bescond, Wierer, Brunet and Flatland to name but a few.

She has fluctuated between the World Cup and the IBU Cup for a few seasons now but hopefully that result from Antholz can boost her confidence and help her to improve her performances for next season. She has proven that she is a good biathlete and has achieved some positive results. She just needs to add some consistency because she can shoot really well when she is in the mood.

China also have some other strong female biathletes coming through the ranks, like Zhang Yan, Tang Jialin (who just won 2 bronze medals in the Summer Championships in Tyumen) and Song Na who all went to Sochi, which can help to push Chaoqing to up her game. I would love to see her in the TOP 10 again next season and back in the TOP 40 more often as it would be a great boost for her and for biathlon in China. Let’s hope that Chaoqing is back on SONG soon!

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