“Our goal is World Championships” -Justin Wadsworth

Justin Wadsworth (photo: Biathlon Canada)

Justin Wadsworth (photo: Biathlon Canada)

The first semestre of races is done on the IBU World Cup circuit (and IBU Cup).

Number of athletes stayed in Europe over Christmas and are now back training in Obertilliach, Austria, for the January block of races. Biathlon Canada’s Head Coach Justin Wadsworth and National Coach Pavel Lantsov (shooting specialist) reflect on a rocky start for their athletes who have been slowed down by sickness.

by pierre shanks

“It’s been a pretty tough start for us, says Wadsworth. A lot of illness in the team and basically, I think it’s been just abut every athlete except for one. We started out with a good training period before the 1st World Cup in Oestersund, but then we had a couple people come down with sickness and a couple fighting some sickness off, not feeling well but also not full sick… so it’s been really frustrating especially for the individual results.

“For the relays, we’ve come around. The one relay in Hochfilzen, obviously everybody was healthy for, but for example, 48 hours before that, Christian Gow was up all night throwing up from food poisoning (race report here). So it’s just been a lot of illness. Every World Cup we’ve had 2 or 3 people sick, so it’s hard to compete as a team.

Raphaël Grosset (à gauche complètement)

Emma Lunder (second to right)

“Emma (Lunder) was able to come back and have some decent performances at the end with 25th in the Pursuit (Le Grand Bornand), but even for her, it spoke to the shooting aspect of it (only 2 misses) because in biathlon it takes both.”

“I know that (regarding) the ski speed, everybody was in relatively good shape. We’ve seen glimpses of that, but we haven’t seen people to their full form yet.

“And really our goal, it’s no excuse, but our goal is World Championships, so we have to get the results there to be able to get more funding and of course it’s the World Championships so you want your best results there.”

“We were hoping for a better start than we had with some of our individuals but again, the small glimpse of the relay show that most of the athletes can ski and shoot, at least in the relay format, to that of the world’s best. You don’t get a 4th and a 5th place in the relay if you’re not skiing relatively well and shooting relatively well.”

Inconsistent shooting

Pavel Lantsov - Biathlon Canada

Pavel Lantsov – Biathlon Canada

Christian Gow and Sarah Beaudry have been the top Canadians at the range in the first semestre with both an 83% shooting average.

Lantsov hopes improvements will show with a healthier bunch.

“These days, in order to compete successfully in the fight for the podium, we must strive to shoot not only accurately, but also quickly, he wrote in an email.

“92% of hits and 22 seconds from a prone position and 18 seconds for shooting from a standing position is what we should strive for.

“In order to keep this up in competition, we first of all need confidence.

“We work a lot on these aspects and I have unlimited faith in our team.”

World Cup 4 will be held in Oberhof, Germany, January 9th-12th, while the IBU Cup athletes will be racing simultaneously in Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia.

So for 2020, we will wish HEALTH to all Canadian biathletes!

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