Junior Championship IBU 2017

Up Next: IBU Youth/Junior World Championships In Osrblie
*It is that time of the year again; the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships. This annual gathering of all the biathlon stars of tomorrow opens with individual competitions on Wednesday. For following seven days, these young athletes will be competing for the coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

Poirée, Star at Last Junior Champs Here

This year, the Championships have been relocated to Osrblie, a well-known venue in central Slovakia that regularly hosts IBU events. It last hosted the Junior Championships way back in 1994, with the big star from that year, a young man from France, Raphael Poirée. He went on to one of the biggest stars in the sport and the boyhood idol of one Martin Fourcade. The eight days of competitions here may reveal the next Fourcade or Laura Dahlmeier!

Up Next: IBU Youth/Junior World Championships In Osrblie
Sunny and Warm

Most of the teams arrived yesterday and made their first trek up the winding 10 km road to the small village this morning for training. They were greeted by bright sunshine and despite some warm temperatures in recent days; the tracks are actually quite firm and covered with a 60 cm base of natural and artificial snow. However, the sunshine and warm weather did soften the tracks in the afternoon.​

Up Next: IBU Youth/Junior World Championships In Osrblie
Wind, Sun on the Range

The shooting range looked a bit chaotic this morning, with most of the 40 teams zeroing and trying to get in some shooting. The wind comes down the valley, crossing the firing line from the left, making shooting sometimes quite tricky. At the same time, the morning sun is just to the right of the range, adding some glare. In the afternoon, the sun is directly on the targets from the rear.

Up Next: IBU Youth/Junior World Championships In Osrblie
Advice and Learning

Although many of the athletes here will be battling for the podium; for many this event is all about learning and experience. US Coach and 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Algis Shalna offered advice to his team in a meeting last night. “I told them all that that they should do their best. We have no expectations; some things will go well for them and some things will not. Regardless of what happens; the coaches understand and respect their efforts.” He continued, “Some of our athletes are very young and inexperienced. They can have three great shots in prone and the next two are in the white. Championships are tough and there are a lot of nerves, but it is a learning experience. That is the most important thing here for many of them: learning.”

After a full day of training today, some of the nerves will be gone. Opening Ceremonies tonight will be a time for making new friends and having a bit of fun. The shooting range will look less daunting tomorrow and the tracks will seem more familiar. Tuesday will be back to work and a little more learning; official training for the mid-week individual competitions.

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