L-R Bob Cranage OAM, Kaisa Mäkäräinen (2013/14 Womens World Cup Total Cup Score Winner), Friedl Bartsch, Lauri Jortikka
Australian Master Biathletes have been very successful at World/International Masters Biathlon Championships over the past 12 -14 years. Medals awarded are from the IBU and are identical except for age classes engraved on the reverse side as the medals awarded at all IBU World Cup and World Championships.
A total of 14 Individual Medals ( Gold Silver and Bronze) has been awarded to Australian Master Biathletes, and six Relay medals, as Australians were members of successful inter-Nation Combined Relay Teams.
Gold Medallists include:
2001 – Lindsay Bridgford 2 x Gold (Men 35 – 39)
2011 – Irene Dunn (Women 40- 44)
2012 – Lynn-Maree Cullen 2 x Gold (Women 35 – 39)
2014 – Sue Donoghoe (Women 50 – 54) and Bob Cranage OAM (Men 70 – 74)
The 2014/15 Masters season sees events in both Canada and Finland, we look forward to more Aussie star performances! For Masters 3-15 March 2015 at Kontiolahti info, check out this website: http://www.biathlon-kontiolahti.fi/masters/
In the meantime, here is the 2014 report from Kontiolahti, FIN, by Friedl Bartsch, who was amongst several Aussies who were happy to hang out with 2013/14 Womens World Cup Total Cup Score Winner, Kaisa Mäkäräinen.
Australian Masters Biathlon Team ranks 3rd behind Finland and Russia at the 2014 International Masters in Kontiolahti, Finland.
With a record 154 international biathletes entered for the competitions from 10 nations, the small team of five from Australia performed well ahead of most of the Northern Hemisphere nations, with a total of two Gold and one Silver medal. For those unfamiliar with the sport of Biathlon, it incorporates the extreme physical activity of cross country skiing with the intense mental activity of target rifle shooting. The biathletes must ski a FIS rated track with their rifle on their back and then shoot targets at a distance of 50m at the shooting range in the snow.
The 17th International Biathlon Masters Competitions were held in March 2014, two weeks after the major IBU competitions at the World Cup Biathlon centre in Finland some 6 hours north east of Helsinki.
Gold medallists L-R Sue Donoghoe and Bob Cranage
With outstanding performances from Sue Donoghoe from Belconnen (ACT) winning Gold in the Individual and a Silver in the Sprint events and Bob Cranage OAM from Wodonga (VIC) winning a Gold in the Individual, Australia out ranked more favoured nations such as Ukraine, Germany, Latvia and the USA who were also in the medal tally.
The other Australian team members, Lauri Jortikka from Sunbury (VIC), Peter Macartney, Belconnen (ACT) and Friedl Bartsch from Wollongong (NSW) all had personal best performances and surprised many Northern Hemisphere competitors who had already been participating in local and national biathlon competitions leading up the these final international championship races.
Given that the Australian team had only a short period of time to adapt to the significant effects of jet lag, time zone and temperature differences and not having the benefit of preceding competitions due to the Southern Hemisphere summer temperatures, the Australian Team results are remarkable to say the least.
Lauri Jortikka (middle), Bob Cranage (R)
Anyone interested in the sport of Biathlon can participate in events at Perisher Valley in NSW and Mt Hotham in Victoria.
Those interested in Masters Biathlon can contact Friedl Bartsch by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.