This article was originally published on the Australian Olympic Committee website on 14 August 2015:
Biathletes shooting for Youth Olympic selection
BIATHLON: The next crop of Australian biathlon stars will head into this weekend’s Australian Individual and Sprint Championships at Mt. Hotham with a little extra motivation.
The competition will help decide which two biathletes, one male and one female, will join the Australian Team that will compete at the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games. Athletes need to be born in 1998 or 1999.
“Our biathletes have really developed over the past 6-12 months,” Vice President of Biathlon Australia Ian Waller said.
“I’ve had the chance to watch them closely over the past six weeks and they’ve really come along in leaps and bounds.
“We’ve had an Italian coach out here training with some athletes and he believes that our athletes are definitely up to international standard.”
Three of those athletes producing impressive performances are Jethro Mahon and Will Neuhaus in the men’s competition while Darcie Morton is leading the way in the women’s event.
“The opportunity to represent Australia would be invaluable,” said Mahon. “Going to the Youth Olympics would be a great new chapter in my life and the many years of training would be rewarded.”
“There would be nothing better than being part of the Australian Youth Winter Olympic Team and being a proud ambassador for Australia,” Neuhaus added.
It won’t be easy for those in contention who compete at one of the world’s highest biathlon courses at Whiskey Flat, which sits at over 1,600 metres above sea level.
Saturday’s Individual event will feature five loops of the course with four shoots while Sunday’s Sprint competition comprises of four loops with two shoots interspersed.
The top athletes are expected to complete the Individual event in 45 minutes and the Sprint event in 25 minutes.
“We have magnificent conditions up here with plenty of snow,” Waller said.
“The tracks have been groomed and we are expecting one of the best courses to have ever have been competed on in Australia.”
Having only had six biathletes wear the green and gold at the senior Winter Olympic Games, Waller believes there is plenty to be excited about with the current crop of juniors coming through the ranks.
“Kerryn Rim was Australia’s finest biathlete who managed to record our best ever result when she finished eighth (at Lillehammer 1994),” Waller continued.
“I believe that with the current juniors coming through they can exceed that result.
“They are all extremely determined to make it on the international stage.”
To be eligible for nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection, an athlete needs to obtain a result in one Individual (distance) race and one Sprint race in the 2015 Victorian or Australian Championship events.
At the first Winter Youth Olympic Games held in Austria in 2012 Lachlan Porter represented Australia.
This article was accessed at: http://corporate.olympics.com.au/news/biathletes-shooting-for-youth-olympic-selection