Retrans from Australian Olympic Committee website: http://corporate.olympics.com.au
BIATHLON: Budding biathlon star Darcie Morton may just be the only Australian that can count the sport as one of her classes at school.
Having only been competing in the sport for 18 months, the 16-year-old from East Gippsland, Victoria has already competed at the Junior World Championships, dominated her age-group in domestic competition and is now on track to represent Australia at the 2016 Lillehammer Winter Youth Olympic Games.
With a successful Australian season out of the way, Morton has just departed to north of Italy as she looks to hone her skills ahead of a big 2016.
“I’m heading to a sports school in Livorno, Italy which I will be attending for the next five months,” Morton said.
“When I took up the sport I never thought that one day I’d be at a school where biathlon was one of my classes, so it’s pretty amazing.
“It will be a really good experience and I’ll also get the chance to take German and Italian classes there which will be great.”
Crediting a lot of her rapid progression to her father, coach and Torino 2006 Olympian Cameron, the young gun will now get the chance to train almost daily.
“It will be really good to train in a bigger team environment as there are not many teams in Australia.
“We’ll definitely be training a lot so hopefully I’ll be able to improve both my shooting and skiing.”
The close proximity to high level competition will also give Morton the chance to test herself against some of the world’s young biathlon stars.
“I’ll be racing at the different Alpen Cups events in Austria and Italy which can help me qualify for the World Junior Championships again.
“It was great to compete in the World Juniors last year as well as the Open European Championships.
“It was a really good experience competing in such big races with heaps of spectators.”
Outside of her school commitments Morton will also get the opportunity to train with esteemed coach Luca Bormolini.
“It will be great to train with Luca in Italy.
“My brother Damon will be training with him and I will join them on weekends when I can.
“He will be the Australian coach at the Lillehammer so it will be great to spend time with him prior to that.”
Morton has all but secured her spot on the Australian Team for Lillehammer 2016 with a string a strong performances at both the Victorian and National Championships earlier this year.
Confirmation of Australia’s one female and one male Lillehammer 2016 biathlon athletes will likely be finalised in the coming weeks.
Australia expects to send around 15 athletes to the second Winter Youth Olympic Games across alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey (skills challenge), luge, short track skating and snowboard.
The event will run from February 12-21 and will feature 1100 athletes from 70 nations.