Aus­tralian ti­tle on the line for the best in biathlon In the na­tional in­ter­est

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

MOUNT Hotham will again be biathlon cen­tral dur­ing Au­gust fol­low­ing on from a highly suc­cess­ful July, which saw the largest Na­tional Camp in more than a decade among a host of other events.

Biathlon Aus­tralia’s Emma Flana­gan the Aus­tralian Biathlon Cham­pi­onships on the week­end of Au­gust 13 and 14 would be the up­com­ing high­light.

Biathlon is an Olympic sport that com­bines cross­coun­try ski­ing with ri­fle shoot­ing.

This com­bi­na­tion orig­i­nated in Scan­di­navia, where ski­ing and ri­fle shoot­ing re­main an im­por­tant part of mil­i­tary train­ing.

“The Hotham Biathlon Arena is the only range in Aus­tralia and is lo­cated 3 km east of Hotham Vil­lage,” Flana­gan said.

“It is part way through the 2016-2017 De­vel­op­ment Project, which in the long term will in­crease the ca­pac­ity to 15 lanes, and al­low dis­abled ac­cess and in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.

“But for Win­ter 2016, there are only 11 lanes, which means that the Mass Start event planned for 13 Au­gust may need to be changed to an In­di­vid­ual (Dis­tance) event.”

Aus­tralian Biathlon Chief of Race, Neil Richard­son, is hop­ing that’s not the case.

“The mass start is a fan­tas­tic race, where every­one starts at the one time, we ran one at a cham­pi­onships event a cou­ple of years ago,” he said.

“How­ever, if by the close of reg­is­tra­tions we have as many par­tic­i­pants as pre­dicted, we won’t have enough lanes for every­one to shoot at the one time.

“In that case, we’ll run an In­di­vid­ual race, which has an in­ter­val start, so we can leave plenty of time gaps be­tween starters; this means there are no queues for peo­ple wait­ing to shoot.

“As prob­lems go, wor­ry­ing about hav­ing too many starters is a nice one to have”.

Also at Mount Hotham for the first two weeks of Au­gust is the De­fence Nordic Biathlon As­so­ci­a­tion, for the an­nual “Ex­er­cise Cool­shot” event.

Some 80 de­fence force per­son­nel are ex­pected to take part in this event, with par­tic­i­pants com­ing from as far away as Perth and Dar­win to take part.

SHOOT­ING FOR GOLD: Great early sea­son snow saw big turnouts for the biathlon na­tional train­ing camp at Whiskey Flat last month.

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