Frosty test of willpower

Biathlon season begins with races at Ostersund and Hochfilzen

By Yuri Karpenko

The World Cup debut stage in Sweden was accompanied by strong frost and organisers were concerned over possible cancellation (in line with the existing regulations, this happens when minus 20 degrees are registered outside). However, this did not happen and there were no doubts that the Belarusian team would do well, having been performing successfully. Its leader, Darya Domracheva, did not leave Ostersund without a medal, for the second year in a row. She replaced her third place in the 2009/10 season individual race with a similar position in the sprint. Afterwards, she admitted that the frost was so strong that her fingers had frozen.

In the pursuit, Domracheva fought fiercely, and found herself in eighth position when her luck ran out at the last firing position. However, she managed to take part in the prestigious and honourable flower ceremony. Darya clearly showed that has serious plans for the World Championship, being held in Russian Khanty-Mansiysk next March.

Other athletes also showed their mettle, with Nadezhda Skardino and Lyudmila Kalinchik performing well in the sprint. Nadezhda Pisareva, competing for the first time in the event, demonstrated stability. Meanwhile, Yevgeny Abramenko was good at shooting, though lagged behind in speed. No doubt, Sergey Novikov, Rustam Valiullin and Alexander Syman will do well in future; their experience will help the team.

At the World Cup second round in Austrian Hochfilzen, Darya Domracheva has proven her serious intentions for this season’s medals. She came second in the  sprint, losing only to Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia, and also won a bronze medal in the pursuit race.

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