Posted: 17.04.2024 16:19:00

Right on target

Anton Smolski became the winner of the Commonwealth Biathlon Cup

It was a long and very exciting biathlon season. Having started with the summer races in Sochi, it finished last weekend in Murmansk where the final stage of the Commonwealth Cup was held. In the mass start race that closed the programme, Anton Smolski took third place, which allowed the leader
of the Belarusian national team to win the overall standings of the competition. 

Anton Smolski, Belarusian athlete      
The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, congratulated the athlete on his brilliant success.
“The victory achieved in an uncompromising struggle with the strongest Russian biathletes is the result of your hard work! Your victory has aroused bright emotions among all biathlon fans in our country,” the congratulatory message reads. The Head of State wished the athlete good luck and new victories for the benefit of Belarus.
It is difficult to say which place Anton Smolski would have won this season in the overall World Cup standings since neither Belarusian nor Russian athletes are allowed to participate in international competitions. Bearing huge reputational and financial losses, facing decreased interest in the tournament and a drop in sports level, the International Biathlon Union ended the season by fits and starts and will be remembered by a bigger number of incidents and embarrassing mishaps than in the entire previous history of the World Cup.  
The Commonwealth Biathlon Cup, which has been held for the second time only, is gaining momentum and entering new orbits of public interest. Dozens of athletes from Russian regions as well as young Belarusian athletes, who had previously experienced a serious shortage of competitive practice along with poor motivation in that regard, got a chance to show their skills and prove themselves.
The Commonwealth Cup has already surpassed many stages of the World Cup in terms of its organisation. Those who were present at the Raubichi biathlon competition will just confirm that. The competition that Anton Smolski, the silver medalist of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, faced on the track is another confirmation of these words — Said Khalili, Anton Babikov, Eduard Latypov are all athletes with big names, and to get ahead of any of them in any race is not an easy task. A year ago, Smolski did not succeed in winning the overall Commonwealth Cup due to illness, which prevented him from participating in decisive races. This time, Anton has gained the upper hand, having won a well-deserved victory in a bright and uncompromising confrontation. Congratulations!
Summing up the season, it should be noted that Hanna Sola’s amazing performance, although not always consistent, has become her first season after giving birth to a daughter. Dzmitry Lazouski, Ilya Auseyenka, Ivan Tulatsin, Pavel Belko have made everyone talk about them, too. Certainly, our attention was focused on Dzinara Smolskaya, who won the women’s Commonwealth Biathlon Cup last year. This year, the young mum’s participation was an attempt to return, so next year we expect successful work in a duet from our biathlon star couple. After all, one victory is good but two are better!  

By Sergei Kanashits