Our biathletes in Sarajevo are looking forward to win gold

As part of the XIV European Youth Olympic Festival, young biathletes will compete for 5 sets of medals. Competitions will be held at the modern ski center in Dvoriste built specifically for EYOF-2019.

– The stadium and the shooting range are located at an altitude of 1350 meters above sea level, – said Honored Coach of Russia Alexander Selifonov in his interview to the ROC Information Service. – Therefore, the main problem is acclimatization. We are flying to Sarajevo on February 8, and our biathletes begin their competitions on February 12.

– It seems that 4 days is not enough?   

– Of course. It is believed that the most difficult period for athletes is the third or the fifth day. Our team prepared for EYOF on the plain. Regional sports committees could not afford to carry out the training preparations in Sochi where conditions are similar to the biathlon center in Dvoriste. But this does not mean that we do not have a chance to win. We will try to win medals on every stage. First and foremost, we look forward to the relay race.

– What awaits our young biathletes in Sarajevo?

– The sprint race will take place on February 12. The boys’ race is 7.5 km and the girls’ race is 6  km. The following day they will have individual 12.5 km and 10 km races. The program will end on February 15 with the mixed relay. All 8 athletes who applied will take part in the individual races and four biathletes (2 boys, 2 girls) will be chosen for the relay race right before the start.

– How did the selection procedure go?

– Participants for EYOF-2019 were determined by the results of qualifying tournaments. The final one took place in Yekaterinburg from 4 to 11 January. As a result, the national team included four representatives of Tyumen – Ilya Anisimov, Pavel Meshchakov, Stanislav Ilinykh and Daria Malyshkina. The remaining members are Yegor Godarev (Moscow region), Anastasia Zenova from Smolensk, Alexandra Nikulshina from Murmansk and Sofia Tsyplukhina from Moscow.

– What can you say about these young athletes?

– They are young, promising athletes (born in 2001-2002). In the qualifying races Anisimov and Zenova showed the best results. Those who are a bit younger (Anisimov, Godarev, Meshchakov, Zenova and Malyshkina – ed. note) will be able to compete at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne due to their age.

– What result would be successful in Sarajevo?

– It is difficult to answer this question now. I have already spoken about the altitude and the problems related to acclimatization. Furthermore, our biathletes are staying in a hotel and it takes one and a half hours to get to the biathlon stadium. They need to get used to the trip. We must also mention that our main rivals are the French, German and Slovak teams and they had the chance to prepare for this event in the mountains where conditions are similar to competitive ones.