Young local athletes shoot, ski and win (3 photos)Tuesday, January 29, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
Special to SooToday.com by Joanie McGuffin
This past weekend Sault Area biathletes from the Soo Snow Rangers competed in the Walden Invitational Competition near Sudbury bringing home six medals in the Individual and Sprint races.
Hanna-Liisa Linquist, Emma Karklins and Sila McGuffin medalled in both the Individual and Sprint Races.
All three are on local Soo Finnish Junior Race Team.
This winter’s race schedule takes them across the province and into Quebec.
Biathlon is one of the most popular winter sports across Europe.
It combines cross-country skiing and target shooting requiring stamina, speed, endurance and a steady hand.
Not an easy combination.
As a sport, dates back 250 years but its hunting and war faring roots are far more ancient.
Women only began competing at the Olympic level in 1992 with our first Canadian Nordic gold medals at Lillehammer, Norway actually taken by a female biathlete from Quebec, Mariam Bedard.
The Individual and Sprint races that Emma, Hanna-Liisa and Sila compete in require them to ski a series of loops with a number of stops at the shooting range.
The Competitors begin at the start line 30 seconds apart.
They ski one course loop with the length depending on the competition, come into the shooting range, calm their breathing and then shoot 5 rounds from their air rifles at a target 10 metres away.
It takes much practice to steady the breathing from the hard skiing that takes place between each round of shooting.
They have both shooting and skiing practices throughout the season to build skills and stamina in both marksmanship and skiing.
This weekend at Searchmont Ski Resort on Sat and Sun Feb 2-3, The Soo Snow Rangers will be hosting the #2 Ontario Cup Biathlon Race.
Come out and enjoy this great sport either as competitors or as spectators.
It is fun for all.
Pictured: Soo Snow Rangers: Coach Travis Parr, Biathletes Emma Karklins (red) Sila McGuffin(pink hat) Hanna-Liisa Linquist (blk&wht), Assistant Coach Jaimie Lake.
Photo by Gary McGuffin