How to: Para-biathlon – sitting category
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How to: Para-biathlon – sitting category

November 17, 2019


The thing that makes biathlon different from any other sports is the high level of
physical exertion coupled with intense concentration when it’s time to focus
fully on the target to find the right balance really take something special. There are some significant differences between able-bodied biathlon
and biathlon for seated athletes. We are allowed to keep hold of our sticks at
our shooting station because some competitors would otherwise not be able
to get back up from a lying position. Let me give you an example to make the
difference clear. When a non-impaired athlete is shooting they’re aiming at a
target that is the equivalent to the hole in the middle of a loo roll. For the impaired athlete from 10 meters the
target is equivalent to our little finger or a one-cent coin. The sitting or standing classes don’t carry their rifles with
them around the course instead their trainers hand them their rifles ready
loaded once they are in position on their mats so then they can fire their
five shots. Many athletes lie down on their side which means twisting the upper body. That’s the way I
do it too. This makes it very difficult for me to find a good relaxed position
for shooting. This is the sledge we
compete on. Their skis are attached here. You fix it like that. I fasten my belts to manoeuver better during turns and decents. Our control around tight
bends is depended on our degree of impairment. The greater our degree of
paralysis the less we can manage to control our skis. For me it has mainly a
matter of stick work and pushing of course I also tried to shift my body way
to the inside of the bend but I really can’t hack skiing on just one ski. We decide upon the design of the sledge with designers and try the whole thing
on like a dress. For my kind of amputation
this design is the most convenient. Our fellow athletes who are amputees can travel extremely quickly with their
minimalistic equipment. Then there are also those with more extensive paralysis
whose equipment is generally even more compact. The eventual design will to a
certain extent depend on how involved athletes are in its development. With impaired biathletes the weather can play an important part because many of
the athletes are sitting exposed to the elements. Sleet and even a cold wind can
be relatively dangerous because many of the competitors are amputees or
paralyzed and so they don’t notice when they’re getting dangerously chilled. On the finishing straight when we feel
every muscle starting to burn the body come take it anymore. At this point I
know it’s just a matter of ice tide chart grit teeth and really go for it.

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