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

November 18, 2019

[lively electronic music] [speaking Ukranian] (female translator) The only difference from able-bodied biathlon is that we don’t carry guns on our backs. We come to the shooting range, coaches place the guns, we fix the arm, shoot, and fly away. From the start everything is the same. The distance is the same, the penalty loop is the same. The only thing that differs is the percentage system. [speaking Ukrainian] (male translator) I’m class LW-8. I’ve got a hand impairment, amputated fingers. There are also impairments where people have no hands at all or finger impairments, so they ski without ski poles. And there are also classes for athletes who have problems with their legs. They ski with two poles but they have prostheses on their legs or their legs can’t bend because of problems with their knees. The classes are separated and depending on how they are separated each athlete gets a certain percentage of time. Well I have, for example, 97% in freestyle. Someone without ski poles can have 91 or 88%. Depending on this, the leaders time is reduced for him, so for example, over ten kilometres, I have to win well, let’s say, three minutes. [electronic music, clicks of gun cocking and firing] (female translator) We lie down, place the hand, put the rifle on the spring; we press it to ourselves. The way you press it is up to you. You shoot, leave the rifle, and go. [speaking German] (male translator) The distance for all categories is ten metres, rather than the 50 metres for the biathletes. The air rifle can be used at ten metres. [speaking Ukranian] (male translator) Well, when I get to the line, my pulse can be about 130 to 140. [thumping of heartbeat] Then it can fall to 100, but my heart starts beating hard. When shooting you need to hold your breath. That is, you shouldn’t breathe. You breathe out, breathe in, and then you make a small breath out, hold your breath, then pull the trigger to shoot. [speaking German] (male translator) A rifle check is carried out before every important race. Each nation, each athlete has to submit their rifle for inspection. I would say this rules out any possibility of cheating. [speaking Ukranian] (male translator) Each athlete has lots of pairs of skis. It’s not just one pair. They might have ten. And before the competition you need to choose the best one. So we choose a point on a slope and let the skis run down. The pair that goes furthest is taken to the start. The human body adapts to anything, and skiing with one stick does not make me feel uncomfortable. (female translator) It’s cool with one pole. I’m already used to it; I like it. And when it’s the final straight, when you have one or two seconds left, then you’re firing on all cylinders. Because you may still lose. You may lose by a metre or a half, and it would be a shame if you get a wooden medal instead of the normal one. (male translator) When you are approaching the finish and your entire body hurts, and you can no longer race, you must fight this. You need to overcome yourself and find those reserve powers which are almost gone and race to the finish. That is very difficult and many people fail.

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