Reiter, Blashko Win IBU Junior Cup Total Score Titles
|21.03.2016, Pokljuka / IBU Info/ MO/IS/JK|
|First Winners from Germany and Belarus|
|The IBU JOECH and Junior Cup 4 closed on Sunday afternoon at Pokljuka. Like the World Cup circuit, the winners of the IBU Junior Cup Total Score were honored; the first winners in this new circuit were Dominic Reiter of Germany and Darya Blashko of Belarus.|
The IBU Junior Cups, contested for first time this season added a new chapter to the book of biathlon. The goal of this new circuit was to provide more international competition opportunities the continually developing youth that are the future of biathlon. It was a great opportunity for the young athletes to get important and necessary experience at major venues against their peers from other nations.
Consistency and Stability
The IBU Junior Cup competition program had fewer starts, but otherwise it parallels the World Cup and IBU Cup; the young athletes battle in the same disciplines for podium spots and points. The first Junior Cups were held in Obertilliach, Martell (relocated from Arber), Lenzerheide; the YJWCH were held in Cheile Gradistei. The season ended up at the WC venue in Pokljuka, where the 4th Cup was combined with the Junior Open European Championships.
The last day in Pokljuka saw the first winners of the IBU Junior Cup Total Score crowned. Winning an overall title takes more than just a couple of podium spots, but consistent, stable results throughout the whole season.
Dominic Reiter of Germany
Namely steady results were the recipe for Germany's 20-year-old Dominic Reiter, who had three podiums and finished in the top nine in every competition. In his first international season, the young German won both the Total Score and the Sprint Score.
Reiter started cross-country skiing as a five-year-old in his home town of Ruhpolding. He trained with friends, which has always made it fun, "At the local ski club it was important to first properly learn cross-country skiing technique. Technical training was first, then shooting the air rifle at age 8." His family has a long history in biathlon; both his father Alois and uncle Ernst, a two-time Olympic relay medalist preceded him in the sport. He has worked with many coaches in his young career, but it all started with this first coach, his father. One of his birthday presents was shooting training for him and friends at the Chiemgau Arena.
Accordingly, he is an excellent shot, especially in difficult conditions. He went 30-for-30 at the YOECH in Pokljuka. Early in the season, although his ski speed was lacking, he was always finishing near the top of the results. "I am good at keeping my nerves under control and staying focused...Having nerves of steel and being able to focus totally on the shooting gives me confidence."
It might be assumed that the individual competition is his favorite, but he prefers the head-to-head competitions, especially when there is a gap to close by attacking in the first loop. In the same manner, he loves the side-by-side situations on the shooting range. No matter the competition, Reiter looks forward to every one and strives to be on the podium every time. Reiter has become a better competitor this season, more relaxed and self-confident. "I am no longer the world champion in training that I used to be a few years ago."
Yet, he feels that his true strength is simple: ambition. "If you are not ambitious, you will not go to training as often and you will not like it that much: if you do not like your training, you will not be consistent. If you are not consistent, your competition will not work out, either." With that in mind, his next goal is the IBU Cup circuit.
Reflecting on winning the IBU Junior Cup Total Score, he was obviously proud. "I am really happy about the Total Score, as I was quite aware of my good position before the JOECH started. My goal was to obtain an individual medal there, because it did not work out at the IBU YJWCH. Now I consider myself really lucky to have won the Total Score."
Darya Blashko of Belarus
Darya Blashko of Belarus won the Women's Total and Sprint Scores, besides that, she also won the first-ever Junior Cup competition; the women's sprint in Obertilliach, where she started with bib number one and with clean shooting, literarily and figuratively, also finished first, writing her name in a biathlon history.
This was not the first international season for the 20-year-old Belarusian, who started her international career in 2012-13. Last season at the IBU YJWCH at her home stadium in Raubichi, she won the youth women's sprint Gold medal and another in the relay. Only a silly mistake prevented her to take one more medal of the Championships; she was battling for the second place in the pursuit, cleaned the final standing stage, but cross-fired and finished 56th!
That individual Gold was special for her. "That was my first international medal and in some way it might be unexpected, but we trained and worked a lot for that. So it became really important and memorable for me."
With good results this season, the first year as a junior, the young athlete added to her experience competing in IBU Cups and in the Canmore World Cup. Blashko sees these opportunities as important. "I am glad I had a chance to start in all those different competitions and to see my level. If we're trying to be better, to compete at the highest level, you have to see were you are. So it was important and necessary for me."
Acrobatics and Circus
Biathlon has not been Blashko's only sport; she participated in acrobatics and circus starting at the age of six. "I really liked it, but than just only by chance switched to cross-country skiing. Later, at the time when I had to decide to do sports or to continue studying, I was invited to try biathlon. From the age of 12-13 I started to shoot; that is my favorite part of this sport, I always liked to shoot. And now it is my strongest side, I guess, just have to "pull" a bit the skiing..."
In her first years as a biathlete Blashko's results were less than great, but she understood that to improve, she had to continue to work. She trained hard for many years; this season showed that her efforts were not in vain.
The young Belarusian was glad to finish the season winning not only in Total, but also the Sprint score. "It was very important for me to win, primarily because it is the result of a whole season work, it was a battle. There were many strong athletes who could beat me. I am really happy that I could manage to win those awards. It gives me huge motivation for the coming years."