Only one day is left before all the biathlon fans get a chance to witness the international debut of a new biathlon competition — Super Sprint. Till this moment Super Sprint was presented on national championships, but now it is time for the big world premiere of the fastest and the most unpredictable race. Super Sprint itself is not a new thing for biathlon. Its first presentation in Russia was made during the national championships in Novosibirsk in 2007. But it took some time before it was included in the official IBU calendar.
Today athletes who came to Khanty-Mansiysk to take part in the IBU Cup Final are completing their final trainings before the wild card of the season is played. Tomorrow morning, March 14, they are going to cross the start line of the Super Sprint Qualification. Someone is waiting for the race with excitement, but the Swiss biathletes are just laughing: “We’re not the right people to talk about this competition. We’ve never tried it before and our rifles are not made for this kind of competition. We can use only six extra bullets when this race requires twelve. So we are out”.
Nadine Horchler is currently placed third in women’s total score. She stands right after French biathlete Chloe Chevalier and her own sister — Karolin Horchler. “I think it will be very interesting. Because it has very short loop so I think it is very important to shoot clean and not to spend too much time aiming. And for us it is a little bit long time between the Qualification and the Finals. Nobody knows how it will end”.
Super Sprint contains two parts taking place in one day – qualification and final. The course length is always 800m. In the qualification athletes start with 15 seconds intervals. The total competition length is 2,4 km (three 800m loops with two shootings, prone and standing). On every shooting athletes have 3 spare rounds. The final will take place on the same day as the qualification. The top 30 athletes from the qualification will start the race simultaneously. Men and women complete 5 loops of 800 meters with 4 shooting stages. The winner is the first athlete to cross the finish line.
It’s notable that Super Sprint is going to be the only competition in the biathlon program which has two races in one day. Races like this are common in the cross-country but biathlon competitions never had this before. Still here top-30 athletes will have to take a break and cool down before the Finals.
Grete Gaim from team Estonia is looking forward to Super Sprint but trying not to be too excited by it: “I can’t really expect anything but I think it will be very exiting. The pause definitely will be disturbing but the hardest part will be going through the shooting range without using extra bullets. Because there is a very hard uphill before the range so it will be quite exciting and tough”.
Her teammate Susan Kuelm is giving much thought to the start of the competition: “We’re going close to each other but there is very short loop, so this can be hard and exciting”.
Ukrainian athletes don’t focus on the hard parts and wait only good things: “We want to feel colossal emotions. We think that it will be very exciting”.
We’re inviting you to share those emotions with the athletes. Tomorrow, March 14, at 11 a.m. Womens Qualification starts, at 1 p.m. — Mens Qualification. Womens Finals are going to start at 5:45 p.m. and Mens Finals are going to start at 7.15 p.m. You can find the full schedule of the IBU Cup Final in Khanty-Mansiysk here.