Canadian Biathlon Squad Locked and Loaded for World Cup Season
—World Cup season kicks off November 30 in Sweden—
CANMORE, Alta.—Canada will field a young, yet veteran, lineup for the 2012 international biathlon campaign as Biathlon Canada unveiled its team of athletes that will start the season competing on the World Cup and IBU Cup circuits.
Two-time Olympian, Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., 2010 Olympian, Rosanna Crawford of Canmore, Alta., and rookie, Scott Gow of Calgary, earned the final three spots on Canada’s World Cup squad that will begin the season in Oestersund, Sweden, November 30, following Biathlon Canada’s selection trials held over the last two days at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
“This is the first time we had athletes at all levels from major training centres compete in a trials race in one location under the same conditions,” said Chris Lindsay, high-performance director, Biathlon Canada. “These final three athletes named to the team today are proven performers with experience at major events in Canada and internationally. We believe creating a healthy competition within our national program is the optimal way to launch the season.”
Kocher and Crawford will join Megan Imrie, of Falcon Lake, Man., on the women’s World Cup team. Gow, who celebrated a golden sweep of all four medals at the 2011 Canada Winter Games will make the jump to the elite men’s squad while teaming up with Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, of Shannon, Que., Brendan Green, of Hay River, N.W.T., and Regina’s Scott Perras. Imrie, Le Guellec, Green and Perras were all pre-selected based on last season’s results.
“This remains a young team that is making steady progress against the best in the world.” said Lindsay, who added that Matthias Ahrens and Jean Paquet return as coaches of the World Cup group. “These athletes continue to push each other each day, and have taken their turn atleading our program, which has given each of them the belief they can compete with the best. They will continue to gain valuable experience this year in advancing closer to their goal to put Canada back onto the World Cup and Olympic biathlon podium.”
In addition to solidifying the final spots on theWorld Cup Team, eight athletes locked up spots on the IBU Cup circuit this season. The men’s team will consist of Calgarians Nathan Smith, Aaron Gillmor and Tyson Smith, along with Marc-André Bédard, ofValcartier, Que.
The women’s team includes: Yolaine Oddou, of Val Belair, Que.; Melanie Schultz, of Camrose, Alta.; Claude Godbout, of Quebec; and Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C. Each of these athletes will have the opportunity to represent Canada at World Cup events throughout the season.
The IBU Cup Team will be coached by Jacqueline Akerman, who has been working with the senior development athletes over thelast two years as part of the Coaching Association of Canada’s Women in Coaching National Team Apprentice Program.
Canada’s biathletes will suit up for the season-opening World Cup event, November 30 in Östersund, Sweden, while the first IBU Cup race the Canadians will compete in will take place, December 9-11 in Ridnaun, Italy.
Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country and oversees the Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Millennium Geomatics Ltd., Apogée Sports, Kama, Auclair Gloves, Lapua, USANA, and Adidas Eyewear – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.
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