Wierer, Koukalova and Fourcade: numerous top stars registered for the Biathlon European Championships in Ridanna

IBU European Championships Biathlon Ridnaun Ridanna 2 250

Ridanna, 9 January 2018 - On Sunday evening the official registration period for the IBU Biathlon European Championships in Ridanna closed. 351 biathletes and 234 officials from 36 countries have registered for the continental title fights in South Tyrol from 22 to 28 January. Numerous international top stars have confirmed their participation. Good news for all fans of South Tyrolean biathlon: Italy has nominated its complete A-team.    


Analysing the registrations from Italy, one could be led to believe that Ridanna will be the location for a stage of the World Cup. With Dorothea Wierer, Lisa Vittozzi, Alexia Runggaldier, Karin Oberhofer and Federica Sanfilippo in the women’s team and  Lukas Hofer and Dominik Windisch in the men’s team, the Italians have registered all their top athletes for these Biathlon European Championships. “We are very pleased and honoured that Italy has registered such a strong team. This puts the European Championships on a completely different level”, stressed General Secretary Manuel Volgger two weeks before the first competition. 


Like Italy, Russia is probably also sending a top team into the race. Alexander Loginov is the high-flyer from the previous European Championships in Duszniki-Zdrój in Poland, who last year won Gold in the Individual race, in Pursuit and in the Mixed Relay, as well as Silver in the Sprint. His colleague Irina Starych, who is also likely to be at the start in Ridanna, was similarly successful with Gold in the Individual race, in Pursuit and the Mixed Relay, and Bronze in the Sprint.  



Koukalova has not yet given up on the Olympics


But this is not all. The Czech team will most likely be strengthened by Gabriela Koukalova. The 28-year old who won two Olympic Silver medals in Sochi, was also at the last European Championships in Ridanna in 2011 where she won Silver in the Sprint. Her name then was Gabriela Soukalova. Since last summer, the overall World Cup winner of the 2015/16 season has been slowed down by problems with her hamstring and calf muscles and has had to miss all competitions this winter. Although her start at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang is questionable, the Czech athlete of the year has not yet given up this dream.   


In the French team the name Fourcade catches the eyes. It is not super star Martin who will come to South Tyrol, but his brother Simon, who has already won 5 World Championship medals in the course of his career. Nadine Horchler who was nominated for the German team, has got a World Cup Individual race victory to her name. Last year the 30-year old had her finest hour when she won the Mass Start in Anterselva. Horchler is well-known in Ridanna. Not only is she always among the top in the IBU Cup, 7 years ago she also won Bronze in the Pursuit and in the Relay in the last European Championships in Ridanna. 



Many well-known faces 


Krasimir Anev also took part in the last European Championships in Ridanna in 2011. Seven years ago the man from Bulgaria won Silver in the Pursuit and Bronze in the Individual race. His team mate Vladimir Iliev, who is also registered for this year, is the defending champion in the Sprint he won last year in Poland. 


“The large number of international top stars is another reason for biathlon enthusiasts to come to Ridanna. A few of these biathletes will compete in the Winter Olympics a few weeks later. And who knows whether we won’t have an Olympic medallist at the start”, concluded Manuel Volgger.     




Biathlon European Championships - 22 to 28 January 2018


Competition programme: 

Monday, 22  January: Opening ceremony (8:00 pm)

Tuesday, 23 January: Official training

Wednesday, 24 January: Individual Men (10:00 am), Individual Women (1:30 pm)

Thursday, 25 January: Official training

Friday, 26 January: Sprint Men (11:00 am), Sprint Women (2:00 pm)

Saturday, 27 January: Pursuit Men (1:00 pm), Pursuit Women (3:00 pm)

Sunday, 28 January: Single Mixed Relay (1:00 pm), Mixed Relay (3:00 pm)




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