IBU Junior Cup Total Score Winners; Dominic Reiter and Darya Blashko
The last day of the IBU JOECH in Pokljuka saw the first winners of the IBU Junior Cup Total Score; Dominic Reiter of Germany and Darya Blashko of Belarus. 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 properly cross-country skiing technique. Technical training was first, then shooting the air rifle at age of eight.” 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 JOECH 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. A young German 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.
Darya Blashko of Belarus
For the 20-year-old Blashko, this was not the first international season; she started her international career in 2012-13. Last season at the IBU YJWCH at her home stadium in Raubichi, Blashko 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.”
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.
“It was very important for me to win, primarily because it is the result of a whole season work, it was a battle and it gives me huge motivation for the coming years.”
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 and it gives me huge motivation for the coming years.”