High level biathlon expected in Lenzerheide
While the magnificent women relay team composed of the Gasparin sisters (Aita, Selina, Elisa) and Lena Haecki (who also reached her first ever individual podium in Annecy - Le Grand Bornand) brought much joy to the Swiss biathlon at the BMW IBU World Cup level, it was their star juniors Amy Baserga and Niklas Hartweg who will be hoping to have as much success in Lenzerheide as they did in the IBU Junior Cup this season so far. This will be no easy feat though, as many athletes will be entering Lenzerheide with fresh experience from the IBU Cup and/or BMW IBU World Cup level. Just think of Elvira Oeberg of Sweden who finished 12th in her first ever world cup competition in the Oestersund sprint at the start of the season and was twice a member of the Swedish women's relay team that finished on the podium.
Hartweg doubling down on his promise
In January 2019, Niklas Hartweg of Switzerland surprised himself; shooting with great authority and then dared even more on his fast skis to win the youth individual competition at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Osrblie, Slovakia. A year later he is the leading junior in the IBU Junior Cup Total Score standings (222 points) after he won in the individual in Pokljuka and in the sprint in Martell - Val Martello while finishing second in the Martell pursuit and third in the Pokljuka sprint. He was also the member of winning Swiss mixed relay team in Pokljuka and single mixed relay team in Martell - Val Martello (with Lea Meier). Hartweg will be entering his home soil IBU Y/J World Championships with great expectations and rightly so. He has been shooting with great accuracy this season, hitting 56 out of 60 targets (93.3% accuracy) in the individual competitions and building his ski speed as well.
Baserga is fulfilling her big potential
Equally impressive this season so far was his teammate Amy Baserga who won the Pokljuka sprint and Martell-Val Martello pursuit while finishing second in the Martell - Val Martello sprint and the Pokljuka individual. Baserga has also been shooting with great accuracy this season, hitting 55 out of 60 targets (91.6% accuracy) and kept her ski speed at the consistently high enough level to mostly dominate the field. Baserga is atop of the IBU Junior Cup Total Score standings with 228 points and also a member of successful Swiss mixed relay team. Baserga won youth gold in the pursuit and silver in the sprint at the last year’s IBU Y/J World Championships.
Who else to follow carefully
Alex Cisar of Slovenia won the youth sprint & pursuit gold double last year in Osrblie. He has since tested the competition levels in both at the IBU Cup and the BMW IBU World Cup. Cisar will be looking forward to testing his progress in the juniors competitions in Lenzerheide. Said Karimulla Khalili of Russia won junior silver in the Osrblie sprint and competed with much success in the December 2019 IBU Cups before joining the senior BMW IBU World Cup team this January. Among the fastest in the junior women field (with Paula Botet of France) is Juliane Fruehwirt of Germany who has been competing on the IBU Cup circuit this season; finding out how tough it is to really make it to the top in biathlon.