Two for Hochfilzen…Marie and Anais
Looking ahead to the IBU World Championships starting on February 9, the first of a series of quick looks at some of the medal contenders. France has two women that will be vying for titles: Marie Dorin Habert and Anais Chevalier.
Dorin Habert will come to Hochfilzen hoping for a repeat of last season, when she won the 15K individual, mass start and mixed Gold, plus three more medals. Repeating a haul like that might be asking a lot, but it is not impossible. This season, she is fourth in the World Cup Total Score with four individual podiums, including two wins and four more podiums in relays. Dorin Habert has always been quick on the tracks; her skiing has been generally good all season. However she has only shot clean in her first victory, the Östersund sprint. Extra penalties have kept her off the podium several times this season. A little bit of fine tuning on the shooting range before Hochfilzen to get back to the WCH 90%+ shooting of last season and the medals will pile up. She is a gritty competitor, good in Championships and no doubt will be ready to take on all comers. Best chances for medals: mixed relay, sprint, individual and relay.
The 23-year-old Chevalier is the young “heir apparent” when the now 30-year-old Dorin Habert eventually retires. A wunderkind, who trains with Dorin Habert in Villard de Lans, made the French Olympic Squad for Sochi at age 20; she struggled for a couple of years after that with a back injury. But a successful season and half on the IBU Cup brought her back to the World Cup. Since Pokljuka, she has a win and two second places in individual competitions, plus three second places in relays. Unlike Her teammate, shooting is Chevalier’s strong point. As the IBU World Championships approach, Anais Chevalier is perking along: some clean shooting, and a couple of single-penalty days. She said recently, “I have always been a good shooter, but not so fast on my skis. But now they are getting closer. ”Only one thing left this season that would make her smile more that that first World Cup win. “I think a gold medal in the relay for the team would be very great.” An individual Gold medal for this rising star would also probably be “very great.” Best chances for medal: relay, 15K individual.