Five Burning Questions for Hanna Kebinger

Last weekend, Germany’s Hanna Kebinger, after three penalties in the second prone stage roared back with two clean standing stages to claim victory in the Blinkfestivalen women’s mass start, a day after finishing third in the super sprint. Commenting on the two perfect standing stages, “I know I am really good in standing, so I tried to focus on that because I can gain a lot of places.” The Blink victory was another career highlight for Kebinger in Norway, the first coming when she finished a career-best 4th place in the season-ending Oslo mass start last March.

Those are pretty impressive results for the three-time IBU JWCH medalist who had only two IBU BMW World Cup starts prior to the German World Cup team call-up before Antholz last January. Since then, Kebinger’s career trajectory has skyrocketed with an IBU WCH Relay Silver medal, two additional relay podiums and two additional top ten results in the sport’s top circuit.

With her career on the rise and a big win last weekend, the 25-year-old answered our five burning questions plus a couple more just for fun.

Biathlonworld: Quite a weekend at Blink: third in the super sprint and a win in the mass start, how would you describe your first visit to Blink?

Hanna Kebinger: The competitions at Blink were really special; especially running in front of such a crowd. It was an amazing experience, a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it especially being on the podium every day. It was even more special since it was my first visit there.

BW: You had quite a celebration coming to the finish in the mass start, what was going through your mind as you headed to the finish?

HK: Honestly, there were not so many thoughts in my head. I enjoyed the atmosphere and wanted to thank the fans a little bit. I just enjoyed the moment.

BW: Did you do anything special during your camp in Norway that gave you some extra confidence coming into Blink?

HK: I did not do anything special before the Blink festival. We were in Norway for a training camp, the first week in Sirdal where we did not do anything special, just normal training. We just wanted to do the competitions, directly out of training. I just tried to do as good as possible, to bring my best training shape to the competitions. I think I can be really happy with that.

BW: What has been your personal focus during summer training this year?

HK: During summer training so far, my main focus was on shooting. I had a new rifle so I invested a lot of hours getting used to the new rifle and gaining a little confidence. As for the rest, I just tried to do as many good quality hours as possible. So far, not so many hard sessions. My main focus was on easy, long sessions. The rest of our hard sessions are coming from now on.

BW: It has been a few months now, but what was it like to win that relay medal in your first-ever IBU World Championships?

HK: It is still crazy when I think about this…that I won a medal at the IBU World Championships, especially when my season was not so easy up until then. I had a really rough start, so this medal was much more special. It is still hard to describe it, because there are so many emotions with it. I am just really happy…hard to describe in words. It is just amazing, especially at my first World Championships. I could not be happier. I am just trying to grasp all the emotions and motivation for this season, and bring those emotions to push myself a little bit. I think we saw what is possible. It is still a little crazy to talk about my first medal.

BW: Bonus Question 1: what is your favorite food that you cannot live without?

HK: My favorite food is pizza; I really love it and try to eat it as often as possible!

BW: Bonus Question 2: what is your hidden talent?

HK: That is a really hard one. I am not sure what my hidden talent is but I love paint; I think I am really good at football and play really well so that is one of my hidden talents.

After her Blink successes, Hanna Kebinger will be one of the favorites this Sunday when she competes at City Biathlon in Wiesbaden.

Photos: IBU/Nordic Focus, Bjorn Reichert

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