Getting to know … Ema Kapustova

Winning a medal at your home European Championships in front of your own fans. Not many biathletes manage that. Ema Kapustova won bronze in the individual event at the IBU Open European Championships in Brezno-Osrblie. And that was not the only medal this season. Now she wants to establish herself in the Slovakian World Cup team.

It was a brilliant season for Ema Kapustova. She did not start the season as planned at the IBU Cup in Kontiolahti, but instead traveled to the World Cup in Oestersund. This was her first time in the top biathlon league. "I couldn't have imagined competing in the World Cup this season beforehand. My goal was to establish myself in the IBU Cup," says the 21-year-old. Oestersund was not her only stop. She went on to Hochfilzen, Oberhof and Ruhpolding. "It's incredible. I can compete with the best in the world and learn so much in the process. My results are getting better with every race." She achieved two places in the top thirty in the pursuit in Lenzerheide (28th place) and Oberhof (25th place).

Dancing between the leagues

At the age of 21, she is still a junior and took part in the IBU Junior Open European Championships in Jakuszyce. She also came home with medals from the IBU Youth and Junior World Championships in Otepaa. There she won silver in the individual and again in the mass start 60, meaning that she managed to compete in all three biathlon leagues in one season.

Best result in front of a home crowd

Ema Kapustova's highlight of the season was the European Championships in her hometown of Brezno-Orsblie. She hit all twenty targets in the individual event and finished in third place. "It was a pleasure for me to skate in front of so many Slovakian fans. My whole family was in the stadium and my first biathlon coach. That gave me a lot of motivation to keep training hard for my goals." Martin Otcenas has been her coach for two years. He was an active biathlete himself until 2020 and took part in the Olympic Games in Sochi and Pyeongchang. "The collaboration with Martin is going very well. We have stabilized my shooting and improved my running. I am very happy that he is now my coach." Just like her coach, Ema Kapustova wants to take part in the Olympic Games. For the success she has already achieved this season, she was honoured as biathlete of the season in Slovakia.

Biathlon life combined with a professional future

Alongside her sport, the 21-year-old is studying tourism. For her, this is the ideal combination with her travels on the biathlon circuit. Even if it is not always easy to combine competitive sport with her studies, she believes she is well equipped for the time after her active career. "I travel so much through sport that I can well imagine working in this field later on," she explains. She loves getting to know new people and places. She likes it best in Obertilliach. To switch off from biathlon and her studies, Ema Kapustova paints. It allows her to switch off and clear her head. For Ema Kapustova, this is her very own strategy for success.

Photos: IBU I Osula

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