Liatoppen Biathlon Festival and Development Program Kicks Off

In an inspiring initiative supported by IBU development funds, the Liatoppen Biathlon Festival and Development Program was launched as a pilot project in Norway. Backed by the Norwegian Federation, the program ran from April 10th to April 15th and aimed to boost youth participation in biathlon and nurture their development both as athletes and individuals.

Vision and Achievements

With a clear vision to keep more youths engaged in sports, the festival combined competition with a developmental camp, offering a unique blend of athletic and personal growth opportunities. The project sought not only to inspire the next generation of biathletes but also to facilitate cultural exchanges, knowledge sharing among athletes and coaches, and fostering a positive team culture.

Event Highlights

The week-long event, held in the scenic settings of Geilo and the Liatoppen venue in Ål, welcomed participants on April 10th. Coaches and athletes from eight National Federations, supported by IBU, from Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Poland, and host Norway, gathered for an enriching mix of competitions and educational activities. About 1000 biathletes from 10 countries took part in the event in various age categories from 13 to 16 years old. All were awarded for participation by programme ambassadors Tarjei Bo and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, who also joined the opening ceremony and created an excellent atmosphere of fun and inspiration around the Festival. Prominent among the Festival's activities were the competitions at Liatoppen, including a mixed relay that featured a creative blend of international teams and Norwegian club teams. The program also included visits to notable sites like the Norwegian Elite Sport Gymnasium (NTG), a discussion with Head of School Torgeir Skrede, and a special meeting with biathlon star and program ambassador Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold.

Educational and Social Impact

The participants were visited by the organization MOT (Show courage), which focuses on promoting good values and friendship among children and youth, and they engaged in various icebreaker games to get to know each other better. In addition, the athletes had the opportunity to participate in a training session led by Dag Bjørndalen and Kristina Dale-Skjevdal, featuring diverse shooting exercises and a floorball match.

Reflection and Future Prospects

This pilot project was envisioned as the first of many, with hopes to sustain and expand the Festival in the years to come. Thanks to the efforts of coordinators like Knut Kuvas Brevik, Head of Coach Development and Education, and Vegar Rolfsrud, Head of Grassroots and Recruitment in Norwegian Federation, and the foundational work laid down by Tore Boygard IBU EB member, one of the event's founders, the Liatoppen Biathlon Festival is poised to become the inspirational and motivational event for young biathletes and their coaches.

Knut Kuvas Brevik, Head of Coach Development and Education, shares his excitement:

The Norwegian Biathlon Association is very proud of the Liatoppen Biathlon Festival and how the OC has developed and is running this great event. We are happy to showcase it to athletes from all over the world, and we hope they have fun and bring with them great inspiration for further training when they return home.

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Photo credit: IBU

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