So there has been some news since my last post, so I’ll share with you everything that is worth sharing.
So after New Years break and an awefull illness, my body wasn’t in the best shape for competing. In competition, I would push to my absolute limits but basically go nowhere. I was definitely lacking power and speed. When I looked at the results list after each event I was quite disappointed and obviously very dissatisfied. By the end of January I managed to find some reasonable shape and regained qualification for World Cup. That trimester was mentally really difficult for me but I knew that it takes time for an athlete’s body to recover, so I tried to keep my head high and be patient.
Next up was Open European Championships (OECH) in Otepaa (EST) which everyone was excited for. We had the largest number of athletes there in history, 3 junior girls and 4 men. The men were eligible to start a Relay for the very first time in history!! It felt great to finally have a team to travel with.
Otepaa is a small place in the middle of nowhere, it’s quite isolated from everywhere but let me tell you they love and support their snow sport. It felt great to get out of central Europe and experience and live a different culture for a while. Central Europe does get a little monotonous at times and when you spend so much time away from home, it gets quite tough. Travelling somewhere new definitely freshens you up mentally.
So OECH started off with the 20km individual event, finally I was feeling somewhat decent but having slow skis and shooting 9 penalties didn’t help me in my first comp. It was gusting a storm like in the Australian KAC, skiing was pretty tough but the shooting range was the real mission. Unfortunately I failed the mission by shooting a 9-minute penalty and crossing the finish line in 83rd.
I was certainly hoping for a better result in the 10km sprint event the next day, luckily the weather conditions were much better and fair for everybody. This time I had fast skis and I managed to shoot straight, so the result was much more pleasing to look at, 41st in a strong field of 106 starters. The following day we had the 12.5km Pursuit, I shot 2 penalties out of 20 which moved me up to 36th position, two really satisfying days for me.
After a rest dayt it was time to make history, for the first time ever we had a relay in an international event. Damon, Dyllan, Daniel and myself were all excited for this event and I think we did a great job considering the unfortunate circumstances! I started the first leg, it was going great right up to the last downhill on the first loop, where I crashed and broke most of my equipment! A Finnish guy caught an edge and crashed in front of me and since we were all in a pack I had nowhere to go other than into him!! while I was trying to realise where the sky was another 2 skiers skied into me. In conclusion I broke my best skis, chipped my rifle stock, and bruised several body parts. Fortunately I was able to recover and get up quickly. I managed to ski and shoot quite well using only 1 extra round. I handed over to Damon managing to still be in a pack of other nations, 1:38 behind the leading team. As the race went on we slowly kept dropping back from the leaders, but I believe we did a damn great job! P.S we even lapped a nation!
After European Championships finished I found out that I no longer had the financial capacity to compete on the WC or IBU Cup, I was really shocked and lost, to be honest I didn’t know what to do. I knew that this season was really tough financially but never did I think I would have to stop competing. When you work so hard during summer, sacrifice and give everything you have for the winter season it’s a bit upsetting to find out that you are done. So with no other choice, my dad and I decided to go back to our Tyumen base and train free of charge until the World Championships, which are luckily fully paid for by the OC. When we arrived in Tyumen it was hard to find motivation, my dad left for Junior Worlds after a couple days so basically I had to be like Rocky Balboa, work and train on my own! I also didn’t have a rifle with me because of the paperwork. Although at first it was bizarre and unusual to be watching the WC on TV, I soon found that maybe a break is good for me. I got my act together and tried to make the most of the dull moment, trained hard for 3 weeks and stayed healthy, focusing on doing my best at the coming World Championships.
When this season is over I really have to think about what ill do next with my career, but Ill leave those thoughts for later.
We are here in Finland now. Opened my ski bag after travelling and found more broken skis that I was most likely going to compete on here. Luck is just not on my side this year!! Our first race is tomorrow, wish us all luck as I am sure we’ll need it!
Thank you for reading,