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Biathlon

IPC Nordic Worlds open in Solleftea

The 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships are taking place in Solleftea, Sweden, from 25 February to 5 March.

Russia's Roman Petushkov takes lead over teammate Irek Zaripov Russia's Roman Petushkov took gold and his teammate Irek Zaripov won bronze in the cross-country skiing long distance at the 2012-13 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Cable, USA. © • James Netz
By IPC

“I am confident that many athletes will be using these Championships to check where they are at with their own preparations for next year, whilst keeping a close eye on the performances of their competitors."

The 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships were opened in Solleftea, Sweden, on Sunday (24 February) with a colourful ceremony.

From 25 February to 5 March, more than 150 athletes from 15 countries will compete for podium places in cross-country skiing and biathlon events just one year before the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games take place.

Rita van Driel, IPC Governing Board member, said: “In just over one year’s time most of us will be getting ready for the next Paralympic Winter Games.

“I am confident that many athletes will be using these Championships to check where they are at with their own preparations for next year, whilst keeping a close eye on the performances of their competitors.

“Since the 2011 World Championships in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, a number of great rivalries have developed on the nordic skiing circuit and I expect these to take centre stage here this week.

“I’m also delighted at some of the new young talent emerging and believe some of them will surprise us here in Solleftea by coming out of nowhere to win a medal or even a world title.”

One of the rivalries to look out for is between two Russian sit-skiers. Multiple Paralympic and world champion Irek Zaripov will be challenged by his compatriot Roman Petushkov, as he tries to defend his gold medals from the last World Championships.

All events from the Championships will be streamed live on the IPC’s YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/ParalympicSportTV.

For more information on the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, please visit the event website at www.ipcnordicskiingworlds.org.

You can also follow the action on Twitter @IPCNordic and like the sport’s Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/IPCNordicSkiing.

Top 10 rivalries at Sochi 2014

Find out what will be the best athlete rivalries to watch across all Paralympic sports from 7-16 March.

A picture of a man in a sledge skiing Japan’s Kozo Kubo won the sitting category in the long distance biathlon in Cable, Wisconsin, USA. © • Arja Korhonen
By IPC

There will be 547 athletes from 45 countries competing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Alpine skiing

Anna Schaffelhuber (Germany) – Claudia Loesch (Austria)

The two will be battling all week long the slopes for the top spot on the podium in the women’s sitting class. Schaffelhuber has dominated the 2013-14 IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit, but is still in search of her first Paralympic title. Loesch, despite coming in second and third most of this season, has two Paralympic titles to her name and won three events at the 2013 World Championships.

Marie Bochet (France) – Andrea Rothfuss (Germany)

While everyone will be looking to upset favoured six-time world champion Bochet in the women’s standing class, it is Rothfuss who has the best chance. The German enters her third Paralympics having won five Paralympic medals. Bochet, only 20, is entering the prime of her career after winning this season’s women’s overall World Cup title.

Aleksandra Frantceva (Russia) – Henrieta Farkasova (Slovakia)

These two women’s visually impaired skiers have been pushing each other to go faster on the slopes over the last Paralympic cycle. At the 2013 World Championships, Frantceva picked up three golds, with Farkasova notching two titles. Both are entering their second Paralympics expecting to be the top contender in their class.

Matthias Lanzinger (Austria) – Markus Salcher (Austria)

What is better than two rivals from the same country? The two standing skiers are both expected to make multiple appearances on the podium in Sochi, with many looking ahead to their super-G race on Sunday (9 March). Lanzinger is a former big-name able-bodied skier, while Salcher is a graduate of the IPC’s 2006 development and a two-time IPC Alpine Skiing world champion.

Nordic skiing

Brian McKeever (Canada) – Nikolay Polukhin (Russia)

McKeever is a five-time Paralympic champion and Polukhin has two Paralympic titles to his name, and the two men’s visually impaired cross-country skiers are expected to go head-to-head right up to the finish in Sochi. The Canadian was unbeatable at his home Games in 2010 in Vancouver, taking gold in the 1km sprint, as well as the 10km and 20km events.

Kozo Kubo (Japan) – Roman Petushkov (Russia)

This has been one of the fastest growing rivalries over the last Paralympic cycle, with Petushkov entering Sochi 2014 as the man to beat on the Nordic skiing trails and Kubo one of the sport’s rising stars. Petushkov, a five-time world champion still in search of his first Paralympic gold, won both the cross-country skiing and biathlon overall titles at the 2013-14 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup.

Snowboard

Evan Strong (USA) – Mike Shea (USA)

Many are expecting an All-American rivalry in the men’s competition when snowboard makes its Paralympic debut on 14 March at the Rosa Kuhtor Alpine Centre. Strong has been consistently ranked No. 1 in the world, but Shea is coming off a season where he finished as the 2013-14 IPCAS Snowboard World Cup overall winner.

Ice sledge hockey

Canada-USA

If these two teams meet in the medal round at Sochi 2014, it will be the grudge match of all grudge matches. The USA, led by goaltender Steve Cash and forward Josh Pauls, are trying to defend their Paralympic title. Canada, powered by top scorers Greg Westlake and Brad Bowden, are the reigning world champions going for gold after failing to medal at Vancouver 2010 despite high expectations.

Norway-Sweden

As the first two countries to have ice sledge hockey teams, these nations have some of the most stories programmes in the record books. Look for Sweden’s budding young star Per Kasperi to challenge Norway’s veteran defenceman Rolf Pedersen on the ice when they face off on Tuesday (11 March).

Wheelchair curling

Canada-Sweden

These two teams finished one-two at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics and both expected to be in the medal hunt in Sochi. Canada are led by their flag bearer Sonja Gaudet and Sweden are anchored by skip Jalle Jungnell, both included on the IPC’s Ones to Watch list for the Games. They will face off against each other on Monday (10 March).

Iran: 10 facts on the Sochi 2014 Paralympics

Iran is looking to win the first medal at Paralympic Winter Games

Sadegh Kalhor finished 34th in the men's slalom at Vancouver 2010. That is Iran’s best result at the Paralympic Winter Games Sadegh Kalhor finished 34th in the men's slalom at Vancouver 2010. That is Iran’s best result at the Paralympic Winter Games © • Getty Images
By IPC

- Iran have yet to win a medal at the Paralympic Winter Games.

- Iran’s best result at the Paralympic Winter Games is a 34th-place finish for Sadegh Kalhor in the alpine skiing men's slalom event at the Vancouver 2010 Games.

- Kalhor competed in the Winter Paralympics in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. The only other Iranian at the Winter Games was Ramzanali Jeiroodi who competed in 1998. Both competed in alpine skiing.

- Iran have won 112 medals at the Summer Paralympic Games, including 47 golds.

- They have won most of their medals in athletics (71 total, 30 golds) and owerlifting (24 total, nine golds).

- Iran have won just one of their 47 Paralympic golds in a women's event. Archer Zahra Nemati won the women’s individual recruve W1/W2 in London in 2012.

- Iran won a record 24 medals for their country at the London 2012 Paralympics, including 10 golds. Iran have only won more gold medals in 2000 (12), when they won 23 total medals.

- Gader Modabber Raz has won five gold medals for Iran in athletics in the discus, shot put and javelin from 1996-2000. He also claimed one bronze medal for a total of six medals.

- Mokhtar Nourafshan has won an Iranian record of seven total medals, including four golds, all in athletics.

- Iran leads all countries in men's sitting volleyball medals, winning golds (five) or silvers (two) in each edition from 1988 to 2012.

Top 10 winter Paralympic nations of all-time

Find out the top countries in Paralympic winter sport and their best medal hopes for the Sochi 2014 Games.

Rolf Pedersen Rolf Pedersen takes the puck ahead of the USA's Josh Pauls at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool in Goyang, Korea. © • IPC
By Ryan McKenna | For the IPC

Norway have been around since the first Paralympic Winter Games in 1976 and have been a strong country in every sport, every year.

1. Norway

134 golds, 101 silvers, 80 bronze (315 total)

Norway have been around since the first Paralympic Winter Games in 1976 and have been a strong country in every sport, every year. In ice sledge hockey in Sochi, they will be led by defenceman Rolf Pedersen, who has medalled in every Paralympics since 2002 and is a force on the point for the Norwegians. They also have strong Nordic skiers in Nils Erik-Ulset and Mariann Marthinsen.

2. Germany*

121 golds, 108 silvers, 101 bronze (330 total)

In Sochi, Germany will be home to two key alpine skiers in Andrea Rothfuss and Anna Schaffelhuber who will be aiming for gold at Sochi 2014. Rothfuss is coming into Sochi hot after four silvers in standing class at the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in downhill, slalom, giant slalom and super combined. Schaffelhuber won gold last year at the World Championships in the women’s slalom sitting and dominated the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit this season.

3. Austria

102 golds, 108 silvers, 104 bronze (314 total)

Always known for being a dominant country on the slopes, Austria have a pair of athletes looking to impress at Rosa Khutor. Markus Salcher won downhill and super-G last year at the World Championships in the men’s standing class, while Claudia Loesch also won gold in giant slalom, super-G and super combined in the women’s sitting class.

4. USA

96 golds, 97 silvers, 68 bronze

The USA have big medal aspirations in Sochi in both the costal village as well as in the mountains. Ice sledge hockey forward Josh Pauls and arguably the best goaltender in the world, Steve Cash, will look to lead the charge at Shayba Arena as they try to defend their Paralympic gold. Snowboarders Evan Strong and Amy Purdy will look to star when snowboard makes its Paralympic debut.

5. Finland

76 golds, 47 silvers, 59 bronze (182 total)

Finland’s medal haul will have to be a full team effort at Sochi 2014 if they look to improve from Vancouver 2010’s one silver and one bronze. At Torino 2006, they logged nine medals, and in Sochi they will field a wheelchair curling team for the first time, along with a star cast in Nordic skiing.

6. Russia*

64 golds, 68 silvers, 44 bronze

The host country is always a favourite at any Paralympic Games. Russia was one gold shy of tying Germany at Vancouver 2010 for the most medals and overall finished with 38 which led all countries. The home team’s sport in Sochi will be Nordic skiing, as Roman Petushkov and Mikalina Lysova will anchor the squad in the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively. Dmitry Lisov will look to lead a potent ice sledge hockey team, while also in the costal village, skip Svetlana Pakhomova will be looking to find the podium after a fourth-place finish at the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.

7. Switzerland

49 golds, 55 silvers, 48 bronze (152 total)

Rosa Khutor is where Switzerland will have their best chance to improve on their medal totals. Last year at the World Championships, Michael Bruegger captured a silver in downhill and bronze in both giant slalom and super-G in the men’s standing class.

8. France

47 golds, 44 silvers, 48 bronze (139 total)

France are still hoping for more medals at Sochi 2014. They notched six at Vancouver 2010 and will be a threat at Rosa Khutor in alpine skiing with six-time world champion Marie Bochet and Opening Ceremony flag bearer Vincent Gauthier-Manuel. Since joining the world circuit, Bochet has been great, and at last year’s World Championships, she won gold in downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super combined and super-G in the women’s standing events.

9. Canada

36 golds, 41 silvers, 42 bronze

Canada are coming off a strong showing at their own Games at Vancouver 2010. This year in Sochi, their ice sledge hockey team led by Brad Bowden and Greg Westlake is ranked first after a win at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool. Canada’s flag bearer Sonja Gaudet will look for gold at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in wheelchair curling and at Rosa Khutor with Mark Arendz and Brian McKeever in cross-country skiing and biathlon.

10. Sweden

25 golds, 30 silvers, 40 bronze (95 total)

Sweden will look to once again find the podium at Sochi 2014. They’ve received bronze medals in each of the last two Paralympics in wheelchair curling, much thanks to skip Jalle Jungnell. Last year at the World Championships, Sweden earned a silver medal.

*Denotes country which previously went under a different name.

Ihor Reptyukh: a para-biathlete

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Powered by Allianz: Global ParaSport Allianz Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Global.ParaSport Paralympic hopeful Ihor Reptyukh of the Ukraine won't even be 20 years old when the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games take place but that doesn't mean his opponents are taking him lightly. Reptyukh's biggest success came in the 2012-13 IPC Nordic Skiing Biathlon World Cup. After finishing the 2011-12 IPC Nordic Skiing Biathlon World Cup in 15th place, Reptyukh rose to third place in the overall standings for 2012-13. As if the third place World Cup finish was not enough, the young Ukrainian para-nordic skier left a large impression on his opponents at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Sollefteå, Sweden. Reptyukh finished with three medals, including a gold in biathlon and a further two bronze medals in short distance biathlon and long distance freestyle cross country events. He added two more top 10 finishes at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing Worlds for good measure, including a fourth place finish that saw him miss the podium by just over 20 seconds. To see our other videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxooPBhwsKc&list=PL7849488D35847E8E All videos are available royalty-free via: http://sponsoring.allianz.com/en/paralympics/videos/ Allianz has been a Partner of the Paralympic Movement since 2006 and in 2011 became the first "International Partner" of the IPC which includes local partnerships with various National Paralympic Committees.

Oleksandra Kononova: a para-biathlete

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Powered by Allianz: Global ParaSport Allianz Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Global.ParaSport Oleksandra Kononova won the Best Games Debut at the Paralympic Sport Awards 2011. At the young age of 19, Ukraine's Oleksandra Kononova put on a stellar performance at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, winning gold medals in the 12.5km Standing Biathlon and 5km and Sprint Classic Cross-Country Skiing events. After a very promising season so far, she is one of the most prominent hopefuls of the Ukrainian biathlon team at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. To see our other videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxooPBhwsKc&list=PL7849488D35847E8E All videos are available royalty-free via: http://sponsoring.allianz.com/en/paralympics/videos/ Allianz has been a Partner of the Paralympic Movement since 2006 and in 2011 became the first "International Partner" of the IPC which includes local partnerships with various National Paralympic Committees.

How to: Para-biathlon - sitting category

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Powered by Allianz: Global ParaSport Allianz Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Global.ParaSport Biathlon as a Paralympic sport has several categories. Discover what the para-biathlon - standing category is all about and which characteristics define this Paralympic discipline. Experts and Paralympic athletes such as Oleksandra Kononova (Ukraine) and Ihor Reptyukh (Ukraine) explain the sport, their equipment, the technique and the rules. The events consist of a 2.0 or 2.5 km course skied three or five times in the free technique for a total race distance between 6-15 km. Between the two stages athletes must hit two targets located at a distance of 10m. Each miss is penalised by an increase in the overall route time. The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which depending on signal intensity, indicate when the athlete is on target. The sport is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Biathlon Union (IBU). To see our other videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxooPBhwsKc&list=PL7849488D35847E8E All videos are available royalty-free via: http://sponsoring.allianz.com/en/paralympics/videos/ Allianz has been a Partner of the Paralympic Movement since 2006 and in 2011 became the first "International Partner" of the IPC which includes local partnerships with various National Paralympic Committees.

How to: Para-biathlon - standing category

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Powered by Allianz: Global ParaSport Allianz Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Global.ParaSport Biathlon as a Paralympic sport has several categories. Discover what the para-biathlon - standing category is all about and which characteristics define this Paralympic discipline. Experts and Paralympic athletes such as Oleksandra Kononova (Ukraine) and Ihor Reptyukh (Ukraine) explain the sport, their equipment, the technique and the rules. The events consist of a 2.0 or 2.5 km course skied three or five times in the free technique for a total race distance between 6-15 km. Between the two stages athletes must hit two targets located at a distance of 10m. Each miss is penalised by an increase in the overall route time. The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which depending on signal intensity, indicate when the athlete is on target. The sport is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Biathlon Union (IBU). To see our other videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxooPBhwsKc&list=PL7849488D35847E8E All videos are available royalty-free via: http://sponsoring.allianz.com/en/paralympics/videos/ Allianz has been a Partner of the Paralympic Movement since 2006 and in 2011 became the first "International Partner" of the IPC which includes local partnerships with various National Paralympic Committees.

How to: Para-biathlon - visual impairment category

© •

Powered by Allianz: Global ParaSport Allianz Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Global.ParaSport Biathlon as a Paralympic sport has several categories. Discover what the para-biathlon - visual impairment category is all about and which characteristics define this Paralympic discipline. Experts and Paralympic athletes such as Mikhalina Lysova (Russia) explain the sport, their equipment, the technique and the rules. The events consist of a 2.0 or 2.5 km course skied three or five times in the free technique for a total race distance between 6-15 km. Between the two stages athletes must hit two targets located at a distance of 10m. Each miss is penalised by an increase in the overall route time. The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which depending on signal intensity, indicate when the athlete is on target. The sport is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Biathlon Union (IBU). To see our other videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxooPBhwsKc&list=PL7849488D35847E8E All videos are available royalty-free via: http://sponsoring.allianz.com/en/paralympics/videos/ Allianz has been a Partner of the Paralympic Movement since 2006 and in 2011 became the first "International Partner" of the IPC which includes local partnerships with various National Paralympic Committees.

Andrea Eskau: a para-biathlete

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Powered by Allianz: Global ParaSport Allianz Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Global.ParaSport Andrea Eskau performs in nordic skiing and handcycling. The psychologist who is a paraplegic since a bicycle accident in 1998 won 10 world titles since 2003 and at least one national title every year. After only a few months of training, she competed at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in biathlon and cross-country skiing . She won a bronze medal in 10 -km biathlon and a silver medal in 5-km cross-country skiing. At the Summer 2008 Paralympics Andrea Eskau won the road race and at London 2012 a gold medal in both the individual time trial and the road race. To see our other videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxooPBhwsKc&list=PL7849488D35847E8E All videos are available royalty-free via: http://sponsoring.allianz.com/en/paralympics/videos/ Allianz has been a Partner of the Paralympic Movement since 2006 and in 2011 became the first "International Partner" of the IPC which includes local partnerships with various National Paralympic Committees.