PyeongChang 2018 Sport Week: Five biathlon storylines
Paralympic and world champions seek to achieve glory at March´s Winter Paralympics19 Jan 2018
With the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games less than 50 days away, here are five storylines to watch for in biathlon:
1. Liashenko defies Kononova
Ukraine´s Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medallist Oleksandra Kononova has dominated the women´s standing class for years. She even performed a clean sweep of biathlon events at the 2015 World Championships. But compatriot Liudmyla Liashenko sprang a surprise at the 2017 Worlds by beating Kononova twice to take double biathlon gold. PyeongChang 2018 could see a battle of the Ukrainians in this category.
The 27-year-old has not yet topped the podium in biathlon at a Paralympic Games. He was close at Sochi 2014, when he sealed silver in the men´s sprint and bronze in the middle distance standing. After winning two biathlon titles at last year´s World Championships in Finsterau, Germany, Arendz is hopeful to end his Paralympic gold medal drought in PyeongChang.
3. Germany target multiple golds
Martin Fleig ended far from the medal positions at Sochi 2014. Three years later, he won two golds and one bronze in the men´s biathlon sitting on home soil in Finsterau and will be one to look out for in PyeongChang. His compatriot and Paralympic gold medallist Anja Wicker will be a leading candidate in the women´s equivalent.
4. Daviet, the French hope
Benjamin Daviet won his first major international biathlon title just one year ago, when he climbed onto the top of the podium in the men´s individual standing at Finsterau 2017. He also sealed silver in the middle distance and bronze in the sprint races. Daviet´s best performance in biathlon at a Winter Paralympics so far is a seventh place in the sprint at Sochi 2014.
5. Belarus have golden dreams
A former Para athlete and Para cyclist, Vasili Shaptsiaboi has also shown talent for biathlon. The 38-year-old has claimed one gold, two silvers and two bronze at World Championships, and has sealed three bronze over three Winter Paralympics. He is now hoping to take another leap forward at PyeongChang 2018.
The Paralympic Winter Games take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from 9-18 March. Tickets can be purchased here.