After winning three medals at her home World Championships, German Nordic skier Clara Klug is balancing preparations for her first Paralympic Winter Games with her university studies.
At February’s World Championships in Finsterau, Klug won two silvers and a bronze in biathlon. Combined with a second place finish in the overall biathlon World Cup rankings for visually impaired skiers, it marked the 22-year-old’s best season to date.
But success has not been straightforward for Klug who has worked with two different guides this season.
“During November I had to practice with a different guide and it took some time to adjust,” she explained. “We did well in the first World Cups. I then worked with my main guide, Martin Hartl, over Christmas. Sometimes it’s good to switch guides as you can learn from both,” explained Klug.
Ultimately, she was pleased with her season.
“Biathlon went really well and I got my first cross-country World Cup medal in Japan. I’m in good shape and I know what I want to work on during the summer,” said Klug who has pinpointed areas for improvement ahead of next season.
“I think I can improve my technique, strength and overall condition. My main focus is PyeongChang, rather than the overall World Cup,” she said.
Due to Germany’s success at the 2017 World Championships, where the team won three gold, six silver and five bronze medals, Klug found herself in the media spotlight.
“I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with all the media and my family being there but I think it went well,” she said. “Lots of people said they saw me on TV and commented that they didn’t know I could do things like that. It’s an ongoing challenge to set the focus on Paralympic sport, though.”
Klug’s public profile is set to remain high as she sets her focus on doing well at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
“It would be great to get a medal but I don’t set myself a specific target. There are so many factors in there,” she said.
The German is making the most of her time before the new season kicks off, including a holiday and continuing with her Computational Linguistics degree.
“I went to Egypt with my sister for a week and it was great to enjoy the warm weather and relax,” she explained. “That was my summer break – in April! I’m now into the summer semester. I’m taking two classes and will take a break during the winter. It’s good to balance sport with university.”
The Paralympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from 9-18 March 2018.