Contrast:
High Contrast
Normal Contrast
Enlargement:
Larger Font Size
Default Font Size
Smaller Font Size
Official website of IPC Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing

RIVALRY Next

Latest Triumphs
2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships - Gold: Long distance freestyle and sprint classic cross country skiing
2011 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships: Gold: Cross Country 1km Sprint - Visually Impaired, Cross Country 10km - Visually Impaired and Cross Country 20km - Visually Impaired; Silver: Biathlon 12.5km Individual - Visually Impaired
2010 Paralympic Winter Games: Gold: Cross Country Sprint Classic Style - Visually Impaired, Cross Country 10km Classic Style - Visually Impaired and Cross Country 20km Freestyle - Visually Impaired
2006 Paralympic Winter Games: Gold: Cross Country 5km - Visually Impaired and Cross Country 10km - Visually Impaired; Silver: Cross Country 20km - Visually Impaired; Bronze: Biathlon 7.5km Individual - Visually Impaired
Nikolay Polukhin
IPC Nordic Skiing

Russia Nikolay Polukhin

8 July 1982 Tyumen, Russia
Latest Triumphs
2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships - Gold: Middle distance classic cross country and long, middle and short distance biathlon
2011 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships: Gold: Biathlon 7.5km Individual - Visually Impaired, Biathlon 12.5km Individual - Visually Impaired and Cross Country 1 x 4 + 2 x 5km Relay Open; Silver: Biathlon 3km Pursuit - Visually Impaired, Cross Country 1km Sprint - Visually Impaired, Cross Country 10km - Visually Impaired and Cross Country 20km - Visually Impaired
2010 Paralympic Winter Games: Gold: Cross Country 1 x 4 + 2 x 5km Relay; Silver: Cross Country Sprint Classic Style - Visually Impaired, Cross Country 20km Freestyle - Visually Impaired, Biathlon 3km Pursuit - Visually Impaired and Biathlon 12.5km Individual - Visually Impaired; Bronze: Cross Country 10km Classic Style - Visually Impaired
View the full biography
"Hopefully I can take down a top-three finish in my first two races, the sprint and the 20k."
"My main weakness is poor vision. I do a lot of exercises to co-ordinate my movements."
Nikolay Polukhin
Because the preparation this year mirrors next year, the World Championships are going to be a bit of a warm-up for me for Sochi next month. Hopefully I can take down a top-three finish in my first two races, the sprint and the 20k.
What are your expectations for the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships?
My goal is to receive the highest finishes possible for me at the Championships.
We’re definitely the ones with the targets on our backs, my guide Eric and I.
What’s your weakness on the course and how are you working on it?
My main weakness is poor vision. I do a lot of exercises to co-ordinate my movements.
He’s a very fast skier and it’s clear he works very hard. He’s very fit and he’s going to want to put on a big show.
Why is your rival so strong?
Because he is a member of a very healthy Canadian team with a lot of good athletes. It’s most difficult to keep up with his speed during the race.
There’s a lot of pride involved when you have a home Paralympic Games coming up, but there’s also a lot of pressure.
What’s your rival’s biggest weakness?
I don’t see any weak sides. His strong side is ability to train with healthy athletes.
I’ve been closer with others, such as Frank Hofle of Germany, who has now retired, but still respect the Russians.
Are you close with your rival?
Yes , when we have a chance to meet we socialise.
Athlete picture
Verena's Verdict

When I was a young skier, Brian was my big role model. Later, he was the one who in contention for both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, and that was a sensational step for someone in para-sport. For me, Brian is the favourite in cross-country skiing. In biathlon, Nikolay will be the man with the best chances. He was the best in the world on different tracks during the last couple of years.

Verena's Verdict: McKeever

Germany's Verena Bentele is a 12-time Paralympic gold medallist in biathlon and cross-country skiing.

RIVALRY Next

Latest Triumphs
2010-11 IPC Nordic World Championships: Gold: Cross Country 1km Sprint - Standing, Cross Country 15km - Standing, Biathlon 7.5km Individual - Standing and Biathlon 12.5km Individual - Standing; Silver: Cross Country 3 x 2.5km Relay Open and Cross Country 5km - Standing; Bronze: Biathlon 3km Pursuit - Standing
2010 Paralympic Winter Games: Gold: Cross Country Sprint Classic Style - Standing, Cross Country 5km Classic Style - Standing and Biathlon 12.5km Individual - Standing; Silver: Cross Country 3 x 2.5km Relay
Maija Jarvela
IPC Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon

Finland Maija Jarvela

17 January 1984 Ylivieska, Finland
Latest Triumphs
2011/12 IPC Nordic World Cup: Third Place: Cross Country Women’s Standing
View the full biography
"You should never undervalue other competitors."
"The beginning of the season was difficult and skiing felt stuffy. I was not at my best in Vuokatti. Now, it has been a long time without races because I was not in USA."
Maija Jarvela
I am quite happy with the beginning of this season. At the World Cup in Vuokatti, I showed good results with medals and managed in general to perform my coaches’ tasks. I missed last season due to a very happy event in my life – my daughter’s birth. So now, I am working very hard to come back into my best condition.
How is your season going and how are preparations for the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships?
The beginning of the season was difficult and skiing felt stuffy. I was not at my best in Vuokatti. Now, it has been a long time without races because I was not in USA. We made big changes in my training programme.
Well, you are asking me to share my secret … I never predict or plan ahead as to my results and performances. Though I am an optimist and sure that everything will be fine, my strongest belief is that one should be focused on training and work hard instead of dreaming and thinking too much about medals or awards.
What do you need to do well in order to come away with a top finish in Solleftea?
It has to be perfect day in every way.
You should never undervalue other competitors and say that this person is my biggest rival and the other one is not. Maija is a very good and experienced athlete, she takes part in many World Cup stages and she has good ranking points. Maja is strong in biathlon – she is very calm, focused and stable. She is a good shooter. I am very emotional and it is disadvantage in the competition with Maja.
Why is Oleksandra/Maija one of your biggest rivals on the course?
She is No. 1 in many different capacities. Simply, she is in better shape and her motivation is high after making a comeback.
Well, unfortunately due to language barrier we cannot communicate freely at the competitions or outside. But we are congratulating each other with all the victories and genuinely joyed with achievements of each other.
How close are you and your rival outside of competition?
I think we would be closer, but we have huge language barrier. She does not speak any English.
Maija is very strong in biathlon and I would never talk about weaknesses
What are your rival’s weaknesses?
She does not have any weaknesses. Earlier, she had some difficulties with nerves in biathlon. But now she doesn’t even have that.
Athlete picture
Verena's Verdict

I think both developed very well in the last few years. Oleksandra, who I’ve known for a long time now, is for me the favourite in this rivalry. Both have the same class, LW8. So no one has an advantage on different tracks.

Verena's Verdict: Kononova

Germany's Verena Bentele is a 12-time Paralympic gold medallist in biathlon and cross-country skiing.

RIVALRY

Latest Triumphs
January 2012: IPC Athlete of the Month
2011-12 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Minneapolis: Gold: Cross Country Sprint Sitting, Cross Country Long Sitting.
2011-12 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Cable: Gold: Cross Country Middle Sitting, Cross Country Long Sitting, Biathlon Short Sitting, Biathlon Long Sitting.
2011-12 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Sjusjoen: Gold: Cross Country Long Sitting, Cross Country Middle Distance Sitting, Biathlon Short Sitting, Biathlon Pursuit Sitting, Biathlon Long Sitting, Silver: Cross Country Sprint Sitting.

Latest Triumphs
2011 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships: Gold: 12.5km, 10km and 7.5km Cross Country Skiing events; Silver: 3km Pursuit Biathlon and 15km Cross Country events; Bronze: Cross Country Sprint.
2010 Paralympic Winter Games: Gold: 2.4km Individual Pursuit and 12.5km Individual Biathlon events; 10km and 15km Cross Country Skiing; events Silver: Cross Country Sprin.
I don’t consider Zaripov to be my only sporting rival. Time is my main rival.
Everyone has weak and strong sides. I just do my best not to show my weak ones.
I don’t consider Zaripov to be my only sporting rival. Time is my main rival.
Who is your sporting rival and why?
Everyone, who is in the competition is my competitor. Roman is a very worthy opponent. He is very patient and goal-oriented. I have known him for a long time. He started his training before my eyes. I remember the first time he started, I was already on the team by then.
We are only team colleagues.
How close are you both off the snow?
I socialise with Roman outside the competitions. But that does not happened often, since we are from different cities, we both have own families and friends.
My strength is how I strive for victory. My weakness is my bad moods. When I feel like that, I go to visit my close friends and family members
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My main character quality is to set a goal and do everything possible to achieve it. I think everyone has weak and strong sides. I just do my best not to show my weak ones.
A well-prepared route. I like bad weather and slushy snow conditions.
What would be your perfect course?
Well-prepared and clean routes with well-organised facilities. I like sunny clear weather. But since that does not often happen, I like to ski in any weather.
Mental preparation is the most important thing I do before a race.
What do you do on race day from the time you wake up until your first run?
I usually start preparing myself the evening before. In the morning I get up, have breakfast, do my exercises and go to competitions. You have to be 100 per cent ready and have no fears.
Athlete picture
Verena's Verdict

Roman had a hurt back some month ago. So, if I remember correctly, he was not starting during 2011 World Championships in Vuokatti. But he came back very strong and so I think that Roman will be the winner in this rivalry. Irek was years ago the man who always was on the podium and I think that he will win a medal, too, though, at the 2013 World Championships.

Verena’s Verdict: Petushkov

Germany's Verena Bentele is a 12-time Paralympic gold medallist in biathlon and cross-country skiing.