Germany’s Martin Fleig and Vivian Hosch made big improvements on the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup circuit in 2015-16, making it to No. 45 in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2016.
The pair were part of a group of German skiers determined to improve their performances before they host the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau from 10-19 February.
Fleig achieved a career high second place in 2015-16, his third consecutive season in the men’s biathlon sitting top 10.
“My World Cup successes still mean a lot to me,” Fleig said. “Looking at the differences in times, I could see a clear improvement compared to the previous season.”
Fleig competed at three World Cups in Tyumen, Russia; Finsterau and Vuokatti, Finland. He reached the podium seven times in short, middle and long distance races amassing 570 points. That in turn led a sixth place finish in the overall men’s World Cup rankings for the season across all classifications, his best ever result.
“I still don’t want to be complacent and think that it’s going to continue like that next winter,” Fleig said. “Success never comes on its own and year to year you need to work even harder to be amongst the top skiers”.
Fleig also highlighted his excitement for his home World Championships, which will gather 135 of the world’s best biathletes and cross-country skiers from 25 countries. He has been training hard in the off season in preparation.
“I am looking forward to Finsterau very much because my family will be there to cheer me and the German Para Nordic ski team.
“Of course we do have a certain home advantage compared to other nations and I will give my best to capitalise on this. It’s very special for me to take part in a big sporting event in your own country.”
Hosch also made huge strides in the World Cup rankings last season. She improved to third place in the women’s biathlon visually impaired, her first top three finish. Her triple podiums in long and short distances with guide Florian Schillinger saw her finish 12th amongst the women overall, equalling her position from the previous season.
Fleig and Hosch’s teammate Clara Klug, also a women’s visually impaired skier, performed well in the cross-country World Cup. Klug ended up in a career-high sixth position, moving up six places in just two seasons alongside guide Martin Hartl.
In addition to the triumphs of German skiers, IPC Nordic Skiing also reintroduced the cross-country marathon onto the World Cup programme.
For the first time since 2012, sit skiers competed over 20km whilst standing and visually impaired athletes skied 30km in Vuokatti.
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2016, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website: https://www.paralympic.org/top-50-moments-2016