Biathlon Yukon puts growth in its sites

Biathlon Yukon president Keith Clarke has a build-it-and-they-will-come attitude towards his sport.

Biathlon Yukon president Keith Clarke has a build-it-and-they-will-come attitude towards his sport.

Looking at this season, which includes the Canada Winter Games, at next season, which will have the Arctic Winter Games, and beyond, Biathlon Yukon hopes to see an expansion in participation through increasing the organization’s support base, specifically, volunteers and coaches.

“You can’t just have the club open with a bunch of rifles on the range,” said Clarke. “We need a number of adults there that have a certain amount of training and certification to run the sport safely. And a lot of our support has gone into our junior program.”

To help turn the plan into reality, Biathlon Yukon is hosting a community coaching course October 29-31 at the Biathlon Yukon facility in the Grey Mountain area. Intended for those who wish to volunteer in any capacity, the course will be instructed by Alan Ball from Alberta’s provincial biathlon team.

“He will be working with our coaches and volunteers to bring us up to a certain level of certification,” said Clarke. “Anybody interested in volunteering with our club, I recommend they participate in it.

“For any growth in a program, you need the bodies there and the facility – and bodies there in the facility to lead the kids. We need people with a certain skill set to work with the kids or we have to shut the door on certain things.”

Juniors aside, Biathlon Yukon is determined to get its adult program, which has not run over the last few years, up and running this season.

“Over the years we’ve had a lot of interest in our adult program, but we haven’t been able to run because we haven’t had volunteer support to do it,” said Clarke. “The adult program will be happening.

“There would be a period of eight to 10 sessions of introduction to the sport of biathlon. People who have never done it before can come out learn about the art of shooting and skiing at the same time.”

The selection process for the Yukon’s Canada Winter Games biathlon team, that will compete next February in Halifax, Nova Scotia is complete. Headed by coach Judy Hartling, who was Sport Yukon’s Coach of the Year in 2008, Team Yukon is Jeremy Johnson, Erin Oliver-Beebe, Jennifer Curtis and Aryn Clarke.

“They are going to do really well at the Games,” said Clarke. “We have great coaching for them and we’re excited about their opportunities there. They have been working towards this goal, a minimum, of three years now.”

More information, including how to contact Biathlon Yukon, can be found at www.boathlonyukon.ca.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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