HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
Come the 2015 Canada Games, biathletes from outside the Yukon had better look out.
Years younger than most of their competition, which includes national team members, Yukon’s female biathletes posted top-20 results for the third straight race at the Canada Winter Games on Wednesday in Halifax.
Yukon’s Erin Oliver-Beebe and Jennifer Curtis, both of whom are eligible for the next Winter Games, finished 11th and 16th respectively in the 10-kilometre pursuit.
Not only did Oliver-Beebe finish in the top-20 in all her races, she improved each time out, taking 15th in the 7.5-kilometre on Tuesday and 19th in the 12.5 individual race Sunday.
“Erin raced better today. She seemed to be, if I can say it this way, more into it,” said Yukon biathlon head coach Judy Hartling. “She was ready to go and it was her day to race.
“She had one clean shoot and she seemed to be skiing well.”
Curtis, who, like her teammate, is only 16, missed only one shot at each of her four bouts at the range on Wednesday. In earlier events she was 12th in the 12.5-kilometre individual race to open the Games and 20th in the 7.5-kilometre sprint.
“Jennifer has been skiing well all week,” said Hartling. “She was right into it her first race and continued to do that today.
“At one point during the race, because Erin had missed some shots and Jennifer had not, they were actually skiing together in the race.
“It was fun to watch: the two teammates helping each other out through the race.”
Yukon’s only male biathlete at the Games, Jeremy Johnson, 20, came 36th in the 12.5-kilometre pursuit on Wednesday. Earlier in the week Johnson took 35th in the 15-kilometre individual race then 39th in the 10-kilometre sprint on Tuesday in the men’s division.
“He puts everything into his skiing, always has, right from Day 1 when we got here,” said Hartling. “He enjoyed the fact that it was a pursuit and there were a number of competitors close by. So it was a fun race for him.
“After his race he stuck around to watch the girls race.”
Yukon’s biathletes will be on the trails for a 3×6-kilometre relay event on Friday. However, unable to fill a full team, the Yukoners will be teaming up with NWT biathletes for the event and will not be included in the official standings.
“The training they have put in over the years has paid off,” said Hartling. “Biathlon is a technical sport, even today, you miss one shot and you go down five or six positions because the competition is very keen. And our people have really held their own.”
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