How do biathletes manage to hit the targets? How do they feel on the tracks? Children in the primary school age were able to reconstruct that playful in the project “Biathlon in Schulen” (Biathlon in Schools). It promised heaps of fun and spreaded anticipation for the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships 2023 in Oberhof.
The project started in April 2022. In the first phase of the project, pupils from nearly 100 primary school classes and nearly 60 schools in Thuringia got to run through an indoor course and competed for the fastest time. Based on a regular biathlon competition, the children had to overcome a short route with different obstacles and - with a safe laser rifle - proof their talent.
The four best girls and boys of each school advanced into the second phase of the project. They were allowed to represent their primary school in a relay competition, consisting of a cross-country run and laser-shooting, in one of the Thuringian talent centres for Biathlon in Frankenhain, Scheibe-Alsbach, Tambach-Dietharz and Trusetal. The winning teams again advanced to the third and final stage of the project.
The final of the project took place in December 2022 in Oberhof. The three winning teams secured desired tickets for the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships in February 2023 for themselves and their classes.
The project “Biathlon in Schulen” was being organised and executed in the course of the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championships 2023 by the Thuringian Ski Association (Thüringer Skiverband e.V.) in cooperation with the “Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH” and funded by the Free State of Thuringia. Thuringias biathlete Vanessa Voigt could be won as face of the project. The objective of the project is to get children exited early for winter sports, be able to discover and support potential young talents as well as arouse enthusiasm and anticipation for the upcoming World Championships.
Hunting for medals instead of writing tests: 3.000 pupils in Thuringia will follow the first and second competition day of the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championship 2023 live in the “ARENA am Rennsteig”. They are present when gold, silver and bronze are being awarded for the mixed relays on the 8th of February 2023 and the when the women fight for the world champion title in the sprint on the 10th of February.
Schools from all parts of Thuringia had applied for the project “Jugend trifft Biathlon” (Youth meets Biathlon). It is being organised and executed by the Thuringian Ski Association (Thüringer Skiverband e.V.) in cooperation with the “Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH”. Pupils from the fifth grade upwards will be picked up with buses from the schools and driven to the “ARENA am Rennsteig”, where they can follow the races up close.
That way, the BMW IBU Biathlon World Championship will not only be followed by longtime fans, but also by new target groups. The project wants to contribute to arouse enthusiasm for biathlon and all winter sports. In best case, the pupils do not only come to visit further events in Oberhof, but also find their way into the amateur or even professional sports.
The sports development project, which is funded by the Free State of Thuringia, premiered during the German Championships at the beginning of September 2022. The 3.000 present pupils made a very good atmosphere during the first competition day in the ARENA.
Training on the most modern sports facilities and getting finishing touches for the upcoming season: That are the promises of the International Youth Camp in Oberhof. For one week, young athletes complete numerous training sessions on the modernised sports facilities of the administration union “Thüringer Wintersportzentrum Oberhof” (TWZ) and get to look behind the scenes of the World Championship location of the 2022/2023 season.
This year, the International Youth Camp made stop in Oberhof from the 24th to the 30th of October 2022. The organisers could welcome 90 junior athletes in total and their coaches from 20 nations – Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea and the UK.
Under the lead of Zibi Szlufcik, DSV head coach for junior athletes in Biathlon, they trained together with experienced DSV and TSV coaches, like Denny Andritzke, Norbert Baier, Sven Fischer, Gina Gautier, Florian Graf, Tim Meyer and Franziska Werl. Through the collective training, new training impulses were set and the exchange among the athletes encouraged.
The idea of an annual International Youth Camp was born in the course of the application for the 2021 World Championships and was also integrated into the successful application for the 2023 World Championships. It took place for the first time in 2017. After two cancellations due to Covid 19, it could take place again in 2022.
The Youth Camp was organised by the “Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH” in cooperation with the German Skiing Association DSV (Deutschen Skiverband e.V.) as well as the Thuringian Skiing Association TSV (Thüringer Skiverband e.V.). It was funded by the Free State of Thuringia, the International Biathlon Union and the International Olympic Committee.