Pressure on at selection trials

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CANMORE – Megan Bankes had “good skiing and excellent shooting,” while Christian Gow had “excellent shooting and good skiing,” as each won their respective races on day one of the world cup biathlon selection trials.

The annual race week (Nov. 6, 8-9) at the Canmore Nordic Centre determines which biathletes will make the Canadian national team competing in the world cup and IBU cup this season.

With a watchful eye on the racers, Biathlon Canada head coach Matthias Ahrens said Tuesday’s Sprint Competition was a mixed bag of good results and mediocre ones, but that is to be expected.

“It’s the most stressful race they do all year because it determines what is happening for their season,” Ahrens said. “So there’s a lot of nervousness and stress … it’s good to get the first one out of the way and regroup.”

Ahrens added that the first top five finishes were pretty predictable, but is glad with the results from younger biathletes including Quebec’s Jules Burnotte’s third place finish in the men’s sprint.

Burnotte placed behind Scott Gow, but ahead of Olympians Nathan Smith and Brendan Green.

“(Burnotte) really skied well. There’s been a good improvement from previous years … now we’ll see if he can ski well like that in the next few races,” Ahrens said.

Rounding out the top five in the woman’s sprint were Megan Tandy, Rosanna Crawford, Emma Lunder and Nadia Moser placing second to fifth, respectively.

After Thursday and Friday’s races, which start at 10 a.m. and are open to the public, Biathlon Canada will make its selection announcement in the following days.

Ahrens is hoping for “no headaches” when picking the team.

“I’m hoping for good, fair conditions so they can perform at their best and they stay healthy for the rest of the week … and show what they practiced all summer for,” he said.

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Jordan Small