Daniel Gilfillan of the Comox Valley came down with a case of food poisoning during the Youth and Junior World Biathlon Championships March 4-12 in Kazakhstan. Nevertheless, the 18-year-old finished 11th in one of his races against nearly 100 of the top biathletes in the world.
“Despite the wind, lack of energy and brutal course, I was able to put together a good race, shooting 18/20 in 10m/s wind,” Gilfillan said by email.
He competed in two relays and three individual events. He said the rest of his races were decent, finishing around the mid-30s.
“The course was physically punishing, and the wind was extreme, making shooting accurately very difficult. The competition was very stiff with almost 40 nations bringing athletes,” Gilfillan said.
“It was very tough for Canada as we travel the furthest out of any country, accounting for 14 hours of jet-lag from my home in Whistler.”
The Canadian team started with a pre-camp in Germany a week before the competition, training in some beautiful venues in Germany and Austria.
“It was a super cool experience to explore around Germany, Austria and Kazakhstan to see the cultural and social differences.”
This was Gilfillan’s second trip to the world championships. Solider Hollow, Utah hosted last year’s event.
Teammate Gavin Johnston of Campbell River, in his first season of international racing, concurs that Kazakhstan was “really cool.”
“It was quite the adventure to get here as we went more than half-way around the world,” Johnston said during the event. “The competition here is very tough and at a very high level. In my category, there are about a dozen athletes who had IBU (International Biathlon Union) World Cup starts this year, so for me it is a huge step up in competition.”
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