Biathlon Worlds to see some of Canmore's finest 0
By Russ Ullyot
Canmore athletes dominated the selections for the Biathlon World Championships to be held in Ruhpolding, Germany, Feb. 29 to March 11.
Nathan Smith, coming off of three International Biathlon Union Cup sprint victories at the Canmore Nordic Centre last week, was one of the five athletes named to the men's squad.
"If I can have some races like that I can get some good results there, hopefully a top 20," said Smith.
"It's a real honour and I am really looking forward to doing the relay with the other guys," said Smith. He said he was looking for a top 8 finish in Germany - and recently helped Canada to a seventh place in a World Cup relay in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy in late January.
Also named to the team are Brendan Green and Scott Perras, who both train in Canmore, with John-Phillip Le Guellec of Quebec City and Marc Andre Bedard of Valcartier, Que., rounding out the squad.
While each nation is only allowed four competitors in each of the men's and women's disciplines, Bedard was named to the men's team to replace Green, who has a herniated disc and is not expected to recover in time for the event.
Green injured his back during summer strength training, the issue flared up again in December, and then again in his last World Cup race earlier this month in Oslo.
"It is definitely a loss not having Brendan (Green), with him having finished quite a few times in the top 15 - that will hurt," said Canadian head coach Matthias Ahrens. "But now it's up to the other guys to step up and I would say as a team it is looking strong."
The women's squad is comprised of Zina Kocher and Megan Imrie, who both train in Canmore, Yolaine Oddou of Val Belair, Que., and Megan Heinicke who lives in Oberhof, Germany. Narrowly missing out was Canmore's Rosanna Crawford.
'We looked at the whole season, but this weekend's races mainly because we want to see who is in shape right now," said Ahrens. "It was very tight between (Crawford) and Megan Heinicke.
"It was just by a smidge really."
Heinicke had a strong showing at the IBU Cup in Canmore, including a bronze medal in the Feb. 15th 20-kilometre individual race.
"I'm really disappointed I didn't make the world championship team even though I had some phenomenal races, but that is just how it goes sometimes," said Crawford, who will now concentrate on putting in a strong showing at the national championships March 14 to March 18 in Valcartier. "Megan Heinicke and I were so close and I am sure it was a tough decision, but I am so disappointed."
The national team heads for Europe this week.