In West Germany, the world Biathlon Championships are well under way and, once again, the Russians and the East Germans look like winning the laurels.
In West Germany, the world Biathlon Championships are well under way and, once again, the Russians and the East Germans look like winning the laurels. The biathlon, an event which combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting, is becoming increasingly popular ... and not just with the European skiing nations. The "biathlon olympics" are spread over eight days (26 January - 3 February 1979) and great interest is being shown in the under-21 event -- the junior biathlon -- from which the gold medallists of tomorrow will emerge.
SYNOPSIS: This year's venue is Ruhpolding, in Bavaria, where skiers from 26 nations are competing on the specially-constructed, three-quarters-of-a-million dollar (U.S.) course. The British are taking part for the first time and this is John Parnell starting his bid for a medal.
After completing the gruelling 15-kilometre course, the skiers...in this case Czechoslovakia's Josef Skalnik, number 21, and number 20, Italy's Marcello Pradel...take part in a target shoot with the .22 rifles they have carried on their backs.
It is no easy matter for an exhausted and breathless skier to score high marks in a target shooting competition and this year's course was voted on of the hardest in the world by those who took part.
With nearly two million skiers across the globe now entering biathlon events the President of the World Biathlon Federation, Swen Thofelt of Italy, has announced that the federation plans to introduce a women's biathlon event in future games.
The standard was high and Russia's Serje Schuraulijou, number 61, took the bronze.
Australia's Kevin Bailey made his bid for a medal but...as in the adult events...it was the Soviets and the East Germans who swept the board. Between them they took the first seven places in the junior event.
The Russians gained third, fourth, fifth and seventh places...the East Germans first, second and sixth. And here is victor, 1979's junior biathlon champion, Thomas Klinger of East Germany.