Club news - 10/3/9
Focus on: Cairngorm Biathlon & Nordic Ski Club

Scotland really has seized the initiative when developing young cross-country skiing talent. Hunlty Nordic Ski Club was ten years old last year, and some of its skiers are now racing at the highest levels. The Cairngorm Biathlon & Nordic Ski Club is not yet 5 years old, but its skiers are hot on their heels, and getting to a level where they too will be challenging for places in the national teams. The club is also a real community based initiative, bringing in talent from the area around Aviemore in the Cairngorms.

Cairngorm Biathlon & Nordic Ski Club goes from strength to strength. The Club was founded by Eurosport commentator and former Olympic biathlete, Mike Dixon, and is based at Glemore Lodge near Aviemore. It is one of the country's biggest active clubs with more than seventy members, including a large number of juniors from the age of 10 and upwards. It is one of only two civilian biathlon clubs in the UK, and the only one introducing this exciting and challenging sport to young people.

The following press release follows on from their success in the British Champs -

The GB Biathlon & Nordic Ski Championships took place over two weeks at the end of January in Obertilliach, Austria. CBNSC was represented by a small team of four skier. During the past year the boys have been focussed on training for Biathlon, an exciting and physically demanding sport involving both cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. In Austria they were entered for the Boys Races at the GB Nordic Ski Championships in order to gain invaluable ski racing experience and also because of the unavailability of a suitable event at the GB Biathlon Championships at present.

The team, comprising of Calum Irvine, Scott Dixon, Craig Thomson and Antonio Vastano (Toto) enjoyed a hugely successful week, not only producing outstanding results in view of their limited training time but also benefiting from a thoroughly rewarding and invaluable experience during their stay. Their results in the races were remarkable, taking 1st, 2nd,4th and 6th places in the Classic technique Race on the Saturday and sending out a very clear message that CBNSC remains committed to Junior Nordic Ski racing. Other skiers in the race were all members of the GB Nordic Junior Development Squad. On the following Sunday the boys again achieved excellent results, in spite of having to cope with some unexpected challenges along the way. Calum Irvine again had a great race to come second, 18 seconds behind race winner Ruaraidh Newman of the GB Junior Nordic Development Squad, whilst Scott Dixon was pulled out of the race by officials after developing a very severe nose bleed for which he was treated and very well looked after by First Aid Staff. Perhaps the most remarkable result in this race was that of Toto (Antonio) Vastano who raced to 7th place, skiing with a hand injured in an accident the night before and later X-Rayed to reveal a fractured bone! Craig Thomson finished in 10th place after needing to change ski boots half-way through the race.

All in all a wonderful experience and some remarkable results for the boys of CBNSC who have returned with a very clear determination to achieve even more in future events at home and abroad. The boys are also all members of the Highland Biathlon Squad, a specialist biathlon training group run by CBNSC.

It's great to see the Cairngorm skiers and coaches doing so well, and hopefully their success can be replicated elsewhere in the UK - all it takes is a few coaches who want to make it happen.