Sochi Olympic biathlon track 'dangerous'
Sochi (Russia), March 10 (IANS/RIA Novosti):
The biathlon track for next year’s Winter Olympics here has “very dangerous” features that could cause injury and must be modified, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee said Sunday.
The track is hosting its first major test event with a World Cup round that has so far seen many falls on the steep slopes.
“The biathlon track will have to be corrected. You’ve probably seen that there is a place where there is a dangerous turn and some athletes can’t cope with it, they fly off,” Olympic committee head Sergei Zhukov said.
“It needs to be fixed in order not to take the risk of injuries but it can be done quite easily. The track won’t be simplified but it will be made safe.”
Many athletes have said the track is extremely difficult, with some joking that its steep descents would be better suited to alpine skiers.
Four-time World Championship medallist Anton Shipulin suggested he would struggle at the Olympics on the “very uncomfortable” track despite the Russian team having much more practice time than their rivals.
So far here, France’s Martin Fourcade has secured the defence of his overall biathlon World Cup title with victory in Thursday’s individual race and also won Saturday’s sprint.
In the women’s events, Darya Domracheva of Belarus won the individual and Polish veteran Magdalena Gwizdon took a surprise sprint victory.
The men’s and women’s relay races close out the round Sunday.