The IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 Pokljuka will start in less than a week and it will be the biggest winter sporting event in Slovenia to this date. Janez Ožbolt from the Ski Association of Slovenia pointed out during the press conference before the World Championships that Slovenian biathletes have set their eyes on the medals.
“In men’s team our goal is a medal, two rankings among the top 15, and two among the top 30, while in women’s team we aim at one ranking among the top 25 and at least two among top 40. In at least one relay race we would like to be among the top eight teams. We are aware that a medal is quite a high goal, but if we don’t set it, we will not achieve it,” said Ožbolt.
Four athletes in men’s category and three in women’s have the right to represent Slovenia at World Championships.
Jakov Fak is the one to watch in Slovenian team with the best chance of winning a medal at home venue. Slovenian team has been hit hard with coronavirus infections. Most of the men’s team recovered from Covid-19 last year, on the other hand female part of the national team got infected in January and thus missed an important training just before the World Championships in Pokljuka.
The 33-year-old Fak won four World Championships medals and an Olympic silver since he started competing for Slovenia roughly ten years ago. He is healthy and ready for the challenges. He is aware of the pressure that lies on his shoulders, but intends to remain calm and focused, “My wish is a medal and I believe I can win it, it is the goal in every race.”
The Croatian-born biathlete finished third in the last World Cup mass start event in Anterselva, Italy, before the World Championships and this was his first podium position after three years. This filled him with fresh impetus for the upcoming World Championships, he admitted today and added that this season he has been a relatively reliable shooter, but he will have to improve his skiing performance.
The second IBU World Championships Biathlon in Pokljuka (the first one was in 2001) will be held between 9th and 21st February. Competitors will fight for the medals in 12 races over nine competition days.