Ballymoney sharp shooter Joanna Brownlow has her sights firmly on retaining her British Biathlon Union crown which she won last season in Germany.
Having trained relentlessly throughout the summer months, Joanna is back on the snow in Serre Chevalier, France for Ex Spartan, which is the Army Inter Unit Semi Final for the Army Alpine and Nordic Ski Championships. It is also one of the two essential qualification competitions for the Army, Inter service and British National Nordic Championships.
Joanna explained the discipline required to comepte in this tough sport. “For Biathlon you need to maintain your training all year round which is pretty demanding. You have to push your body to its complete maximum but then very quickly drop your heart rate back down to a much slower pace in order to ensure you shoot well.
“Summer training consists of lots roller skiing followed by lots of shooting practice. The roller skiing gets your heart rate up and you must practice slowing it down as you come into the range.
“We also run, swim, cycle and take part in gym conditioning sessions. All of this gives you an all round high level of fitness which is what is needed to be a successful Biathlon skier.
Competing in the gruelling sports of cross country skiing and biathlon (cross country skiing and rifle shooting), Joanna got off to a great start in the Women Cross Country 10 km Individual when she finished second. Her team - 4 Armd Med Regt Ladies finished fifth in the Women Cross Country 10 km Team.
The 4x5km Nordic Relay which took place on Friday proved a challenge, with heavy snow hampering the skiers with Joanna and her 4 Armd Med teammates coming in fifth again.
It was much better news for Joanna in the Individual Biathlon when she took second place on the podium ensuring her qualification for the Army and British National Championships which will be held in Ruhpolding, Bavaria in Germany starting on 20th January when she will hopefully replicate last year’s success.
“Of course I wanted to perform well for myself and for my team,” said Joanna. “Winning medals is always a big boost, but the experience of taking part in the sport at this high level and winning is brilliant.”