Latvian biathletes gear up for another season

The end of November sees Latvian biathletes join the run-up to the winter sports season, competing in the first stage of the World Cup in Östersund, Sweden. 

The biathlon elite season will start on November 25 and will last until spring, always providing entertainment for winter sports fans, who will also have the opportunity to watch the competition live on LTV7 and

Baiba Bendika is preparing for her first starts of the season, although she gave birth to a son only at the end of September. Bendika resumed training three weeks after giving birth and prepared for the season at the national training camp in Sweden in November. In a conversation with Latvian Radio, coach Ilmārs Bricis said that Baiba is training according to plan, but it would be unrealistic to expact a top ten place in the World Cup for the 32-year-old just yet.

"There is some readiness, but not 100 percent," Bricis assessed the physical fitness of 32-year-old Bendika. "Baiba has trained well, but, of course, not enough to fight for the highest places." Bendika's full return to the World Cup circuit is planned after the New Year in Oberhof, Germany. 

The leader of the men's national team, Andrejs Rastorgujevs, finished last year's World Cup season in 28th place. After a purposeful preparation phase, Andrejs is refraining from predictions for this season.

before the first starts of the season, but is determined to share his impressions after the starts in Östersund. 

Bricis sees that Renars Birkentāls' work done in the off-season could help him get closer to the leaders and reach the top 40, which would allow him to accumulate points for the World Cup. Similarly, for Sandra and Sanita Buliņa, competing with the world's elite will mark the level they have reached. 

Speaking to Latvian Radio, Birkentāls said that he feels ready to start in the World Cup and feels he will get stronger as the season unfolds.

"I'm looking forward to the competition so I can show what I've been doing lately," said Birkentāls. "It's not worth running with your head against the wall and trying to be the best now. Like every year, I just try to increase my conditioning during the season, so that at the end of the season I will be better than at the beginning of the season. In recent years, that trend has come together to a certain extent, and this year I will try the same."

To follow all the action this year, keep an eye on the winter sports section of the main LSM Latvian language portal which will be carrying extensive live coverage throughout the season.

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