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Olympic venue impresses Sweden's biathlon head coach

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-01-29 14:00
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Athletes participate in a trial competition at the National Biathlon Center, a competition venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, in February. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

STOCKHOLM -- The Olympic biathlon center in Zhangjiakou made a great impression on the head coach of the Swedish biathlon squad, who after the first training session on Friday described it as "fantastically good".

The team, including 11 athletes, arrived in China on Thursday and jumped at the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre.

"It really is a very cool stadium and the courses are very nice. I think the whole area is very good and it was a positive first day," head coach Johannes Lukas told Swedish Television.

He also said that he had expected to see a tough course and that he was not let down. "It does not have those very long downhill sections where you can recover."

In previous competitions this season, many of the team members have been very strong in the tracks, and Lukas hoped that the topography of the Olympic course would give them an advantage.

"It is an interesting and harmonious course that I believe suits us very well," he said.

However, the first day of on-site training did not give the athletes a taste of what the conditions can be like on the shooting range.

"We have spoken a lot with everyone who has already been here for a while and people from the International Biathlon Union who have worked with the shooting range for several weeks have confirmed there is usually more wind," Lukas told Swedish Television.

"I think it's good that we are here early and have plenty of time, so we get used to that it may be cold and windy," he added.

The first biathlon competition, the mixed relay, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb 5.

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