SOCHI, March 10, /ITAR-TASS/. Canadian Paralympic biathlete Mark Arendz, who raced to the silver medal on Saturday in Men’s 7.5 km Standing at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Russia’s Sochi, said he dedicated the achievement to his family.
The biathlete, who celebrated his 24th birthday only four days before the opening of the Winter Paralympics in Sochi on March 7, took up skiing at the age five and began competing in 2003 with the use of a ski prosthetic and racing in able-bodied competitions only.
“I dedicate the medal to my family - my mom, my dad and my brother,” he told an Itar-Tass correspondent after the medal awarding ceremony at the Medal Plaza in Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Sunday evening.
“And my brother was actually the kind of one, who actually pushed me into trying to do this,” he said.
“Sport is everything about my life,” Arendz said. “Everything I do is around the sport so I hope I will continue for a long time.”
Speaking about the race on Saturday, when he finished second after Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtcev and ahead of another Russian biathlete Azat Karachurin, Arendz said it was a close race, which was decided only by within a matter of seconds.
“It was a close race. There was little I could’ve changed to make it a better race. I have never seen such a tight race and the top ten was in 30 seconds,” he said.
“I did my best and I came away with the silver so I am extremely happy with that,” Arendz said.
Speaking about the organization of the Paralympic Games in Sochi, the Canadian athlete said everything was organized at the decent level.
“The Games have been fantastic show so far. Everything is run smoothly. It is well organized,” he said.
“The guys up at the Nordic Center have been doing a great job in maintaining the snow even though under the tough conditions. I am really happy and very pleased with that,” the athlete said.
Arendz, 24, first participated in the Winter Paralympic Games in 2010 in Canada’s Vancouver, where he competed in Biathlon 3 km Pursuit, Standing, and 12.5 km, Standing, finishing in the 7th and 16th places respectively.
At the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver he also performed in the cross country skiing, particularly in 1 x 4 + 2 x 5 km Relay Open (7th place), 1 km Sprint Classic Style, Standing (9th place) and in 10km Classic Style, Standing (12th place).
An accident was the cause of his impairment. He became interested in biathlon after watching the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.