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Opinion: Psychological pressure crushed Russian biathletes at world championships

March 14, 5:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s biathletes demonstrated the poorest ever performance at world tournaments with no medals won in 11 races at the 2016 biathlon world championship
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Anton Shipulin

Anton Shipulin

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. The failure of the Russian biathlon team at the 2016 world championships in Norways’ Holmenkollen can be attributed to poor physical fitness and the burden of responsibility that crushed the Russian biathletes, Pavel Rostovtsev, a three-times world champion, told TASS on Sunday.

Russia’s biathletes demonstrated the poorest ever performance at world tournaments with no medals won in 11 races at the 2016 biathlon world championship.

"The team has reached the tournament not in its best condition," Rostovtsev said. "All good results have been demonstrated by Russian biathletes elsewhere but not at the world championships. The coaches have failed to have biathletes reach their best condition by the key competition of the season."

"But we cannot put all the blame on the coaches. Part of it rests on the athlete too," he said. "Another factor that might have impacted the performance is psychology. Our athletes have failed to cope with the burden of responsibility, with the burden of ill luck. These things have crushed out team psychologically."

The previous anti-record was set at the championships in Germany’s Ruhpolding in 2012, when Russian biathletes won only two bronze medals. In 2013, Russian biathletes won one bronze and one silver medals at the world championships in Nove Mesto.

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