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Russian sports minister slams Russia’s Biathlon Union as hapless after poor performance

March 14, 15:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
At the 2016 world championships in Norway, 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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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

© Sergei Savostianov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. The work of the heads and coaches of Russia’s national biathlon team that has failed to win any medals at the World Championship in Norway’s Holmenkollen causes great disappointment, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Monday.

"A conclusion has to be made that there is some hopelessness of the heads and the coaching staff in this kind of sports," Mutko said.

"Actually absolute hopelessness. I’m not even talking about athletes. This causes alarm," the Russian sports minister said.

Coaches of insufficient qualification may be working in the Russian national youth and junior teams and the lack of sufficient skills does not allow them to qualitatively prepare biathlon racers for the level of the main national team, Mutko said.

"We were assured that the main biathlon event was still ahead and that we should not pay attention to the national team’s performance at World Cup tournaments," the Russian sports minister said.

"We were assured that the World Championship was the main event where the national team would demonstrate its best. However, this has not happened. I believe we should not make a drama or a tragedy out of this as biathlon in Russia won’t disappear because of that. The state, the government and the regions are developing biathlon," Mutko said.

"We have the potential. We see that we have splendid results at the level of the national youth and junior teams. But, apparently, we don’t yet possess the technology of bringing these biathletes to the required level and coaching them during the season in the main team. Possibly, the coaches lack the sufficient qualification," the Russian sports minister said.

The Russian national male and female biathlon teams won no medals at the World Championship in Norway’s Holmenkollen, the worst result in their history.

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