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Youth have chance to pursue biathlon through Blow Me Down Biathlon Club’s Bears Program

Jakob Hann, left, and Georgia Wiseman get in some practice at the rifle range during a Blow Me Down Biathlon Club’s Bears Program session Saturday afternoon at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook.
Jakob Hann, left, and Georgia Wiseman get in some practice at the rifle range during a Blow Me Down Biathlon Club’s Bears Program session Saturday afternoon at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook. - Submitted

Winter is hibernation time for young bears, but when it comes to biathlon some bears have come out of the den to get the most out of the cold weather and blankets of snow that fall on the west coast of the province.

It’s been relatively quiet when it comes to biathlon on the west coast, but it appears the Blow Me Down Biathlon Club is coming alive with some new faces picking up the sport.

Typically, biathlon is a sport embraced in this province by the cadet movement, but civilians are also giving the sport a try and that’s being viewed as great news by club secretary-treasurer Cecilia Thistle.

Thistle said the local biathlon club is active again with a Bears Biathlon program in place for boys and girls in the 8-14 age group and there are already three new young members who have been hitting the trails at Blow Me Down Trails.

Jakob Hann, an 11-year-old Corner Brook native who has dyspraxia, is one of the new biathlon bears.

“I like to shoot and ski,” Jakob said of his interest in joining the Bears.

He was a happy camper on Saturday when he got to test his marksmanship on the range at Blow Me Down Trails.

He was shooting at plastic pop bottles full of soda water and food colouring and was successful in hitting his targets most of the time.

“When I hit the bottles the club soda and food colouring sprayed out everywhere,” he said.

He looks forward to hitting the trails every Saturday from 1-2:30 p.m. with his fellow Bears. He was motivated to try the sport because his big brother, Lucas Hann, is heavily involved in biathlon and he hopes to be as good as his brother with a lot of practice.

“I feel good. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.

The Bears Biathlon program entails three levels of skillset. The Black Bears program is the introductory level to the sport and gives participants an opportunity to use a Daisy air rifle and the proper way to use the sights, and the focus is on playing games for fun.

The other two levels, the Grizzly and Polar Bear, will be the next step for young biathletes and they get into a more in-depth program where they learn some of the finer points of the sport to prepare them for the competitive side of the sport if they desire.

Thistle said biathlon is a great way for boys and girls to participate in a fun event that provides them with a chance to go to big competitions if they want to be a competitive athlete or a fun day shooting and skiing for exercise. Meeting new friends is also a benefit to anybody who joins the Bears without wanting to be competitive.

For more information about the Blow Me Down Biathlon Club’s Bears Program, contact the club at bmdbiathlon@gmail.com.

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