IBU World Championships Biathlon kicks off today in Hochfilzen, Austria. Approximately 326 athletes from 37 countries and 1,50,00 fans will witness the 11-day mega event.

First held in 1958, the Biathlon World Championships have come a long way in the number of events and participants growing every year.

More than 150,000 fans are expected to attend the competitions over the course of the IBU World Championships.

“The Austrian Ski Federation and all their partners have put in great effort, organizing a great IBU World Championships for everyone involved. The extensive preparations are finally coming to an end. The entire organizing team is looking forward to get this thing going,” said the ASWM CEOs, Prof. Peter Schröcksnadel and Dr. Klaus Leistner in a press release.

The stadium and tracks will witness 326 athletes (171 men, 155 women) from 37 national federations, who will battle for the medals. Chief of Competition, Wolfgang Wörgötter commented a week ago, “The basic grooming has been completed. The course with 30 to 50cm of snow throughout needs only a few finishing touches.”

2016 Mixed Relay results—Gold: France; Silver: Germany; Bronze: Norway
2016 Mixed Relay results—Gold: France; Silver: Germany; Bronze: Norway

All of the current stars of biathlon including the Yellow Bibs Martin Fourcade and Laura Dahlmeier, Czech star Gabriela Koukalová, the powerful German, Norwegian and Russian teams plus of course the home team Austria with Lisa Theresa Hauser and Hochfilzen native Dominik Landertinger have been counting down the days and ready for the 2017 IBU World Championships.

The IBU World Championships are the highlight of every non-Olympic year; the one set of competitions that most biathletes make their number one goal. Winning an IBU World Championships medal can be a career-fulfilling achievement for many athletes. For some very special athletes like Ole Einar Björndalen or Martin Fourcade, WCH medals add ever-more substance to their legendary careers.

Last year, Fourcade, Björndalen, Laura Dahlmeier, and Marie Dorin Habert scooped up the most medals last year in Oslo. Dorin Habert won six, Fourcade five with Björndalen and Dahlmeier each claiming four. Now, everyone is at zero for 2017; the new count begins at Hochfilzen 2017 with the 9th February mixed relay.

Information and images courtesy the news and press releases on the Biathlon World Championships website.

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