The 6th edition of IBU Cup 2016/2017 biathlon season took place in Osrblie, Slovakia. I had a chance to attend the Saturday’s pursuit competitions. In women’s pursuit, the respectable home crowd cheered for Terezia Poliakova (the only Slovak biathlete in the line up) as well as the strong German and Russian squads. Daria Virolaynen of Russia won the race with two penalty loops. Czech biathlete Lea Johanidesova finished second with clean shooting. Denise Herrmann of Germany secured the third place despite five penalty loops. In men’s competiton, all eyes were on Norwegian biathlete Tarjei Boe, who chose Osrblie as his first venue of 2016/2017 season, as well as Matej Kazar, the only Slovak in the line up. Boe’s teammate Kristoffer Skjelvik won the race with clean shooting. Boe finished second, edged out Timur Makhambetov of Russia on the finish line. Kazar improved his starting position by four ranks and finished on 6th place.
It was a beautiful winter morning on December 29th 2016 and I set out to shoot 1st round of Viessmann Biathlon Cup in Osrblie. More than 80 biathletes in 11 categories competed in pursuit. Although the weather was beautiful, the shooting conditions were difficult because the wind was constantly changing. My main focus was on Miroslav Pavlak (u19, Member of Stars For Stars), Veronika Machyniakova (u21) as well as members of Slovak biathlon team Jana Gerekova, Tomas Hasilla and Matej Kazar.
Just before the Christmas I had the opportunity to attend and photograph three races (women’s sprint on Friday and both men’s and women’s pursuit on Saturday) of the third edition of 2016/2017 IBU Biathlon World Cup in Nove Mesto Na Morave. Vysocina Arena became the true heart of biathlon world with the total attendance of more than 130 000 spectators. Martin Fourcade dominated all three races among men. Women’s races saw three different winners – Tatiana Akimova (sprint), Anais Chevalier (pursuit) and Gabriela Koukalova (mass start).
On November 16th I attended the Tennis Player of the Year 2016 in Slovakia Gala, held in National Tennis Center in Bratislava. The main star of the evening was Dominika Cibulkova, winner of three WTA Tour titles, as well as the year-end WTA Finals in Singapore. She claimed both Best Female Tennis Player of the Year and Most Popular Tennis Player of the Year awards. Tereza Mihalikova and Lukas Klein were named Best Junior Players of the Year. Romana Cisovska was chosen as the Best Upcoming Player of the Year. Women’s Fed Cup Team was chosen as the Best Tennis Team of the Year, despite the fact it failed to advance from the Fed Cup World Gropu 2. Coach Lubomir Kurhajec was inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame in Slovakia. Martin Klizan, who was selected as the Best Male Tennis Player of the Year 2016 did not attend the ceremony.