National Biathlon Championships are set to begin

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Fort Kent, Me (WAGM) - The biathlon season wraps up this week in Fort Kent. The US National and Nor Am Championships will be held at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center. This was a training day and the competition begins on Thursday afternoon. Carl Theriault is organizing the event and says most of the US National Team will be on hand to compete

(Carl Theriault):"What we tried to push for this year was to make sure we had the date sequence right so that we could have our Jr team and the master athletes with the US team at the same venue at the same time. It is a great opportunity for the Junior athletes to ski against the team that has been in Europe all year and to measure up against the best in the World."

(Jonne Kahkonen):" That is what we wanted to create this bigger event for our Domestic Athletes with the Juniors and Development athletes to see the best ones in action."

Over 60 competitors from the US and Canada will be competing in the event, this is the first major biathlon championship held in Fort Kent since a World Cup event four years ago

Theriault:"This is the first time since the World Cup. We wanted to do it, it had been to long and last year it was in California and they had some snow issues this year we don't have snow issues. We are in perfect shape."

The US World Cup team is coming off a tremendous second half of the season.

Kahkonen:" It is great to see a bunch of the Athletes not just one or two doing extremely well and pick it up for the second half of the season."

The only World Cup team member not making the trip is Susan Dunklee who is battling an illness. Kahkonen says it has been a long season for the USBA team members and he says even though there could be a letdown he thinks their competitive juices will flow and they will be ready to put on another great performance

Kahkonen:" I think it is always a challenge to be realistic and at the same time they are excited once they get going and there is no doubt everyone will give their hardest."

The three day event begins on Thursday afternoon and wraps up Saturday morning

Theriault:" Starting tomorrow afternoon at 2pm is our sprint competition. Friday morning is the sprint competition which is a continuation of the sprint competition. That starts at 10 am. Saturday morning is the most exciting it is the Mass Start that will begin at 9 am in the morning early Saturday morning."