Biathlon takes off

Last updated 05:00 31/08/2012

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More than 40 students took to Snow Farm, near Wanaka, yesterday for a social, but competitive take on the cross-country skiing and biathlon event on day five of the Uni Snow Games.

While up to 100 students have been hitting the slopes at Cardrona and Treble Cone this week for the 2012 Uni Snow Games, yesterday's competition took a different tack - and it was one that proved hugely popular with the competitors.

University Sport New Zealand executive director Peter McDonald said it was fantastic to see students enjoying the Snow Farm-based events.

“It's great that we have the opportunity to offer events like cross-country and biathlon,” he said. “It's all new to a lot of the competitors, so while it's a fairly social day on the Uni Snow Games schedule, it's also one of the most entertaining days and it's awesome to see so many people giving the events a go and really enjoying it too.

"The weather has been stunning all week - we've been really lucky - and the competition has been fantastic.”

Victoria University student Paul Jensen comfortably won the cross-country, with his experience putting him lengths ahead of his competitors.

After being introduced to cross-country skiing while on a school exchange to Norway, it's now a sport he loves. “It's a really fun event, the course wasn't too challenging, there was no wind, which made it much easier and the conditions are superb, so it's been great,” he said.

Former World University Winter Tournament skier Caitlin Feasey, of Canterbury University, who is better known for her feats in downhill racing, was the fastest of the females.

The biathlon - new on the Uni Snow Games schedule and run as a team event - proved hugely popular, with the event combining cross-country skiing and laser shooting. McDonald said the popularity of the biathlon suggested it had the potential to become one of the highlights of the Uni Snow Games in years to come.

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- The Southland Times

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