Saverio Zini, born in Livigno in 1994, is an athlete of the Courmayeur Army Sports Centre and from this year member of the Italian biathlon World Cup national team. He knows that his first national debut planned for the World Championships in Anterselva 2020 will be an important one for him: it will be the first biathlon world championship in Italy in 13 years.
Different types of focus for many thoughts that run through the various kilometres of the race. It is natural to ask the young biathlete what goes on in his head during a race. Zini replies: "There is no real thought, you don't think of anything in particular. The difficulty in biathlon is being able to control the physical effort, because you experience a range of heartbeats between medium and fast and especially at the time of shooting you have to be able to control your breathing to get a good aim.”
Biathlon is a hard sport, where muscle training must be at least equal to mental training. Without it, you do not go anywhere.
Isn’t 14 years old a little late? "Just because in Italy you can't use the carbine under 14 years of age - points out Zini – before that you are limited to shoot with compressed air
A sport born from the military
The practice never left Scandinavia – whose biathletes are still to this day some of the best in the world - and it moved from hunting to the military. Already in the Middle Age, skiing soldiers from Scandinavia were widely used and appreciated for their tactical use and field mobility, allowing them to win battles against foes many times larger than their numbers. Starting from the military, the first biathlon competition took place in 1767, with border patrols between Sweden and Norway competing on a shooting contest while on ski.
Saverio Zini's biathlon training
Regarding the rifle shooting aspect of biathlon, biathletes refine their shooting skills with stationary shooting at the shooting range.
To work on the combined shooting and cardio effort, biathletes usually bring a treadmill or a stationary bike to the shooting range, in order to elevate the heart rate between shooting sessions.
Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.
Loaded calf raises
Straighten your legs completely pushing against the press and carefully walk your feet down the foot platform until your heels hang off the end.
After you complete all the reps, carefully walk your feet back to the centre of the footplate before bending your knees and lowering the weights.