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All of a sudden the season’s big goal, the World Championships, is over. It has been two very nice weeks filled with a good atmosphere in the Belgian team, action filled and hard competitions, the best family encouraging me all the way, and an incredible ambience alongside the tracks. The German audience sure knows how to cheer us athletes on!

Week two of the World Championships was sportively not a good experience for me. In the individual race I immediately felt that my body didn't respond as I wanted and that hit me as soon as I started up the Birxsteig, the biggest hill on the course, for the first time. But, knowing that the shooting has a big impact on the result, I tried to push the pain aside and focus on hitting targets instead. Unfortunately, I missed three on the first standing shooting and knew that my hopes of a good result were over. I was very shaky in the standing position, something I get quite often when my body is not feeling so well physically. So, the race ended up being a fight with my thoughts the last three laps as I have never been so close to not finishing a race as I was at this moment. However, I have never quit a race before and I was too stubborn to do it at the World Championships, so I just persevered to the finish line. I didn’t have long to be down about the result afterwards, because the next day I was racing again in the single mixed relay.

Single mix is a very speedy discipline, both at the track and at the shooting range. I absolutely felt all of this speed, especially with all of the audience creating an atmosphere that ensured the adrenaline level was at the maximum. Luckily my body felt a bit better than the day before, and at the shooting range I only used three spare shots. Quite happy with that as I really focused on increasing my shooting speed. Because the laps are so short in the single mixed relay, shooting time makes up a bigger part of the total race time and it really pushes you to go into attack mode on the range. I managed to clean my last shooting in 20 seconds, which is one of my fastest ever in competition – it’s a really good feeling to finally do so in a race and not only in training. My teammate, Florent, was not so lucky at the shooting range and had to visit the penalty loop, and in the end we finished in 17th position. 

And with that it was time to bid adieu to Oberhof as the World Championships were over for me. Of course I am disappointed that I could not qualify for the mass start, but thinking of how my shape was during corona only a few weeks earlier, I can’t be too hard on myself. I now need to refocus, give my body a bit more time to recover, and get ready for the last trimester of the World Cup season!

Photo: Kevin Voigt