According to Tapio Pukki, Executive Director of the Finnish Biathlon Federation, a partner committed to long-term cooperation is of the utmost importance, as resources in Finland are more scarce compared to biathlon powerhouse countries.
The Biathlon Federation receives state support through the Finnish Olympic Committee. According to Pukki, the support of companies is also necessary to be able to run the operations in its current scope.
A partner committed to long-term cooperation is of the utmost importance, states Tapio Pukki, Executive Director of the Finnish Biathlon Federation.
– We have a clear goal to succeed in elite sports. In addition, we are able to offer trial places for young biathletes.
– A good partner understands the importance of persistence. In competitive sports, results are not achieved in one year, but achieving goals requires years of work, says Pukki.
Finland aims again for a medal in biathlon
Finland has a long tradition of international success in biathlon. With the younger members of the national team, the focus is now on good positions in the prestigious competitions of the coming years.
– Our goal is to return to the medal base in the prestigious competitions. To achieve that, we are building the coaching of athletes in the long term, says Tapio Pukki.
According to Pukki, the goal is progressed step by step. In the competition season 2023–2024 the Finnish team, which consists of five female and five male athletes, travels around the world cup competitions.
– Success in the value competition does not come by chance, but success in the World Cup is needed to ground it.
Success in the value competition needs success in the World Cup.
The Terrafame group, made up of challengers, is also at the top of the international representative positions. In addition, Finland has a group of young people in biathlon, whose main goal is international competitions for young athletes
Young biathletes on the way to success
Last season, Finland returned to the top ten in biathlon in the comparison between countries. At the same time, we saw some promising individual performances in the World Cup.
– The team spirit in the national team is very positive. Everyone tries to do things as well as they can until the end, Pukki states.
Athletes who have achieved international success in youth leagues have joined the national team, from whom, according to Tapio Pukki, you can start expecting success in adult competitions as well. Newcomers Noora Kaisa Keränen and Otto Invenius have already reached points in the World Cup.
Arttu Heikkinen, who won the youth world championship in 2022, is also among the future promises in biathlon. 23-year-old Otto Invenius won silver in the sprint race in the under-22 category at the 2022 World Youth Championships.
– Succeeding in competitions increases self-confidence. If you made it to the world's best in your own age group, why can't you do the same in the adult league, Otto Invenius thinks.
The medal position requires success in shooting
In the current competition season, Otto Invenius is aiming for a fair increase in his own level and placements in the top six in the World Cup.
– On the top day, it is possible for me to get into the top three. However, it requires the tables to fall during shooting.
Long-term business partnership enables the necessary resources both during the training and competition season.
Getting to the medal positions is also one of Invenius' goals in the World Championships and Olympics in the coming years. He estimates that there is still a lot of potential in improving skiing speed.
– It requires long-term and smart work. Training can be hard, but you have to know your own limits.
The development of shooting has been more challenging for Invenius.
– Fortunately, that side also develops when there is a good team around. The routines of the shooting range should be in place with practice.
The best result usually comes when the performance flows automatically without unnecessary thinking.
Getting ready for the next Olympics
In 2024, the Biathlon World Cup will be held in Nové Město, Czech Republic, and the following year in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Biathlon at the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics will be contested in Anterselva.
– The World Championships in Switzerland and the Olympic Games in Italy require special arrangements because the competition venue is located higher than usual in both locations. It must be taken into account during preparations, Tapio Pukki says.
Partners enables the professional coaches and training camps.
Otto Invenius continues that a long-term business partnership brings security to the athlete and enables the necessary resources both during the training and competition season.
– Without partners, we wouldn't be able to go to training camps, and we wouldn't have professional coaches to support us.