Para biathlon was introduced to the Paralympic Games in Innsbruck in 1988 for athletes with a physical impairment, and in 1992, athletes with a visual impairment also became eligible to compete.
Para biathlon follows the modified rules of the International Biathlon Union (IBU), and combines two disciplines – cross-country skiing and shooting. It is one of two Para Nordic sports (the other being Para cross-country skiing).
Events consist of a 2.0 or 2.5 km cross-country skiing course, skied three or five times in the free technique for a total race distance between 6-15 km. Between the two stages Para athletes must shoot and hit two targets located at a distance of 10m. Each miss is penalised by an increase in the overall route time. The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which, depending on signal intensity, indicate when the athlete is on target.
At the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, 95 Para athletes from 16 countries competed in 18 different medal events.
For more information on Para biathlon visit International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing.
While Para biathlon is not currently delivered widely in New Zealand, Adaptive Snow Sports Programmes in other Winter Sports are offered at most New Zealand ski resorts, with opportunities to progress to the international level. Register your interest now!