Scarborough’s Sofie Hopkins is celebrating after being called up to the British biathlon squad for the International Biathlon Union Junior World Cup in Switzerland.
Hopkins will fly out to Switzerland for the event in Lenzerheide on Sunday December 11 after impressing in qualifying while in Norway.
A delighted Hopkins said: “I was training in Rauma Finland in October when I was told I could have a try-out for junior British biathlon selection in Beitostolen, Norway.
“I’m back from Norway and it’s great news both I and my close friend Holly Rees-lay qualified for the GBR Junior Team and will competing in two weeks on December 11 at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Junior World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
“Even though I was the youngest junior British champion at just turned 16.
“Biathlon is unusual as juniors start at 19 to 20 years old which I now am.
“It’s probably because biathlon is the most physical demanding sport, skiing 20km up mountains at altitude with an 8lb rifle on your back while fighting the effects of deadly hypoxia is not for the faint-hearted.
“I find controlling my breathing and heart-rate before shooting the hardest, trying to hit five 45mm and 110mm targets at 50 metres while your heart’s pounding out your chest and knowing you will have a extra 150 metre penalty loop for every miss increases the psychological pressure in competition.”
Hopkins has enjoyed a hugely successful biathlon career to date, and is hoping to extend that run when she flies out to Switzerland.
She isn’t placing too much expectation on her shoulders though, and can’t wait to experience the sport at the highest level.
She added: “I’ve had three golds, two silver and one bronze at British Junior level, but also had disqualification, did not finish, 16 misses which equates to an extra 2.4km and even broke my rifle.
“Biathlon is an exciting sport with great highs and lows, even if I come last in Switzerland the experience of competition at international level will be so valuable.”