Getting an invitation to compete at IBU's WORLD CUP is a super big deal for a small biathlon nation like Australia. Only the very best athletes in the world get this opportunity and in fact the personal qualification for World Cup is 150 points, whilst that for World Championships (and the Olympics at Pyeongchang) is 180 points.
We celebrate our athletes since 2000 who've competed at World Cup:
Damon Morton - 2015/16
Alex Almoukov - 2008 - 2015
Mark Raymond - 2002 - 2010
Cameron Morton -2000 to 2006
You'll all know Cameron and Damon who are fixtures at our AUS competitions at Hotham, Mark Raymond who volunteers as an official at our races when he can get time off and Alex has retired, although he coached our NSW branch athletes in December 2019, sharing his tips and techniques. Be sure to say hi to our champions when you see them at the range!
Mark Raymond coaching Amity Marantelli at the 2017 Hotham Camp
Since 2000, there's only been male AUS athletes at World Cup to date, and now...just last week, the IBU invited our first AUS female athlete, in 20 years to compete at World Cup. Jill Colebourn had scored IBU points 137.56, well under the requisite 150 points.
A bit about the IBU and qualification to World Cup and why it's a big deal.
The rules get tougher every year and it's now based on a points system (" IBU Qualification Points") that handicaps races to prevent athletes achieving qualifications by attending less popular race locations (the old system was based on % behind the winners). The qualification system to race at more senior events is now standardised and each athlete is ranked based on a complex algorithm.
Not only must the athlete earn personal qualification points based on an average of 3 best results in a defined time period, but the Nation, too must earn a quota place.
AUS doesn't have sufficient athletes to earn a quota place from Nation Points, which are based on numbers of athletes competing at IBU events and of course, how well they perform. For non-top ranked nations, such as AUS, there are just a few Wild Cards or quota places available - these are limited places for competition at World Cup and World Championships (as well as the Olympics 2018) and offered to those athletes who have personal qualifications but no nation cup rank. Even amongst the non-top ranked nations, these athletes compete for the very limited places at World Cup and World Championships.
Essentially, the qualifications:
World Cup: personal qualification of <150 points AND 8 wild card places for those athletes whose nations not in the top 25 nations
World Championships : personal qualification of <180 points AND 10 wild card places for those athletes whose nations not in the top 30 nations
IBU Cup: One time at < 250 points to continue to compete in the following Trimester
For interest, for the Olympics 2018, the qualification was personal qualification of <180 points with just 5 places for those athletes whose nations were not in the top 22 nations. It seems for the 2022 Olympics, there'll be even fewer places.
There are other qualification pathways such as outstanding single performances or outstanding performance at Junior World Championships.
For the 2018-19 season, the invitation to AUS to compete at World Cup has been offered just to our Women. AUS competes for these limited 8 quota places against Latvia, Moldova, Spain, Britain, Greece and Croatia.