Biathlon: Hope thanks to Julia Tannheimer and Leonhard Pfund – Sport

The World Championships did little to uplift the German biathletes; compared to the previous season, the matter was a step backwards. The self-assessments of the German Ski Association (DSV) could be summarized in something like this. However, it should also be mentioned that there are many things that should bring joy to the hundreds of thousands of biathlon fans in this country, even if the associated moving images were not broadcast to an audience of millions.

Biathlon Germany can look to the future with confidence. The reason is reports from Estonia, where the young ski hunters are currently choosing their best in the world. And for a few days now, two DSV athletes have been among them: the 18-year-old Julia Tannheimer from Ulm in Baden-Württemberg, who could already be seen in Ruhpolding in her 15th place in the World Cup sprint. And Leonhard Pfund from Bad Tölz, who is two years older. Both won the individual medal at the weekend. In Schwabenländle, Tannheimer’s homeland, people probably now say: “doll”. And in Upper Bavaria, where pounds are at home, they will happily shout: “poundy”.

The whole thing can be praised, even if not with all seriousness, so as not to create too much pressure. Still, it’s a shame that the two of them are still needed at the Junior World Championships and aren’t heading from Estonia to Holmenkollen in Norway, where the world’s best biathlon professionals will be hitting the trails again on Thursday. Especially since there have recently been signs of failure and thoughts of leaving in the German senior team. Franziska Preuß, the best DSV woman in the overall World Cup, canceled her start in the individual (Thursday, 2:15 p.m., ZDF and Eurosport) on Wednesday afternoon, once again “due to symptoms of infection”, as if the god of the cold had cursed her. The best DSV man in the classification, Benedikt Doll, for his part let it be known that he no longer considers ski hunting to be as great as it once was, perhaps because every extra pound on the ribs costs time.

Doll will continue until the end of the season, he will also compete in Oslo, the men’s singles start on Friday (2.15 p.m.). Very soon it will be a matter of introducing young people to the World Cup team, or better of integrating them there. Selina Grotian, 19, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen already seems to be succeeding; she will be remembered as a positive figure at the professional world championships in Nove Mesto, with fourth place in her World Cup debut in the individual and bronze in the women’s relay. Johanna Puff, who was also there in Nove Mesto but didn’t run a race, will now be there in Oslo. Puff won two gold medals at the Junior World Championships, a year ago in the relay and mixed relay. The 21-year-old is presented by the DSV on Instagram as the fresh face of biathlon. If she manages to get a similar quota at World Cup starts as in the social media stories, she could also become a sporting face of the German team.

Selina Grotian, Johanna Puff, Julia Tannheimer: three biathletes whose names you should remember. And among the men: Leonhard Pfund, who, according to reports, still needs to improve on the cross-country ski trails, but is already said to be a brilliant shooter. Who knows, maybe a pound doll will be the successor to the pound doll.

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