Saskatchewan biathlete representing Canada at junior world championships in Austria

Saskatchewan biathlete Logan Pletz, 20, will represent Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Obertilliach, Austria beginning on Saturday. Credit / Team Sask

A Saskatchewan biathlete has been chosen to represent Team Canada at the Biathlon Youth/Junior World Championships taking place in Obertilliach, Austria from Feb. 27 to March 6.

Regina’s Logan Pletz, 20, and member of Qu’Appelle Valley Nordic Club, trains as a member of Biathlon Canada’s Senior National Development Team in Whistler, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Logan Pletz getting set to represent Canada' Logan Pletz getting set to represent Canada
Logan Pletz getting set to represent Canada – Jan 23, 2019

“Qualifying for this competition has definitely validated all the work I’ve put in over the past couple of years,” Pletz said.

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“I think that competing at this level will have a positive effect on my experience overall as an athlete as well as having the chance to prove myself against the best of my age group in the world.”

Pletz has fared well in a number of provincial and national competitions over the years and eventually earned himself a spot on the Biathlon Canada’s U20 team.

Read more: Biathlon World Cup sprint races cancelled in Canmore due to frigid temperatures

He first represented Canada at the 2019 Youth/Junior World Championships in Orsblie, Slovakia where he had a 19th place finish in the sprint race.

From there, Pletz joined the Senior National Development Team for the 2019-20 and current season and won three out of four trial races with his cohorts in Whistler. Trial races were also held in Canmore, Alta.

Based on all of his trial races, Pletz earned one of four spots to compete in Austria.

“Representing Canada for me personally is always an honour. However, with the past year we have had as a nation and community, I feel very privileged to be able to do the sport that I love,” Pletz said.

“I am hoping that by competing at World Juniors this year, I can bring entertainment and excitement to the people still stuck at home.”

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Read more: Bitter cold throws a wrench in World Cup biathlon in Canmore

Pletz was supposed to compete at the international biathlon cup last year,  but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His expectations heading into the Junior World Championships in Austria, which is hosting the best athletes in the sport aged 20-22, remain wide open.

“Having been away from international competition last year, I don’t have a great reference of where I will stack up,” Pletz said.

“However, I am feeling strong going into the first races, and when I perform at the level I expect of myself, it means more to me personally and developmentally than any number on a results sheet.”

Read more: West Kelowna hosts top provincial biathletes in championship

Doug Sylvester, Saskatchewan’s biathlon program head coach, said seeing this type of success from someone in the province and someone he’s coached is pretty special.

“It’s a pretty satisfying thing to see that the structures we have in place in Saskatchewan are top-notch,” Sylvester said. “It’s nice to see that athletes can thrive when they do get to the national and international level.

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“Biathlon in Saskatchewan is doing quite well, especially compared with some of the other provinces. We can duke it out with Alberta, B.C. and Quebec, which are the main powerhouses, on a regular basis.”

Pletz will be participating in a 15-kilometre individual race, a 10-kilometre sprint race and a relay with his three teammates.

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