Bansko is not only one of the most beautiful towns in Bulgaria, but it is one of our most popular winter resorts with numerous sights.
This is a town in which sport is of great honor, so it would be no surprise to say that sports competitions take place all year round in Bansko. The town has hosted a number of world, European and national competitions in disciplines such as skiing and biathlon, cycling and more.
However, it is fair to admit that Bansko is most popular with its good ski runs, where there are skiing competitions, slalom events, alpine skiing events, cross-country skiing and, of course, the great passion of local people–thebiathlon. In Bansko, biathlon is just as much a favorite and practiced sport as skiing. A lot of people here train biathlon, just to keep themselves in good shape or because they have the ambition to become professional racers.
And we have to say that the hard work pays and this is obvious from the fact that from the clubs in Bansko have come out a number of professional competitors such as Ivan Zlatev, Elena Durchova, Daniela Kadeva, Mihail Klecherov, Blagoi Totev and many others. The good instructors and the great technical facilities,as well as the numerous places where this sport can be practiced in the town and its surroundings are one of thereasons there are so many good biathlon athletes.
Who can practice biathlon in the town of Bansko?
Anyone who wants to practice biathlon can enroll in the “Bansko” Sports Club, which is coached by Irina Nikulchina (bronze Olympic medalist in biathlon) and Elena Durchova.
At “Bansko” Ski Club, the biathlon teams are divided into three groups:
● Professional competitors
The trainings are held all year round –during the winter the training takes place on the Banderishka Polyanaski run or on the stadium of the same name, and in summer the trainings are held at the stadium, Banderishka Polyana, on the playgrounds in the town or in the park, on a roll ban or on the Bansko – Shilingarnika road.
The club has one of the best training bases and provides an opportunity for all teens who want to train this sport to do it for free. The club, jointly with Bansko municipality, provide the kids with everything they need, such as ski equipment, rifles, roller skates, lift cards and even transportation to the training base for free.
Among the competitors of the “Bansko” Club are well-known biathletes such as Daniela Kadeva, Dafinka Koeva, Blagoi Todev, Dimitar Parlatov and others. The young hopes of the “Bansko” Club are not only part of the national biathlon team, but also indicate that they have the potential to be among the best biathletes not only in Bulgaria but also in the world.
Biathlon competitions in Bansko
Over the years Bansko hosted rounds of the European Biathlon Cup, the European Championships, the National Biathlon Championships, the Veterans Championships, and in 2019 a Summer Biathlon Competition – the Pirin Cup – was held.
The “Pirin” Summer Biathlon Competition was held for the first time after a 20 – year hiatus, with biathlon clubs from all over the country taking part. The competition was very intense, but the young biathletes from “Bansko” Club managed to grab two gold medals (Blagovest Stoyanov) and one bronze medal (Nelly Zlateva).
Biathlon in Bansko and tourists
We told you very briefly about the biathlon in Bansko, not to boast about the traditions in biathlon, the good base or the uniquely good instructors who work in the town. We have told you all this because this sport is not only very fun, but also provides you with the opportunity to enjoy both cross-country skiing and shoot as much as you want.
If you decide to go on a vacation in Bansko but do not want to lose shape and look for an attractive sport to do between theSPA proceduresand sightseeing, biathlon is the perfect solution for you. Biathlon is suitable for every member of your family, whether you are a beginner or have some experience.
A brief history of biathlon
Biathlon is a sport with a long history. The first biathlon race in the world was held in 1767 near the border of Sweden and Norway. Initially, this sport was practiced mainly by the military, which included ski running and firing a rifle during their training. Gradually, however, more civilians became fans of biathlon, which led to the creation of the International Biathlon and Modern Pentathlon Federation in 1984.
The first ever Biathlon Championship in which athletes from all over the world took place was held in 1958, and since 1960 the biathlon has been included in the Winter Olympics program.
Bulgarian competitors who have won medals from biathlon competitions
- Ekaterina Dafovska–she won the Gold medal at the Nagano Winter Olympics (1998). In addition to her Olympic title, Dafowska ends her racing career with 5 wins at Biathlon World Championships.
- Iva Skodreva – this biathlete won three bronzes in individual competitions in 1991.
- Maria Manolova – The competitor has two World Cup victories and is ranked 6th in the Lahti – Finland World Biathlon (1978).
- Vladimir Iliev –The young hope of the Bulgarian biathlon won silver medal from the World in Ostersund, Sweden (2019). Iliev became the first athlete to win a medal at the Men’s World Cup.
- KrasimirAnev –The national competitor became European champion in Belarus.
- Irina Nikulchina –The biathlete has three bronze medals – one from the Salt Lake City Olympics 2002 and one from the sprints in 1999 at Pokljuka and Rupolding in 2002.