Kenora biathlete rises to top in national race against World Cup qualifiers in Canmore
Miner and News
Tim Wehner returned home with a gold medal from the 2017 Canadian Biathlon Championship in Canmore, but standing on top of the podium wasn’t his most cherished memory from the event.
The 51 year old finished first in the masters men 7.5 km individual race on March 9, after a fourth-place finish the day before in the six kilometre sprint, but it was the final race, a 7.5 km pursuit, that gives Wehner goosebumps when he recalls his second-place finish.
“In the individual race we all start 30 seconds apart so in the master men’s competition it took six minutes to start everybody. I didn’t know it was over and I saw the result that I had won, but in the pursuit you can tell because it’s first guy across the line so you can tell where you are,” said Wehner. “It was very exciting because it’s very dynamic to be in that situation.”
Wehner said in the final race as he went in for his final round of shooting his coach informed him the leader, former World Cup stalwart Eric Gosselin of Quebec, was in the penalty loop after missing three shots. Armed with this intel, Wehner ended up shooting a perfect five-for-five in his final standing bout, and finished with a personal best, hitting 16-of-20 targets overall. Wehner and Gosselin ended up racing down the slope together to the finish line.
“I tucked in behind him for one and a half kilometres ski and as I was climbing the bridge a bunch of spectators, including my family, were cheering me on by name at which point Eric looked over his shoulder to figure out who they were cheering for and saw it was me,” said Wehner. “For the next kilometre he looked over his shoulder as I chased him into the finish line.”
Gosselin finished the pursuit in 0:30:11.7 with Wehner coming in 2.3 seconds behind.
“I was super happy to be chasing him to sort out who was going to be first in the race because he’s someone who has a great deal more experience then I do,” said Wehner.
Wehner finished in 0:29:17.6 in the indivisual race and in the sprint he finished in 0:23:33.2. About 170 biathletes were in Canmore from March 7-11. For Wehner it was nice to be a part of Team Manitoba instead of as a solo representative.
“This time around there were eight athletes from Manitoba, myself and seven younger people, so it was great to have that team feeling,” said Wehner. “I was able to provide them with some mature advice.”