Polish biathletes to fight for medals in Beijing, says Sikora

Source:Xinhua03/03/2021 11:26

"Polish biathletes are able to fight for a medal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but it's time for the men's team to make a revolution to focus on the youth," Olympic medalist from Turin, Tomasz Sikora recently told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Sikora is a three-time World Championships medalist, but his greatest achievement was taking silver in the mass event at the Winter Olympics in Turin. For Poland it was the last Olympic medal in biathlon.

"The ski jumpers will be leaders of our representation in Beijing. The biathletes are also able to fight for the medal but they have to prepare well. It's hard to say why in biathlon we wait for the next Olympics medal so long. In the men's team the revolution seems to be necessary. We have been following the same athletes for years and they don't make progress. We're happy when someone takes points in the World Cup competition but it's not enough. It's time to invest in young athletes. In ski jumping and cross-country we did it and now we bear the fruits," Sikora claimed.

The 47-year-old, who has taken part in the five Winter Olympics, admits that he didn't expect to win silver in the mass event in Turin 2006.

"Just before the competition I thought that maybe I should have resigned due to health reasons. I had a sinus problem, I felt pain every day, I slept three, four hours at night. I was extremely tired. What is more, before the mass event I failed in all competitions. And then I surprisingly won silver," the legendary Polish biathlete said. "From my point of view one of the most important things to achieve success at the Olympic Games is an experience, sometimes it's difficult to focus just on the competition. Thus, an athlete has to find a balance to be in the best shape. "

"I changed the tactics for the mass event. Earlier I wanted to be fast during the shooting as I tried not to lose seconds to the rivals, but the results weren't good. Then I decided to focus on the shooting, and it was a good choice. It's hard to handle the pressure when you're aware you have a huge chance to take an Olympic medal. I remember in the crucial moment my legs were trembling. I could fight for gold or concentrate on defending the second position," he said.

"I chose the second option. After crossing the finishing line, I started to cry. It was the best moment of my career", Sikora concluded.