National title defence next step on Colebourn's PyeongChang path
Published 10 August 2017 (AEDT)
BIATHLON: After lining up for Australia at the Asian Winter Games and taking out the Victorian Championships, Biathlete Jillian Colebourn has set her sights on standing on the top step of the podium at this week’s Australian Championships in Mt. Hotham.
The 22-year-old has been crowned Australian Champion in her favoured Sprint event for three years running and is hoping her recent success will help her to continue to build into the busy season ahead.
“The Victorian Championships were my first on-snow races since February so they were a great start to the season but I had some areas that I wasn’t 100% pleased with,” Colebourn said.
“I’ve been training hard to improve these and I’m keen to see how far I’ve progressed in the upcoming Australian Champs.
“I’ve been staying in Hotham for the last five weeks as part of Australian Biathlon’s High Performance Camp. It’s been a great opportunity to get in some quality on-snow training and improve my skiing and shooting skills. It’s been a tough camp and I can honestly say I’ve done some of my best training in this past month.”
Colebourn took out both the Sprint and Individual events at the Victorian Championships a fortnight ago and will be looking to do the same this weekend.
While she is aiming for gold, Colebourn knows there are bigger goals on the horizon that the competition will help her build towards achieving.
“The Australian races are an important step towards a strong 2017-18 winter. The training and racing in this period is one of the most significant stages in the year’s training program to ensure I peak over December to February.
“After the Australian Championships I will return home to Sydney to attend university, as my subjects this semester are challenging and demand a lot of contact hours,” said the Mechatronic Engineering student.
“I’ll continue training up for the next winter at home before heading to Norway in November to compete in the first IBU Cup of the season where I’ll start chasing an Olympic Qualification.”
The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games is the ultimate target for Colebourn but she knows steady progression is the only way she’ll turn her Olympic dream into a reality.
“As my coach is constantly telling me, I need to be more dynamic when I ski. I have been working on transferring my muscle power developed in gym sessions into my ski technique. I’ve found this to be challenging but once I’m able to constantly ski dynamically, it will be a huge step in improving my ski speed.
“I have also been working on cutting down my shooting time. I can’t work hard skiing out on the course only to lose all the time gained at the shooting range. Last year I was a slow shooter in comparison to the world’s best but I’ve now reduced both my standing and prone shooting by about 20 seconds, which is massive in a 20 minute race.”
Earlier in the year Colebourn was one of four biathletes to wear the green and gold as Australia made its Asian Winter Games debut in Sapporo.
She finished in the top 20 in her three individual events before combining with Damon and Darcie Morton and Jeremy Flanagan to claim 8th in the Mixed Relay event.
Colebourn is hoping that experience will help take her to the next level.
“The Asian Winter Games was an amazing experience and was the most organised event I’ve ever attended.
“It was great to represent Australia and compete against some of the world’s best athletes in such an incredible place like Japan. The experience helped me to see how things are organised in a big, important event with athletes from many different sports and countries.
“Hopefully when I attend similar events like the Olympics, I will be familiar with the environment.”
The Australian Championships run 12-13th of August at Australia’s only biathlon circuit in Mt. Hotham.
Fellow PyeongChang hopefuls Damon and Darcie Morton, children of Torino 2006 Biathlete Cameron, will also be in action.