Sofie hits record form at British Biathlon Championships

Sofie Hopkins
Sofie Hopkins

Foxholes teenager Sofie Hopkins broke all her personal bests despite a testing time at the British Biathlon Championships.

The Scarborough Sixth Form College student, 19, made her official debut as a youth competitor in the event, which combines Nordic skiing, mostly uphill at altitude, and target shooting.

Sofie Hopkins in action at the British Biathlon Championships

Sofie Hopkins in action at the British Biathlon Championships

Hopkins, who was the British junior champion in 2014, said: “I wanted to prove to myself I could put in some good times, however when you push for speed your accuracy is affected and this showed.”

The beautiful mountains of the Tirol and the village of Ruhpolding in Bavaria was again the stage for the championships,

Hopkins has been training hard all year on roller skis and once a week on snow at Castleford’s xscape and shooting at Humberside shooting ground in Brandesburton.

The first race was the 12.5km individual in which Hopkins skied perfectly, knocking nine minutes off her personal best.

She missed eight shots which equals an eight-minute penalty, placing her 16th out of 35, without the penalties she would have been fourth.

The next race was the 7.5km sprint and despite icy conditions the organisers opened a section of the track known as the wall.

In practice Hopkins shot clear and skiied sub eight-minute laps.

Hopkins said: “The wall quickly claimed victims, the snow bike medics were kept busy as some were hospitalised.

“I also fell but continued, still reaching the range in under eight minutes.

“However when I took my rifle off I was shocked to find it had been broken in two by the fall, so I had to pull out of the race, the repairs cost me €600.”

The weather was the killer on the 10km mass start, as thick snow and freezing sleet made it difficult to make out the targets.

Hopkins added: “The track was just slush making it difficult to get any type of ski technique up but l still came in the top 20 which made me happy.

“It was the hardest thing i have ever done. I won a medal for my category but it was a one-horse race so I take nothing from this.”

Post-race analysis showed that Hopkins had broken all her PBs and she took comfort from that and the fact that Olympian Amanda Lightfoot, Britain’s most successful biathlete, had not started biathlon until the age of 19.

She concluded: “I would like to thank my sponsors Eley Ammunition, Humberside shooting ground, Snozone and the late Colonel Crossley.”