Comox Valley biathlete Daniel Gilfillan says competing at the youth/junior world championships has been an incredible experience.
Held in Solider Hollow, Utah, the competition began Feb. 21 and winds up Thursday, March 3.
Gilfillan is in his first year of the youth category, 17-18 years.
“Being around all of the other countries was quite humbling, realizing just how many other athletes love the sport as much as I do,” he said by email. “It was also one of the most motivating environments I have ever been in. The honour of representing your home country made me race and focus to a level I never have before.”
On Feb. 23, he placed 40th out of 62 in the 12.5-kilometre individual event. He then placed 34th out of 63 in the 7.5k sprint on Feb. 25.
On Feb. 27, Gilfillan finished 29th in the 10k pursuit — the highest placing North American competitor in the field of 60 racers. In terms of standardized times in the pursuit, he placed 24th.
“The race was super hard, but also the most fun I have ever had, skiing the hardest I possibly could. I was thrilled about this result. I felt like I had finally had a race where I put it all together.”
The race venue was at the International Biathlon Union limit of 1,800 metres elevation, “making it hard to adjust to when you live at sea level in Comox,” Gilfillan said.
His final event was the 3x7.5k relay on Tuesday, March 1. His team finished 12th out of 16.