The Cadet Biathlon Program – what you should know
The cadet biathlon program consists of 4 stages of training and competition:
1 - Local (Squadron), 2 - Zone, 3 - Provincial and 4 - National.
Stages 1 & 2 consist of a run and shoot format where cadets Run and Shoot air rifles at targets placed 10 meters away.
Stages 3 & 4 consist of a cross- country ski and shoot format where cadets Ski and Shoot .22 biathlon rifle at a distance of 50 meters.
STAGE 1(Run and shoot - Squadron Competition)
Stage 1 is essentially a inter Squadron competition that all Cadets who have participated in Sports Night can compete in. It is a run and shoot competition which is typically held in the Spring. Competitors who complete the Squadron biathlon competition may be selected to represent 24 Squadron in the Zone regional competition held the following Fall.
Corps can send 8 athletes to the Stage 2 competition At least one member of each gender must be a “junior”. A “junior” is someone who does not turn 15 before the last day of the National Competition each year.
STAGE 2 (Run and shoot - Regional Competition)
The Stage 2 competition takes place in early November, and the team names must be submitted in early October. Since we have a very short time in the fall to make the selections, some of the selections will have already been made based on last year’s training. Some were on last year’s competitive team, and others were able to train with the competitors over the winter. Being a member of last year’s team does not guarantee placement on this year’s team.
STAGE 3 (Ski and Shoot - Provincial)
Stage 3 is the traditional ski and shoot that we associate biathlon with. The Cadet Program(DND) supplies skis and .22 rifles – but only to cadets who qualify at the Stage 2 competition to advance to the Stage 3 (Provincial level).
STAGE 4 (Ski and Shoot - National)
Cadets that qualify at the provincial competition will have the opportunity to compete with cadets from across the country.
What does this all mean?
This means that we are looking for cadets who are committed to putting the time in to learn the sport and who recognize that making the competitive team may not happen in their first year, and that having been on the team in the past is not a guarantee they will make the team this year. Continuing to train with the competitors throughout the year will help hone their skills and improve their chances for selection to the team in future seasons.
Cadets who make it onto the competitive team can expect to have to put in extra practice time to be ready for competition. Those who advance to Stage 3 can expect to have to spend even more time skiing and shooting – and even travelling to Canmore to do this. DND provides no financial support for the training expenses (ski passes, transportation or meals), 24 Squadron's budget is limited and can’t always cover all of the expenses – so families may be asked to contribute by purchasing ski access passes and car pooling to ski and range practices as far away as Canmore.
Bottom line: We want cadets and parents to understand that it takes hard work and dedication to make the team, and making the team may not happen in their first year. Staying committed to the training throughout the season can improve their chances for selection next year and beyond. So please don’t be discouraged if you aren’t selected to be on this year’s competitive team.
Work hard and keep training for next year and beyond – Rome wasn’t built in a day – and successful athletes don’t happen overnight.