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Norway Names Teams for World Champs, Canmore World Cups

Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrates a photo-finish victory over France's Martin Fourcade in the men's 15 k mass start at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite being unsatisfied with his form, Svendsen is on the team for 2016 World Championships.  He will sit out the next two World Cup weekends in North America to prepare.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrates a photo-finish victory over France’s Martin Fourcade in the men’s 15 k mass start at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.Unsatisfied with his form, Svendsen is looking toward 2016 World Championships and will sit out the two World Cup weekends in North America.

Norway has named its teams for the next World Cup, and IBU Cup races, as well as for World Championships, which start on March 3 in Oslo.

The World Championships squad consists of four women and five men:

Tiril Kampenhaug Eckhoff, Fossum IF
Synnøve Solemdal, Tingvoll IL
Fanny Horn Birkeland, Oslo SSL
Marte Olsbu, Froland IL

Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Simostranda IL
Johannes Thingnes Bø, Markane IL
Tarjei Bø, Markane IL
Emil Hegle Svendsen, Trondhjems Skiskyttere
Lars Helge Birkeland, Birkenes IL

Leading up to their home Championships, things haven’t gone perfectly for the Norwegians. Eckhoff, posed to become a star after winning a bronze medal in the 2014 Olympic mass start and then her first individual World Cup in 2015, only has one podium this year – third place in the mass start in Ruhpolding. In particular, she has been struggling with standing shooting.

Eckhoff plans to focus on shooting in the coming weeks.

At least one hour more than what I have done until now,” she told NRK of her shooting training. “Currently I use maybe half an hour. Now I’ll feed on the hour.”

She will also skip the World Cups in Canmore, Alberta, and Presque Isle, Maine, instead staying in the European time zone and competing on the IBU Cup along with Horn Birkeland.

On the men’s side, Tarjei Bø is currently in second place in the World Cup Total Score, having earned four podiums but not yet an individual win. Bjørndalen won the very first World Cup competition of the season and has two other podiums, but none recently, and struggled with shooting in Ruhpolding, which he blamed on rifle problems. Johannes Thingnes Bø has one win and one other podium so far this season.

Svendsen has two World Cup podiums and sits in fourth in the Total Score, but is unsatisfied with his season; he didn’t shine last season either, compared to previous years where he had won the Total Score or Olympic gold. He told NRK that he increased his training by 20% to try to come back from last season’s disappointment.

“Considering the season so far, there’s no doubt that it perhaps wasn’t the best idea,” Svendsen said. “We’ll see how it is when the season is over… we are only about halfway through yet… I felt good all the way [in training], but it is a delicate balancing act.”

Of the men’s team, only Birkeland will make the trip to North America. Birkeland won the opening single mixed relay of the season with teammate Kaia Wøien Nicolaisen, and the Norwegians are hoping to repeat the result in Canmore.

And unlike the women, the men’s stars will not compete on the IBU Cup in the meantime. Instead, they will focus on training.

The World Cup roster for Canmore:

Synnøve Solemdal, Tingvoll IL
Marte Olsbu, Froland IL
Kaia Wøien Nicolaisen, Asker SK
Hilde Fenne, Voss SSL
Lene Berg Ådlandsvik, Sørskogbygda IL

Lars Helge Birkeland, Birkenes IL
Henrik L’Abée-Lund, Oslo SSL
Alexander Os, Ishavslaget
Håvard Gutubø Bogetveit, Førde IL
Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen, Geilo IL

And the IBU Cup roster for Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia:

Tiril Kampenhaug Eckhoff, Fossum IF
Fanny Horn Birkeland, Oslo SSL
Sigrid Bilstad Neraasen, Vingrom IL
Rikke Hald Andersen, Asker SK
Thekla Brun-Lie, Oslo SSL

Erling Aalvik, Kvam LSK
Vegard Bjørn Gjermundshaug, Alvdal IL
Andreas Dahlø Wærnes, Trondhjems Skiskyttere
Tore Leren, Vingelen IL
Fredrik Gjesbakk, Bossmo&Ytteren IL
Martin Rui, Froland IL

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