Morton Sights on Biathlon World Championships
22nd January 2021
Darcie Morton from Orbost in far East Gippsland has representing Australia at both the Senior and Junior Biathlon World Championships this February in her sights.
Shooting clean, Morton achieved Australia’s best ever IBU Cup qualifying points, 119 IBU Q points, on Saturday 16 January in IBU Cup 1 in Arber, Germany. The result provides Morton with an individual World Championship and World Cup qualification.
After the race Morton remarked, ‘ I just willed myself to really concentrate during the shooting and really push and hurt on the track. It is really satisfying to get a good result straight up.’
Morton placed 73rd out of 135 competitors in what was a highly contested first IBU Cup of the season, run by the IBU under strict Covid protocols. A few days earlier, Morton had driven 24 hours from her Swedish training base in Sveg and – 30 degree temperatures to minimise contacts and Covid risks.
‘I have had to train by myself for the last 2 and half months in Sweden due to restrictions and haven’t been able to race until now. It was great to bounce back from feeling flat in the first sprint race,’ said Morton.
After IBU Cup 2, which is also in Arber to minimise travel, which consists of a Short 12.5km Individual on Wednesday 20 Jan and another 7.5km Sprint on Friday, Morton will go to Obertilliach in Austria to train towards the Biathlon World Championships beginning 9 February in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
Morton quipped, ‘I feel really excited to be in this position. It is what we planned, to go to Obertilliach, which is my middle European training base and an amazing venue and do some really hard training for the World Championships and then return to Obertilliach where I really want to achieve a personal best in the Junior World Championships as it is my last one.’
Morton would like to acknowledge the support of the AOC, OWIA and Sport Australia Hall of Fame, where she is a scholarship holder and Winter Olympic aspirant. As well as Hotham, Leki and Fischer.
‘I feel really privileged to be here competing. So many people have really got behind me and supported me through their own good will. Tom and Anna Carin Zidek hosted me in Lillhardal with their family and Tom has been an amazing coach and mentor. I have also been fortunate to work closely with Tobias Westman (top WC Sprinter and Rollerskier) on my skiing. It has made a real difference.’
‘Anna Carin is such an amazing, down to earth person and is such a role model. You wouldn’t know she has won Gold for Sweden in Torino and is a biathlon star’, Darcie explained.
It is a relationship that has spanned several decades with Morton first taking up biathlon and learning to shoot in 2009/10 under Tom’s Dad Petr Zidek in Canmore, Canada. Petr Zidek was instrumental in supporting her father Cameron Morton at the 1992 Biathlon World Junior Championships in Canmore.
Morton will train under the eye of Hannes Obererlacher while based in Obertilliach, who also coached her brother Damon Morton to the last World Junior Championships in Obertilliach 8 years ago, continuing a strong relationship with both Obertilliach and the famous Obererlacher brothers Joe and Hannes with Australia over the years.