At the end of 2019, eight-time Olympic biathlon champion Ole Einar Björndalen, who was awarded the ISPO Cup at the beginning of 2019, took over the position as Head Coach for all national biathlon teams in China. is wife and four-time Olympic champion Darja Domratcheva has been in charge of the Chinese women's team since then.
China has a "young team with high ambitions and perspectives to improve and grow," the statement of the couple said about taking on the mission: "From this day we are coming into the daily training process and will be happy to share our years of experience with the team, which will be a host of the next Olympic Winter Games."
In an interview for the official Olympic homepage, Björndalen and Domratcheva assessed the medal chances of their Chinese athletes.
"Our goal is, first of all, to develop the athletes as far as possible. If everything goes well, if we can catch medals, it’d be amazing", said Björndalen. "But it’s very difficult for our team now if we cannot take part in any competition this year. It’s very challenging for our team to make good preparation for the Olympic Games."
"The results of China’s biathletes have been not that bad in the past. They performed quite well on the World Cup level before the Vancouver Olympic Games", said Domratcheva. "After that, it was a little bit [of a] step down, a lot of good athletes retired. Now we are working with a new generation, trying to bring good results up again. Biathlon is a very unpredictable sport. You need a very high level of confidence in the moment, but we both believe that is possible to reach some good results.
The commitment of the former biathlon stars to Chinese biathlon came about in connection with a cooperation agreement between Norway and China, which was adopted in 2018.
In it, both countries decided to cooperate more closely in winter sports. China hopes to benefit from Norwegian know-how in the development of professional structures in winter sports.