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Biathlon Canada pulls IBU Cup athletes out of Europe

With speculation around travel restrictions coming, Biathlon Canada is bringing home some athletes early from competitions in Europe.
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Jules Burnotte was one of the IBU Cup athletes competing overseas in January 2021. EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – Biathlon Canada's IBU Cup athletes are homeward bound as speculation rises around travel restrictions coming from the Canadian government.

The governing body cut the European tour short on Wednesday (Jan. 27) following one race at the IBU Open European Championships in Duszniki-Zdrój, Poland.

"With the Canadian government’s repeated signalling that additional travel restrictions will be implemented shortly, Biathlon Canada has made the difficult decision to bring the team back to Canada early," stated a press release on Wednesday.

"The Board evaluated many scenarios, some of which resulted in the real possibility that the organization would be exposed to financial costs that could be crippling. It was determined that this potential financial risk was too large."

In a social media post last Friday (Jan. 22), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote: "Let me be very clear: Nobody should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve got one planned, cancel it – and don’t book a trip for spring break. We need to hang on and hold tight for the next few months, and get through to the spring in the best shape possible."

The IBU Cup athletes were originally scheduled to return Feb. 1.

The IBU Cup biathletes who competed this January are Calgary’s Darya Sepandj, Ottawa’s Shilo Rousseau and Richmond Hill, Ont.’s Zoe Pekos, Canmore’s Aidan Millar and Matthew Strum, Jules Burnotte of Sherbrooke, Qc., Tobias Quinn of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Alex Dupuis from Ottawa.

The team touched down on Europe on Jan. 7, and the biggest success result-wise in the shortened season came during the men's 10-km sprint last Saturday (Jan. 22) in Arber, Germany, where Burnotte placed fifth, and Millar 18th.

Biathlon Canada did not mention the situation surrounding its eight world cup athletes in Europe in the press release.

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