Campbells 2109/2020 European Winter
Campbell has certainly stunned the biathlon world, turning heads in Europe where biathlon is a major winter sport. He's achieved unprecedented results for a New Zealander and is now one of the best youth biathletes in the World.
In New Zealand, youngsters aspire to be All Blacks, but in Europe and Scandinavia, their heroes are biathletes and cross country skiers. There are huge numbers of athletes competing just to qualify for the events Campbell has achieved his results in.
This year the IBU (International Biathlon Union) and New Zealand Olympic Committee granted NZ a single slot for Biathlon at the 2020 Youth Olympics to be held Lausanne, Switzerland. Campbell was selected with Angus Cagney selected as a reserve.
In October 2019, Campbell left NZ to train under his coach Luca Bormolini in Livigno, Italy with the aim of reaching his peak for January's Youth Winter Olympic Games in Switzerland. Campbell had qualified for both Biathlon and Cross Country skiing but his first love is biathlon and that's where we had high hopes. We had also hoped that Angus Cagney, who was also qualified to race and was on the NZ team as a reserve, would join him and compete but Angus has delayed his training in Europe until 2020/21.
European events in December were used as warm-ups and experience for the main events. These are highly competitive races, usually against 20 year olds.
Junior Men IBU Cup Poland
Junior Men 15km 40th /125
Junior Men 10km 44th /130
Junior Men IBU Cup Italy
Junior Men 10km 41st /124
Junior Men 12.5km Pursuit 47th / 60
In both these competitions, Campbell was racing as a Junior, which means he was up against 19,20 and even 21 year olds.
Italian National Championships Under 19
Junior Men Under 19 7.5 km 1st
Winning the Italian Champs is an outstanding result. Being a non-Italian National he couldn’t be awarded the title but they had a special award for him.
Youth Olympic Games - Lausanne, Switzerland
At the Youth Olympic Games, only those that are born in the years 2002 & 2003 can compete. Campbell was now against his own age group in the world rather than competing against older athletes. Most of the competing countries have serious competitions to prepare their athletes, here in NZ & also Australia, we have lots of fun at our competitions but none with the pressure of the International events.
12.5 km Individual 6th / 102
7.5 km Sprint 4th / 102 (less than 3 seconds from a medal!)
A truly outstanding result that has the biathlon world watching this athlete.
NB Campbell was the only biathlete to go on and compete in the cross country skiing events at YOG. His coach was keen for Campbell to do so as he could gain additional experience and who wouldn’t want to ski in the Cross Country Cross when you enjoy having fun on skis- Cross Country Cross is Cross Country skiing’s equivalent of Snowboarding skiercross. Bumps, Jumps and obstacles. It was his first experience at this event. His favourite disciplines are not sprint or classic events but what a result he achieved competing against specialists in those disciplines.
Cross Country skiing results
Cross Country Skier Cross 26th /83
Sprint Freestlye 22nd /86
10 km Classic race 32nd/79
Campbell then had the opportunity to race in the World Championships. Also in Switzerland, this time in Lenzerheide.
World Junior Biathlon Championships
12.5km Under 19 Individual 42nd/106
7.5 km Sprint 6th/106
12.5 km Pursuit 15th/60
His 6th place in the Sprint was again only seconds off the medals. Another amazing result. He followed it up with a strong Pursuit race and finished 15th.
TV coverage of the whole event is here - Campbell get's his share of the camera! https://www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu/#A52UP7697C
Campbell is a young athlete, but the experience he's gained this year while competing at this level is will help him for the rest of his competition career. Campbell, like many kids, started in the sport with a dream. Campbell is now living out his dream. He's thankful to all the support he's had, from family, from Snow Farm, from MAC, from Biathlon New Zealand, form his coach Luca Bormolini and even from the Australian Biathlon Association that generously allow him to train and race with them.