Marcel Laponder is well aware that he is behind two of his British rivals in the race to qualify for next year’s Olympics but – 100 days out from the Games beginning – he is refusing to panic just yet.
Laponder is in a battle with Kevin Kane and Lee Jackson for the sole British biathlon place at Sochi 2014, both of whom have fulfilled the qualification criteria.
The 35-year-old has only satisfied half but still has as many as six World Cup races to not only complete it but also stake his claim as the best in Britain.
Jackson was Britain’s sole representative across all genders at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics but Laponder is confident he can throw his hat into the selection mix for Sochi.
“There are three of us going for one spot. I have still got a few more races. I need to have a minimum of two qualification standards and I have got one,” said Laponder, who is based in Ruhpolding.
“A few times last season I was close to getting a second, a third and a possible fourth standard but each time it was just due to one penalty too many or being a little bit too slow on the skis.
“But it was literally seconds and this year I am feeling quite strong. As long as the top boys haven’t made too big of a jump I shouldn’t have a problem getting the next qualifying standard.
“Kevin and I are in the same town and we do a lot of training sessions together. It is nice to have a training partner to chat with.
“You know you are going to be competing for one spot but over time you want him to do well because it is not just about going to the Olympics but team points for start places next season.”
The qualifying timeline for Sochi 2014 began in November 2012 while the door will shut on Laponder’s bid for a second standard on January 19 next year.
And, with 100 days to go until the Olympic Winter Games kick off in Russia, Laponder won’t be resting on his laurels when he takes to the snow and range in anger.
He added: “We have got until just after Christmas to get more qualifying standards. It isn’t just about getting the qualifier; it is about getting a better time split than the others as well.”
© Sportsbeat 2013