Young athlete up against the best

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A young Wanaka athlete is off to the Biathlon World Cup.

Campbell Wright (18) has received a wild card invitation to the Biathlon World Cup after his recent success at the International Biathlon Union Cup in Arber, Germany.

His initial IBU Cup races had him placed 20th and 21st, however, he then achieved 5th place in a 15km event competing against a field of over 150 competitors, many of which were World Cup competitors.

The IBU Cup sits below the World Cup series but this year several World Cup competitors have been competing in IBU Cup events.

Campbell has had to compete in full adult biathlons due to youth and junior categories having been severely curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was a major step up for an athlete of his age as biathlon athletes do not reach maturity until they are in their mid to late twenties.

After success in his year 13 NCEA exams at Mount Aspiring College, Campbell made the decision to delay heading to tertiary studies in order to compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing in Europe.

His decision was inspired by his experience at the Youth Olympic Winter Games last year, where he was the flagbearer for the New Zealand team and the only New Zealand athlete to compete in the biathlon and crosscountry skiing events.

Campbell is based in Livigno, Northern Italy, at the home of his coach Luca Bormilini.

After initially being taught by Bormilini at the Snow Farm ski school in Cardrona, he has continued to train with him for the past eight years.

Campbell will compete in two Biathlon World Cup events in March.