VALCARTIER, Quebec – The National Cadet Biathlon Championship was held at the Myriam Bédard Biathlon Centre (MBBC) from March 9 to 15, 2008.
The competition provided an opportunity for 138 participants from all over Canada, including 18 from Quebec, to put their training to the test. Cadets in the Canadian Cadet Program have access to biathlon training centres where they can take up and train in the sport.
Biathlon is a very demanding discipline, both physically and mentally. The athlete must be in excellent physical condition to complete the cross-country ski course, and must also have strong concentration skills and great stability for the shooting component.
Four categories of participants—junior boys, senior boys, junior girls and senior girls—took part in three different events: relay, pursuit and patrol.
The distance to be covered and the number of shooting rounds vary from one event to another. At each shooting stop, the cadets must hit five targets from a distance of 50 metres with five bullets. Athletes are permitted to use up to three spare rounds in a relay.
The level of difficulty is high because the targets are equivalent in size to a two-dollar coin. For each target missed, an athlete must complete a 100-metre penalty loop. One such penalty can quickly mean the difference between a place on the podium and a fifth-place finish.
Warrant Officer Laforest-Jean, a member of the 2600 de Rochebelle Cadet Corps in Sainte-Foy, captured nothing less than a gold medal in each of the three events, a feat that earned him the Myriam Bédard Trophy.
The Canadian Cadet Program is a community-based youth training activity managed by the Canadian Forces in partnership with the Navy League of Canada, the Army Cadet League of Canada and the Air Cadet League of Canada.
The Canadian Forces provides the personnel and equipment to conduct the cadet training program as directed by National Defence Headquarters.
To learn more about the National Cadet Biathlon Championship click on http://www.cadets.net/biathlon/doc08/COMMUNIQUE08_e.pdf
If you are interested in the Canadian Cadet program, you can visit their site at http://www.cadets.ca/intro_e.asp
Article by Corporal Julie Turcotte
Photos by Simon Baillargeon