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Dimitri Torner: More than 500 children in the country took part in the NEXTGEN project

The NEXTGEN project was launched in Moldova over a month ago for the biathlon popularization in children and youth. In a very short term, the project has already reached about 500 children, who became participants of the Open Biathlon Lessons in Criuleni, Izbiste, and Chisinau. This was informed by the initiator of the project, the President of the Biathlon Federation of the RM, Dimitri Torner.

"We are seeing the excitement and the interest among children. That inspired us to open already 5 biathlon sections in the schools of the country. In just a month, 5 educational institutions in the Chisinau and Criuleni districts joined the project. According to the project tradition, the work of each section started with an Open Biathlon lesson for children with professional athletes and coaches participation. These events gathered from 50 to 130 children! Many of them admitted that it was the first time they heard about biathlon, and 99% of children took a sports laser rifle in their hands for the first time. This experience will open the way to sports for some of them, but all of them have already become part of the big biathlon family of Moldova. It is a major issue", - Dimitri Torner is confident.

At the Open Lessons, young biathletes, who are already members of the Junior National Team, as well as the star of Moldovan biathlon Alina Stremous - European Champion and two-time silver medalists inspired children by their personal example. Her autographs, as NEXTGEN participants believe, will bring good luck to those who want to achieve the results in the biathlon.

The availability of modern equipment for training - laser rifles and mobile targets - is one of the main factors of children's interest in this sport, the Biathlon Federation of the Republic of Moldova notes. 10 rifles for school sections were received within the Biathlon4all initiative, which is implemented by the International Biathlon Union (IBU). "The IBU strategy is increasingly reoriented towards the development of the biathlon in the countries that are stereotypically considered as « non-biathlon». Yes, children in Moldova do not become a total skier at 3-4 years old, we are not Norway or Sweden. But our biathletes are strongly in the Top 30 and even Top 20 at international competitions. The biathlon is a highly competitive sport, spectacular and exciting, and the international community is paying more and more attention to its popularization in different countries. And we, in our turn, maximize the opportunities that IBU is ready to provide for us in Moldova. We are actively working to have more options", - said the President of the Biathlon Federation, Dmitri Torner.

As Dmitri Torner pointed out, the NEXTGEN is oriented not only for expanding the biathlon knowledge in teenagers, but it is aiming to find to train a new generation of Moldovan biathletes. In particular, the National Junior Team for the Winter Olympics 2028 will consist of the children born in 2010-2011».

Schools having their own coaching staff become the participants of the NEXTGEN project first and foremost. Now in Criuleni, Izbiste, and Riscova, trainings are held by Moldovan biathlete Alexandra Camenschic, in the Waldorf Lyceum in Chisinau - by Andrei Dubceac, master of sports in summer biathlon, in the Gaudemaus Lyceum - by physical education teacher Marina Shendria, whose son is also a professional biathlete.

"We would like to attract children from all of Moldova to participate in the NEXTGEN and we are seeking opportunities to do so. Additionally, we require not only laser rifles and skiing for training in winter, but also a coaching staff. Also, we need a ski rollers, because also planning to develop a summer biathlon. And although we don’t have now all we need, that doesn't stop us", - summarized Dmitri Torner.

He is also convinced that the NEXTGEN can cover other winter sports - cross-country skiing, and luge. Those disciplines are less developed in Moldova than the biathlon. It is the activation of the biathlon development that was the main reason why the President of the Biathlon Federation Dmitri Torner was invited to take the lead of the Winter Sports Association of the Republic of Moldova.

For information: several projects for the development of sports in Moldova are realized through the TornerSportsInitiative.

As reported earlier, in the framework of the NEXTGEN project is expected to be organized competitions between open children’s biathlon sections. Approximately, they will take place in May-June 2024.


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