CANMORE – Injuries have stifled Anna Sellers biathlon career for much of the past three seasons, but the 20-year-old breathed a sigh of relief at the season’s biggest races so far.
The Canmore biathlete competed in the Junior World Championships trial races at the Canmore Nordic Centre over the last week, finishing in the top five and top 10 in two of three races.
The results are respectable for Sellers, and she hopes it lands her a spot at junior worlds next month in Switzerland, but just being able to compete was a massive step forward after concussions and other injuries have stunted her growth in the Nordic sport.
“This whole week has been a bit of a big thing for me because I’ve been concussed ever since July and I recently got another one exactly a month ago, so this is like a big challenge for me, but I’ve been really happy with how it’s been going so far,” Sellers said.
In the two races before Sunday’s (Dec. 15) sprint, which Sellers finished in 18th, the biathlete raced to fourth and eighth place finishes.
Selections to the junior worlds are expected to be announced by Biathlon Canada this week, which makes these trials a particularly stressful time in a biathlete’s life because the direction of their entire season is on the line.
A product of Biathlon Alberta Training Centre (BATC), Sellers was questionable to even be racing at trials due to the recent concussion. It meant she couldn’t train nearly as hard for the important races.
Sellers goal is making it to junior worlds, and she tried not to get too discouraged knowing her physical fitness wasn’t as top-notch as she wanted it to be.
“Ever since I graduated high school, I’ve had quite a few setbacks, but I’m still going at it,” Sellers said.
“My skiing obviously isn’t where it is because I’m not able to get to the top end without getting concussion symptoms, but just focusing on the shooting, I’ve been really happy with shooting until [Sunday] actually, unfortunately.”
BATC head coach Matthias Ahrens applauded his pupil’s resilience and is impressed by her upkeep on the range.
“She surprises me in training and also with her accuracy,” Ahrens said. “It’s all still quite at a good level [and] I’m really happy that she’s managing that part. Otherwise, it’s just trying to get her back to that level from before. I’m happy that it’s progressing but it’s still an ongoing progress.”
In February, the BATC team will be travelling to Europe for the club’s own training and competitions.
Sellers said she’s feeling confident she’ll be competing in Europe one way or the other this season to potentially compete at the Junior IBU Cup in Germany.