Wanaka teen thrilled about NZ selection

Wanaka biathlete Campbell Wright is the first athlete to compete for New Zealand Team at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne. Photo: Mark Price
Wanaka biathlete Campbell Wright is the first athlete to compete for New Zealand Team at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne. Photo: Mark Price
A Lake Hawea teen has become the first New Zealander named for next year's Winter Youth Olympics.

Campbell Wright will compete in the biathlon at the Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The 17-year-old will contest the 7.5km sprint distance and the 12.5km individual distance.

He is thrilled about his selection and is looking forward to the event in January.

''I'm pretty happy to say the least. It's going to be awesome to be part of the New Zealand team and I can't wait to compete in Lausanne,'' he said.

Biathlon is a mix of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, combining power and precision.

Races are timed and missed shots in the shooting component result in distance or time penalties.

A Mount Aspiring College pupil, Wright began cross-country skiing at a young age.

He took up biathlon in 2017.

''I liked cross-country skiing and so my coach Luca Boromilili basically just said 'why don't you have a go at biathlon' and it went from there.

''I'm stronger at the skiing so I'm working hard to improve my shooting.

''The trick is not to overcook yourself before you get to the range. You need to chill and get your heart rate down before you start trying to hit the targets.''

Wright spends the northern hemisphere winters training in Italy and competing around Europe.

When in New Zealand he trains at Snow Farm.

He was named Snow Sports New Zealand's cross-country skier of the year in 2016.

This year he placed third in his age-group at the Alpencup in Italy, the first time a New Zealander has reached the podium at a major European biathlon event.

Angus Cagney has been conditionally selected as a non-travelling reserve.

About 15 New Zealanders are expected to compete in Lausanne.

Eleven of the athletes from the previous Winter Youth Olympics went on to compete at the full Winter Olympics in 2018.

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