Almoukov joins Olympic team

Local winter Olympic biathlete Alex Almoukov has officially been selected for the Winter Olympic Team to compete in Sochi.

Almoukov, of Berridale who attended Monaro High School, made his Olympic debut at just 19-years-old, one of the youngest in the field at the Vancouver Games in 2010. He was notified on January 24 and wrote on his blog he was happy and relieved with his selection. The following is his blog post on the http://sochi 2014.olympics.com.au/ website.

It is official! I have been selected for the 2014 Winter Olympic Team!! I am very excited and I can't wait to compete in two weeks time.

It was very nerve-wracking not knowing if I would be selected for the team. Trying to stay focused in training not knowing what was going to happen was difficult. Our nation was waiting for a quota reallocation, I got notified on the 24th at 4am that we have been allocated a spot and that I needed to send an email to the federation saying I was fit and healthy to compete. Half asleep I wrote an email down at the lobby but went back to bed feeling happy and relieved!!!

For those that don't know what this quota system is all about, I will explain. The points for our nation ranking are summarized from the two World Championships before the Olympics, and since our team is not very big it is difficult to gather a significant amount of points to be in contention for an Olympic quota spot. Top 20 countries get to take four athletes and nations from 20-28 get to take only one. Australia was ranked 31st, so we needed some nations not to take their full quota so that Australia could get it on reallocation. As we predicted the reallocation went up to around 33rd nation rank, so we were safely in but it was still very stressful waiting.

Same went for the women, Australia was ranked 34th so it was a very nice surprise that we got a female spot too! A massive congratulations to Lucy Glanville who will make her first Olympic debut in Sochi! Both Lucy and I made our individual qualifications during the season, which is 20% behind the leader in World Cup Or IBU Cup, so we were both waiting just on reallocation.

After University Games I got sick and it took a good three weeks to get healthy. My races haven't been all that flash after the new year but they haven't been appalling. I am currently in Ridnaun (ITA) where I am doing a pre Olympic altitude camp.

This is my favourite training place with all the facilities you can ask for! So my preparation is going really well. My skiing has improved this year and results have shown that!

So I am very excited to see what result I can produce being fit and healthy.

I would like to thank everyone that has supported me throughout my journey to get to these Olympics, I will try to give it my very best and do Australia proud!

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