“I’m worried about what the future holds”

First the resignation of Kaisa Mäkäräinen three years ago, now that of Mari Eder and Nastassja Kinnunen: Finland’s biathlon is again facing a reorientation. Mäkäräinen warns of a big vacuum.

In Mari Eder and Nastassja Kinnunen, Finland’s biathlon women lose two important athletes for the coming season. The future is quite uncertain, ex-ski hunter Kaisa Mäkäräinen had to realize after the two resignations.

“If a lot of people said after I left there was going to be a big gap, then there’s going to be a big gap now,” the 2011 pursuit world champion told Yle.

Eder, who had her best time in the World Cup in the 2016/17 season when she had two wins in Oslo, was Finland’s best biathlete this winter. The 2006 Junior World Champion finished 22nd in the overall standings, and her best result came in fifth place in the Annecy sprint.

In Kinnunen, Finland’s third-best athlete also hangs up her rifle. The 38-year-old finished the season 53rd overall. Now the hopes are mainly on Suvi Minkkinen, the second best Finn with 228 points.

Finland’s biathlon icon sounds the alarm

Mäkäräinen praised Minkkinen’s performance: “Suvi was very confident and fast on the shooting range. Whenever she skied fast, she got her best results.” According to the 40-year-old, this is the point where Finnish biathletes still need to improve a lot.

“The driving speed is not sufficient,” stated Mäkäräinen. Even good shooting is a way of killing yourself with “really good results”.

In the long run, another circumstance is even more worrying: There is no one among the Finnish juniors “who could be promoted. I’m worried about what the future will bring,” the ex-biathlete, who retired in 2020, sounded the alarm.