Morton misses top 50 target

14 February 2006

Four missed shots cost Cameron Morton a chance of cracking the top 50 in the men’s 10km biathlon at Cesana San Sicario.

“Missing prone was the big killer. It was hard to come back from that,” Morton said.

The 31-year-old missed two shots in the prone and another two in the standing shoot out of his 10 attempts, forcing him to ski a 150m penalty loop for each incursion.

It proved costly – with 11 rivals shooting clear rounds, including gold medallist Sven Fischer of Germany and silver medallist Halvard Hanevold of Norway, with Morton finishing 82nd. Frode Andresen of Norway took bronze.

“It’s tough in this range on the shooting but I gave it my best shot,” Morton said.

Racing against a class field dominated by the experienced European nations, Morton crossed the finish line in 32:07.4, more than five minutes behind winner Sven Fischer of Germany and three minutes off the pace that would have assured him a top-50 placing.

But he was still delighted with his cross-country skiing performance.

“It was definitely my best skiing of the season, but I just didn’t get it down in the shooting,” he said.

The result - 82nd in a field of 90 competitors - has cost Morton a berth in the men’s pursuit with only the top 60 placegetters from the 10km sprint qualifying.

“If I’d hit 80 per cent or better I think I would have made the qualifying,” he said.

“I enjoyed the course today it was tough and very fast so you had to hit well today to be in there.”

After 10 years on the national team and a stint as an Olympic coach, guiding Kerryn Rim at Nagano 1998, Morton spent time in Europe last year to finetune his Torino preparation.

The primary school principal took official leave to prepare for the Games, living and training in Obertilliach in Austria.

Contesting his first Olympic Games as a competitor though has been a real thrill for Morton.

“It‘s been a fantastic experience,” he said. “It’s great to be on an Australian team and I am very proud of it.”

Tracy Parish/AOC
Torino

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