Pokljuka, 13 December (STA) – The forested Pokljuka plateau, Slovenia’s central biathlon venue, will host the Biathlon World Cup from Thursday through Sunday, bringing a total of six races for women and men biathletes.

Located some 20 kilometres west of the lakeside resort of Bled, the Pokljuka biathlon centre will host a 10km sprint event for men at 2:40 PM on Thursday and a 7.5km sprint competition for women at 2:40 PM on Friday.

Pursuit competitions are scheduled for Saturday at 12:45 PM (men) and 3 PM (women), and a mass start event at 1 PM (men) and 3 PM (women) on Sunday.

A total of 120 women and 130 men biathletes are expected at Pokljuka for what will be the third World Cup meet of the season and will also mark the 20th anniversary of the first World Cup biathlon competition in Slovenia.

Given temperatures at around -13 degrees Centigrade, the organisers have been working around the clock to ready the tracks.

“We made over 10,000 cubic metres of snow and preparations were merciless. We started making snow on 28 November and finished last Friday,” said Peter Zupan, vice president of the organising committee.

“95 percent of the tracks and surrounding area have been made, all we have to do is make a few cosmetic adjustments. The 20 centimetres of snow that fell in the last days produced a nice background for the competitions.”

The organisers expect temperatures to rise to about zero degrees by the end of the week, hoping that the more enjoyable weather will attract even more spectators.

Turnout is also expected to be boosted by two podium finishes in World Cup races last week by Slovenia’s Jakov Fak, as well as a fourth place by Teja Gregorin.