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Like her twin Sister Vita, Valj Semerenko has been in biathlon for more than half of her life. Although the twins are mirror images; their biathlon careers have both run parallel and diverged at times. They were both crucial to Ukraine’s relay successes, most memorably the 2014 Olympic Gold medal performance.
Although Sochi is unquestionably a highlight, the next season, 2014/2015 was a career year for Valj; she did something her sister has not managed to date. With her Vita out with injuries, Valj took up the mantle for the family. She had five World Cup podiums, finished third in the World Cup Total Score and most importantly, won the mass start World Championship at the IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti. Sister Vita was on hand, making her first appearance of the season, but as a fan, cheering for her sister in this career-defining moment.
She competed in the two intervening seasons after that, with most of her success on relay teams. The twins reunited for the 2017/2018 training season before the Olympic Winter Games, and impressed Coach Uros Velepec, "Valj and Vita are doing well. They made a significant step forward, it's good for them and for the team, I see that the sisters are ready to train and fight…I am sure they will show top results." Valj ended December with four top tens and was shooting at a 94% success rate.
What do you remember about your first biathlon competition?
It is hard to remember because was so long ago, but I guess I was nervous and excited.
When did you realize that you could be good at this sport?
I always try to do my job well. And when everything goes smoothly and works out, you understand that you can get a good result.
What is your routine to get ready on race day; is it always the same?
Routine is different, but for sure running and activation and then depending whatever else is important depending on how I feel.
Given the option, would you rather run, rollerski, cycle…or? I think rollerski.
Describe a perfect day off from training or competition?
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
I can’t remember any. I give advice to myself and it is a secret! 😎
In a city, on the beach or in the mountains on your perfect holiday; any place special that you love?*
On the beach or in the city; it can be fun anywhere.