Saskatchewan

Cancellation of World University Games devastating for La Ronge biathlete

Michio Green has spent the last four years working toward making the FISU World University Games.

Michio Green had been working toward the games for the past 4 years

Michio Green grew up in La Ronge where he was part of the local cross country ski club. (Michio Green)

Michio Green has spent the last four years working toward making the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Games.

The La Ronge, Sask., man did just that when he qualified for the games in early November in biathlon.

Then came the devastating news last Monday that the games, scheduled to begin just days from now, had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.

"On Sunday, me and my girlfriend Anne [Mirejovsky], who was also on the team, went to Canmore to pick up our biathlon team gear, and we also picked up the youth sport gear, the clothing that we would have worn at the games," said Green, who is now living in Calgary after graduating from the University of Alberta.

"Then like the day after.… Oh, never mind, we won't be able to actually wear these."

Six athletes and one staff member from the University of Saskatchewan were also on the team.

USport was going to send nine teams from seven sports to the games, which were to be held in  Lucerne, Switzerland.

Michio Green had already picked up his games ear for the FISU Games when he found out it had been cancelled. (Michio Green)

Green started out cross-country skiing with La Ronge Nordic Ski Team and then was introduced to biathlon through the local cadet program.

From there he joined Biathlon Saskatchewan and began racing.

He attended U of A's Augustana campus in Camrose, because at the time it had the only biathlon program for university students. 

Within his first year there, the biathlon program was shut down because of budget cuts, but he persevered and set his sights on this year's FISU Games.

In early November, Green competed in qualifying races for the games.

"The percentiles between athletes were very tight, so I had to do my best. So I had some really good shooting that weekend," he said. "I got into the team and I was really happy about that."

Green said he's had to re-evaluate his goals since the news of the games being cancelled.

He recently graduated with a kinesiology degree and has moved to Calgary.

He's now training at the Nordic Centre in Canmore and with the Rocky Mountain Racers club.

"I'll probably go to the Canada Biathlon nationals [in March] and I have sights on possibly making it onto the Canadian IBU [International Biathlon Union] team," he said. "That's an international circuit that I'm hopefully looking forward to competing on."

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