NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan’s biathlete Alexander Gerlitz won bronze in the 10-kilometer race at the 2022 Beijing Paralympics on March 8, reports the country’s National Olympic Committee. The race took place in the National Biathlon Center of Zhangjiakou.
Gerlitz earned the first medal for Kazakhstan, which ranked 17th in the full medal table along with Australia and Switzerland, while China ranked first, followed by Ukraine and Canada.
“It is the first medal for Kazakhstan at the Beijing Paralympic Games. I warmly congratulate Alexander and wish him further sports achievements,” said Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on his Twitter.
In his interview with the Qazsport TV channel, Gerlitz said the race was pretty heavy that day, but he started calmly. “The snow was peculiar, but I skied better and better on each circle, so I could increase my speed. Unfortunately, I didn’t succeed at shooting the way I planned as I had three misses. But it did not stop me from winning the bronze medal,” he said.
The National Paralympic Committee will award Gerlitz with a cash prize of $75,000.
The 32-year-old athlete has been skiing under the guidance of Ivan and Maria Drobyazko since 2014. From 2015 to 2017 he was the absolute champion of Kazakhstan in cross-country skiing among Paralympic athletes. Being a Master of Sports of Kazakhstan, he came in fourth at the cross-country skiing race at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.