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Barnstaple athlete Hannah Gaunt to compete in World Biathle Championships

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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HANNAH GAUNT will make her debut for Great Britain this weekend.

The Barnstaple athlete is due to fly from Heathrow to Dubai today for the World Biathle Championships.

After a day of light training and getting used to the climate, Hannah (pictured) will compete in the girls' 15 to 16 years age group on Saturday.

Racing will take place at the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina where the temperature is expected to exceed 35C.

Hannah, a pupil at the Park Community School, Barnstaple, said: "My race isn't until the middle of the day so it will be quite hot."

The biathle has a 1,000m run followed by a 200m swim and finishes with a second 1,000m run.

Although her running training has not gone as smoothly as she hoped, Hannah is ready to give the race her best shot.

"I have been injured recently," she said.

"I sprained a tendon in my toe doing steeplechase but I have been doing loads of swimming to keep my fitness up. I trained this week and I was running OK. I have got a good base fitness from the swimming.

"I normally swim twice a week at Northam but I have been doing more swimming, mainly front crawl for endurance."

Hannah has prepared thoroughly and even practised taking her trainers on and off for the transition, using the swimming pool at a family friend's house.

As a swimmer at Torridge Pool and runner with North Devon AC, she is now considering competing in a third sport.

"I'm really keen to do a triathlon, I just need to get a racing bike," she said.

"The summer was great. I did a lot of training and watched the Olympics, which was really inspiring.

"I watched the triathlon on the big screen (in London). The Brownlee brothers were really inspiring."

Hannah, who is travelling to Dubai with her mum Terry, is one of five athletes selected for Great Britain for her age group.

She qualified after finishing fourth in the national finals at Salford Quays, Manchester, in July.

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