On August 18, a message appeared on the website of the Finnish Biathlon Federation that the former Russian Daria Virolainen was selected for the Finnish national team and will be able to play in its composition in international competitions. We tell you why this news should come as no surprise and discuss what prospects await the 34-year-old in the new team.
Long time living in Finland
Daria Virolainen has lived in Finland for more than 7 years with her entire extended family. She moved to the suburbs of Helsinki with her husband and her son, following her husband’s parents. Then she Daria she gave birth to two more children, that is, she now has three children, the youngest of whom is one and a half years old. And they are all more Finnish than Russian. Even the eldest son, who moved from Russia to Finland when he was in second grade, is fluent in Finnish.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
In 2021, Virolainen received Finnish citizenship. The laws of this country allow you to have two citizenships, so the Russian one did not have to be abandoned. And immediately after that, Daria had the opportunity to participate in national competitions in Finland on equal terms with other biathletes from this country. Virolainen took advantage of this opportunity.
In an interview with Sports.ru, Daria noted her desire to continue her career, despite having several children, including a baby: “I have no global plans, if only because, unlike my sister Christina, I do not have an assistant here in the person of my mother, and I am constantly in the hands of a baby. My husband is sitting with the children while I train, but when there are three of them, it is very difficult. I do not set myself the task of earning something without fail, I just understand that I want to come back. At the end of her career, she’s still not mentally ready. But whether it works out or not remains to be seen.”
In such conditions, when the Russian national team was knocked out from everywhere, and you want to continue your career, it is not surprising that Daria Virolainen wants to play for Finland. After all, she has been living there for a long time and connects her future with this country.
Photo source: Daria Virolainen’s social networks
What are the prospects for Virolainen in the Finnish national team?
The desire to compete with the strongest biathletes in the world is commendable. But will Daria be able to win the competition for a place in the main team of the Finnish team? Still, her last international appearances were with the Russian team in the 2017/2018 season. On the other hand, when Daria was in good shape, she medaled in World Cup races and became a European Championship bronze medalist.
If Virolainen is in peak condition, the path to the Finnish main team is open for her. After all, two of the top three Finnish biathletes ended their careers at the end of last season. These are Marie Eder (ranked 22nd overall) and Anastasia Kinnune (née Duborezova), ranked 53rd. Only Suvi Minkkinen (27th) remained from the base. That is, the Finnish team has big personnel problems, so such an experienced and motivated athlete like Virolainen will be very useful.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
The new biathlon season will kick off with the IBU Cup in Kontiolahti, Finland on November 30. for sure Daria Virolainen will perform at this start, and then she will appear on the World Cup stages, earning ranking points. And then everything is possible. In women’s biathlon, the results are very unpredictable. What if Daria Virolainen starts winning medals for Finland?