Gainsborough teacher picked for British biathle team at world championships

John Anderson, who has been selected for the British biathle team.
John Anderson, who has been selected for the British biathle team.

A veteran teacher from a Gainsborough school has spoken of his delight after being selected to represent Great Britain at the world championships for the sport of biathle, which combines swimming and running.

John Anderson, of Parish Church Primary School, will be part of the team that travels to St Petersburg in Florida, USA at the end of October.

His selection follows success at his first attempt at the National Biathle Championships at Salford Quays in Manchester, where he finished a well-deserved third.

Anderson said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be an athlete competing for my country, especially at my age and especially because I am a grandad!

“It makes me feel extremely proud. I am also very lucky to have a school that supports me in the way they do.”

Anderson chose to try biathle after impressing in the similar sport of modern biathlon when winning the masters title at the British Championships and then finisning second in the male teachers’ event at the British Schools Championships.

He added: “It was a real step into the unknown because you get to rest between the two disciplines of swimming and running in modern biathlon, whereas biathle is non-stop.

“I surprised myself with my performance at Salford Quays because I can’t do any running training due to my ageing knees. So I cycle to stay fit and swim occasionally.

“I had lots of butterflies because of nerves, but once I started, I just focused on doing my best. It was hard work, and my legs were rather sore the next day!”

Anderson competed in the masters A event for men over 40 and had to run 1200m before completing a 100m swim and then leave the water for a further 1200m run.

As he proudly held his bronze medal, he was told that he had finished inside the 12-minute qualification time for the World Championships and so had been picked for the British team. He is now looking for sponsors to help him to the States.

A representative of the school said: “John is a real inspiration to all the children with his dedication to sport. He has shown them that anything is possible.”