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26 January 2015 | in Universiade 2015, Winter Universiade, Biathlon

An Italian Coach for Team Nippon

OSRBLIE – Present at this Universiade as a coach of two Japanese biathletes, Italian Ubaldo Prucker knows the FISU Universiade inside out.

It all started with his participation as a cross country skier at the Innsbruck Winter Universiade way back in 1968. Later on, he regularly played an important role in the organisation of the Winter Universiade: consultant at the 2003 Winter Universiade in Tarvisio, Italy; responsible for biathlon in Torino, Italy (2007), IBU Technical Delegate for biathlon in Harbin, China (2009) and Erzurum, Turkey (2011); sports director of the 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy and, today - maybe even more surprisingly - coach of Japan's biathlon team for the 2015 Winter Universiade here in Osrblie ...

“I took great pleasure in my first participation at the Universiade, which allowed me to meet people from different parts of the world, in a sporty and friendly atmosphere. I still have wonderful memories. This is why it is always a pleasure for me to return to the Universiade”, Ubaldo Prucker explained. “The competition level of the Universiade has made great strides forward since then. There are more and more athletes of a very high calibre and the quality of competition is really very high.”

But how does an Italian becomes the coach of two Japanese biathletes? “It's quite simple, since many years I participate in seminars set up by the IBU and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Japan. I also spent many months in the country of the Rising Sun on the occasion of the Sapporo Olympics in 1972 and those of Nagano in 1998. This allowed me to forge friendships and working relationships and to learn some basics of the Japanese language. I return every year”, Ubaldo Prucker explained.

When the Japanese Olympic Committee, which supports the Japanese delegation to the Universiade, asked him to take care of the training schedule of Tanaka and Takeda for this Winter Universiade, he did not hesitate for a second. Many efforts are made to improve the level of biathlon in Japan, a sport previously reserved almost exclusively for the military. The goal is to allow civilians to practice this sport and therefore increase the number of practitioners. “It's very positive. In the future, I am confident that Japan will send more good athletes to the Universiade”, Ubaldo concluded.


David Vandenplas, Media Assistant