Veltins-Arena track-thriller come of age!


Biathlon auf Schalke 2023 with its 20th anniversary Image: Veltins-Arena

The Biathlon World Team Challenge held every year at the Veltins-Arena at Schalke in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

‘VELTINS ARENA’ stated that come December 28th, 2023, and biathlon fans can look forward to goosebumps moments and adrenaline rush activities at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

The World Team Challenge is an international biathlon competition, which has been held every year between Christmas and New Year since 2002 at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Earlier, a similar competition was held at the same time of the year in Ruhpolding (municipality in Germany), but since 2001 the venue has changed due to financial woes. The competition isn’t part of the World Cup.

The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It is treated as a race, with contestants skiing through a cross-country trail whose distance is divided into shooting rounds. The shooting rounds are not timed per se, but depending on the competition, missed shots result in extra distance or time being added to the contestant’s total.

The event is run on a 1.5 km (0.93 mi) track with a 75 m (246 ft) penalty loop, and each team consists of a female and a male runner. The race is divided into four legs, with the first three being three km (1.9 mi) or two laps and the final leg being 4.5 km (2.8 mi) or 3 laps, totaling 13.5 km (8.4 mi).

The Arena AufSchalke, currently known as the Veltins-Arena for sponsorship reasons, is an indoor football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It opened on August 13th, 2001 as the new home ground for the Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04. It plays in Bundesliga, the top of the German football league system.

The FC Schalke 04 is a professional German football and multisport club originally from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The ‘04’ in the club’s name derives from its formation in 1904.

Since the year 2002, the above sport enjoys being the world’s biggest biathlon spectacle boasting steep slopes as part of the entire exercise. It also enjoys being one of the most popular Winter sports events.

Advance ticket sales are on, and fans can now secure the best seats at the Veltins-Arena at

‘VELTINS ARENA’ further stated that the whole biathlon spectacle idea was conceptualized in the year 2002 – to offer something adventurous and exciting to the television viewers post-Christmas celebrations. Thus, the biathlon event at Schalke was born – and gradually more and more people got attracted towards this fun-filled sport. The Biathlon World Team Challenge has had a loyal fan following right from the beginning. The event has a fixed date, almost – it is held between Christmas and New Year every year since 2002.

Every year the Veltins-Arena is chock-a-block with spectators and people are also glued to their television sets.

Observed Herbert Fritzenwenger, Chief Organizer of the event, “The biathlon at Schalke has developed into one of the most popular Winter sports events. We are very happy to welcome the world’s best athletes to Gelsenkirchen every year. The unique atmosphere and the close proximity that fans enjoy to the track appeal to both the fans and the athletes alike. We are thrilled that we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary this year and we have quite a few surprises in store for our spectators.”

Herbert Fritzenwenger is a West German cross-country skier and Biathlete who competed in the late 1980s, including the 1988 Winter Olympics. During his career, he bagged a silver medal and two bronze medals at the World Championships.

Every year, the Veltins-Arena atmosphere is all charged-up the day the biathlon show is held. Spectators almost set the track ablaze even outside the facility with their chants and roars and the excitement is all palpable as they cheer for the international teams partaking in the competition up close.

Musical shows are held and fireworks are on full display with people partying and letting their hair down.

Over the years, more and more panache is being added to the event. This year too, the snow required for the traditional event will be brought from the Alpenpark Neuss (Germany’s first indoor ski area) which thanks to a sustainability project will become carbon-neutral by Spring this year.

To mitigate the environmental pollution caused by vehicles, the FC Schalke 04 adopted the polluter-pays-policy in the year 2022 and brought in the desired results thus initiating its own small yet decisive step to heal the planet. Sustainability is a key factor of the above event and will play an integral part in future events too.

Commented Christina Rühl-Hamers, Member of the FC Schalke 04 Board Talent Team Challenge, “The biathlon at Schalke has become a prestigious event for FC Schalke 04 and for our region. I’m really looking forward to the 20th anniversary and I’m sure that fans will get to enjoy more special and treasured moments in the event this year. Apart from Ruhpolding and Oberhof, Gelsenkirchen is the third biathlon location in Germany.”

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