The funding means sport in Nova Scotia will be more inclusive, more competitive and more successful. It will also allow more of our athletes and coaches to stay and train in Nova Scotia, and in the end, give back to their own communities.

Jamie Ferguson, CEO
Sport Nova Scotia

Ciaran Dunn

Nationally ranked biathlon star gets the competitive edge

For Nova Scotian biathlon fans, the name Ciaran Dunn is synonymous with success. Ciaran has won 12 provincial gold medals, has been the top male athlete in his age group in Nova Scotia for several years, and holds two National cadet bronze medals. Needless to say, Ciaran excels in his sport.
“Biathlon is the combination of cross country skiing and shooting,” Ciaran explains, “And I got involved in the sport through the cadet program at my school, King’s Edgehill. One day coach [Debra] Medina asked me if I’d chosen a winter sport, which I hadn’t. She then proceeded to tell me about biathlon and all the opportunities available.”
The young student trusted his coach’s recommendation, and the next day Ciaran signed up for the biathlon team. It was that one, seemingly small gesture that has ultimately changed his life.
This coming fall will mark Ciaran’s eighth year competing in biathlon. He has been continuously successful despite facing certain challenges. As Ciaran’s mother Candice explains, biathlon is a largely neglected sport in Nova Scotia.
“Ciaran has worked hard at succeeding in this sport. Even with the disadvantage of inferior equipment, and restrictions in his practicing time caused by limited access to biathlon rifles, he has done well,” says Candice.
Certainly any athlete would testify that it’s an individual’s devotion to their sport that ultimately drives their success, however, when the sport in question requires specialized equipment, and an opponent’s equipment is superior, it’s not a level playing field.
“I wasn’t able to buy the top end gear, and was thus at a distinct disadvantage when competing in national competitions,” Ciaran explains. “When some athletes had multiple pairs of top end skis, I was using one pair of mediocre skis, thus performing to my full potential was impossible.”
The condition of Ciaran’s skis was not his only disadvantage. He also didn’t have access to his own waxing equipment, therefore he was forced to borrow his coach’s equipment. With this option not always possible, this meant that at times Ciaran was competing with little, or no wax on his skis and this greatly affected his speed.
Ever the supportive mother, Candice soon recognized that for her son to have a fair shot competitively, he would require the appropriate equipment.
“Funding for young athletes is really important for training and equipment costs which are crucial for success in most sports,” Candice explains.
When Ciaran received funding assistance from the Support4Sport program it made all the difference.
“The funding has given me the opportunity to compete at a much higher level and contend with competitors from other provinces in the nation,” Ciaran says.
Although some Support4Sport funding went towards travel costs, Ciaran used the bulk of the money to purchase new skis and equipment. In Ciaran’s opinion, this decision paid off.
“Having the lightest and strongest boots, skis and poles, gives me the ability to continue at top speed for much longer. My new equipment recently aided in my bronze medal finish at the National Cadet Biathlon Championships,” he says.
Candice is so proud of her son’s many accomplishments, yet she wishes there were more opportunities for him to pursue biathlon in his home province.
Candice explains that, “Athletes from provinces that fully support the biathlon programs, like Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, are almost always the most successful.”
Even with his hectic training schedule and frequent traveling, Ciaran managed to remain at the top of his high school class. During the last three years, Ciaran has also completed a full International Baccalaureate diploma, which is an advanced, university level program available at select schools throughout North America. Ciaran would have been a prime candidate for admission to any of the province’s prestigious university institutions, however, if Ciaran wished to continue his involvement in biathlon, it will require him to leave Nova Scotia. This past September, Ciaran did just that.
“Ciaran's decision to attend the University of Calgary was influenced by the fact that the university could provide a better access to biathlon training sites, allowing him to improve his skiing and range abilities,” says Candice.
Both Candice and Ciaran wish there were more opportunities in Nova Scotia for biathlon athletes.
“For the first several years in biathlon there was no access to rifles and there weren't many training opportunities outside of my school,” says Ciaran. “But in the past two years Biathlon Nova Scotia has really improved the training opportunities and actually has rifles available for some training for the athletes. Although it is certainly much better that it was in previous years, Biathlon Nova Scotia needs more funding as it is still below the level of most other provinces.”
Ciaran would like to encourage more spectators to come out and experience the sport firsthand.
“I would like the public to know how very exciting the sport of biathlon is to watch,” says Ciaran. “Those who compete in the sport understand the adrenaline rush and the excitement that comes from hitting a target or passing a competitor, but I would like people to understand what a wonderful spectator sport it is as well.”


Port Williams, NS
45° 6' 2.8152" N, 64° 24' 31.3992" W


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