IBU President Olle Dahlin spoke at a press conference to open the World Championships ©IBU

International Biathlon Union (IBU) President Olle Dahlin has predicted an "unforgettable" World Championships in Antholz-Anterselva in Italy.

Dahlin said the Italian resort will provide the perfect location for the event, which begins tomorrow and concludes on February 23.

According to the IBU, around 20,000 people are expected to attend the Championships each day at the venue which is due to host biathlon at the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The IBU claim more than 330 hours of live coverage of the event will be broadcast on linear television across the world.

A total of 25 broadcasters are set to screen competitions, including 18 European Broadcasting Union members, the NBC Olympic channel and CCTV.

"The IBU World Championships in Antholz-Anterselva is the event many athletes and members of the biathlon family have been most looking forward to," said Dahlin.

French star Martin Fourcade is among the athletes set to compete at the World Championships ©Getty Images
French star Martin Fourcade is among the athletes set to compete at the World Championships ©Getty Images

"Antholz is a special place for biathlon. 

"There are few better places for biathletes to compete in the world and few places that can generate such amazing atmospheres.

"I have no doubt that this will create an unforgettable World Championships with thrilling competitions.

"Biathlon is going from strength to strength and the tens of thousands of spectators in the venue combined with the huge global audience who will watch these World Championships reflects the growing and global appetite there is for our sport."

French star Martin Fourcade, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, is among the athletes set to compete in Antholz and will look to extend his tally of 11 world titles.

Fourcade leads the overall IBU World Cup standings after a superb start to the campaign.

Johannes Thingnes Bø of Norway arrives as one of the favourites for gold across several disciplines after recording the fastest skiing times of the season so far.

Bø, a seven-time world champion, will aim for all four individual gold medals at the Championships.

On the women's side, Tiril Eckhoff of Norway will bid to convert her World Cup dominance into a second individual world title.

Italy's Dorothea Wierer is set to be among the other main contenders for glory over the nine days of competition.