Competition is set to begin tomorrow ©Getty Images

Over 300 athletes are set to compete behind closed doors at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships in Pokljuka.

A total of 12 events will be contested at the Slovenian resort, with 38 countries due to be represented.

The IBU said steps have been taken to boost the viewer experience due to COVID-19 protocols preventing fans from attending.

This will include defending champions wearing golden bibs as they compete in each event.

Around 300 hours of live coverage is expected to be broadcast on television, with more being made available across digital platforms.

"The world has changed significantly since we last hosted our World Championships and naturally we have had to adapt our premier event to reflect that,” said Olle Dahlin, IBU President.

"But what has remained the same is the dedication of our athletes and our desire to provide the very best environment for them to compete.

"We are grateful to the organising team in Pokljuka who have worked tirelessly in very difficult circumstances to ensure this event can go ahead.

"We have no doubt that the venue will provide excellent conditions for world-class biathlon.

"While we are disappointed we will not have fans in the stands we know that millions will be watching at home around the world."

No spectators will be permitted to watch the World Championships at the venue ©Getty Images
No spectators will be permitted to watch the World Championships at the venue ©Getty Images

Competition will begin tomorrow with the 4x7.5 kilometres mixed relay race, followed by a rest day.

The men’s 10km and women’s 7.5km sprint competitions will take place on consecutive days, with Russia’s Alexander Loginov and Norway’s Marte Olsbu Røiseland the respective defending champions.

Italy’s Dorothea Wierer will hope to defend both her women’s 10km pursuit and 15km titles at the Championships.

Røiseland and fellow Norwegian Tiril Eckoff will be among the medal contenders, with the duo currently occupying first and second place, respectively, in the IBU World Cup standings.

Norway are expected to dominate the men’s events as Johannes Thingnes Bø heads the World Cup standings ahead of compatriots Sturla Holm Lægreid, Tarjei Bø and Johannes Dale.

The World Championships are scheduled to take place until February 21.

Russian athletes and support personnel at the World Championships must use a modified Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) monochrome logo, as part of the two-year sanctions introduced under the recent Court of Arbitration for Sport decision in the World Anti-Doping Agency and Russian Anti-Doping Agency case.

The Russian flag, emblems or symbols cannot be used by their team at the World Championships, while the the Russian national anthem cannot be officially played or sung.

The anthem of the IBU should be played during any official ceremonies involving athletes from the RBU.

The World Championships had originally been awarded to Tyumen in Russia, but the country was later stripped of the event due to the country’s doping scandal.