Double Olympic champion Laura Dahlmeier could make an earlier return to the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup circuit than expected as she is set to make her first competitive appearance of the season at an event in Italy tomorrow.
The formidable German, winner of the 7.5 kilometres sprint and 10km pursuit events at this year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, is not fit enough to compete at the World Cup beginning in Hochfilzen on the same day.
Dahlmeier competing at an IBU Cup event for the first time in her career has fuelled speculation she could participate in a World Cup event sooner than first thought, however.
The 25-year-old has taken a break from the sport through illness and has missed the start to the World Cup season, which began in Pokljuka in Slovenia last weekend.
The next stop after Hochfilzen, which hosted last year's World Championship and is due to stage the second World Cup of the campaign from tomorrow until Sunday (December 16), is in Nové Město na Moravě.
The event in the Czech Republic beginning on December 20 is likely to come too soon for Dahlmeier and others on the circuit will look to capitalise on her continued absence in the Austrian resort.
Defending overall champion Kaisa Mäkäräinen of Finland won the women's sprint and pursuit in Pokljuka, while Yuliia Dzhima of Ukraine calimed her first World Cup gold in the individual event.
Both are on the start list for tomorrow's 7.5km sprint race.
The event is then due to continue with the men's 10km sprint on Friday (December 14) before the men's and women's pursuits are held on Saturday (December 15).
The final day of the competition includes both relays.