The International Biathlon Union hopes to help plant 100,000 trees courtesy of its Biathlon Climate Challenge ©IBU

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has launched the Biathlon Climate Challenge, which aims to connect an active lifestyle with climate action.

People will have the chance to join one of 10 different teams - all led by star names in the sport including Olympic champions Sebastian Samuelsson of Sweden and Olena Pidhrushna of Ukraine.

They will then be challenged to track their physical activity in a fitness app which will convert the distance they have covered or calories they have burned into trees to be planted by a reforestation project.

The challenge is set to start on May 1 with the aim of planting 100,000 trees.

Running, cycling, hiking, yoga and cross-fit are among the activities that will count on Active Giving’s app.

A live leaderboard is also set to be displayed on the IBU’s official website so the progress of each team can be tracked as they battle it out to contribute the highest number of trees.

The planting of trees is to be carried out by Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organisation, which aims to provide fair-wage employment to impoverished villagers as agents of global forest restoration.

Germany’s Franziska Preuß, Italy’s Dorothea Wierer, Estonia’s Regina Oja, Émilien Jacquelin of France, Norway’s Johannes Dale, Jules Burnotte of Canada, Susan Dunklee of the United States and Croatia’s Jakov Fak have also agreed to become team leaders.

"As a winter sport we are heavily dependent on cold winters and snow," said IBU President Olle Dahlin.

"Thus, we must take on our responsibility in the fight against climate change.

"By sponsoring the Biathlon Climate Challenge we are advocating for climate action and sustainable development within the biathlon family and winter sports.

"The challenge is a fun way to connect our fans with the athletes and encourage them to keep physically active, with the added benefit it is good for the environment.

"We invite our fans to actively contribute together with athletes to reduce biathlon’s impact on the climate."

The first Biathlon Climate Challenge was announced in honour of Earth Day on April 22.

The IBU said it was also part of its 10-year sustainability strategy, which started last September.

Its ambition is to reduce emissions aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and to be climate neutral as a sport by 2030.