Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia), Ekaterina Yurlova (Russia) and Michela Ponza (Italy) were the first to leave the the first leg prone shooting stage. Valj Semerenko of Ukraine closely trailed the group.
Ponza shot clean and fast on the second stage and took the lead. She was followed by Veronika Vitkova of Czech Republic and Semerenko. This shooting was a real tragedy for Russian team as Ekaterina Yurlova couldn’t hit 3 targets even with extra cartridges. At the first exchange she was only in the 16th position.
Russia finally fell off the battle for a medal spot when Anna Bogaliy-Titovets just like Yurlova missed 3 targets in the prone shooting.
Meanwhile Vita Semerenko gained the lead, followed by Karin Oberhofer (Italy) and Miriam Gossner 15 seconds back.
Darya Domracheva of Belarus shot clean in the fourth round and became a race leader. Vita Semerenko used 2 extra bullets and left the shooting range second. Marie Laure Brunet went on the loop third. Before her exchange Byelorussian biathlete extended the gap from 10 up to 18 seconds.
On the third leg Nadezhda Pisareva (Belorus), Olena Pidhrushna (Ukraine) and Sophie Boilley (France) kept their national teams in the top three.
Right after the last exchange Oksana Khvostenko of Ukraine passed Ludmila Kalinchuk from Belarus. It should be noted that by the last leg Germany was a minute behind when Magdalena Neuner completely changed the situation. At first she moved from the 4th position up when overtook Marie Dorin and became second after the final shooting round. She went on the loop 24,7 seconds behind the Ukrainian. By the finish not only did she pass Khvostenko but also gained a 24 second advantage. French biathlete finished in the third position, 47 seconds back.]]>
– First of all, I’d like to note that for the first time in the history of biathlon as many as 11 countries, 11 teams has won medals at the World Championships.
It started with a mixed relay with 26 strongest teams participating. The mixed race results prove that our decision to include this discipline in the Olympic program 2014 was absolutely right. Personally, I’m very optimistic because the Sochi representatives have also supported our initiative. The decision whether it will be included in the Olympic program or not will be taken by IOC executive board at their meeting in April, London.
I regret that we didn’t have a higher number of spectators at the stadium at the beginning of the Championship. Also I’d like to see more people at the town square where the award ceremony took place in the evening. I think these fantastic athletes deserved to have a bigger crowd at the ceremony.
I’d like to inform you that some of the root changes were made at the Congress in St-Petersburg last September. We’re now able to reduce the start field in World Cups from 130-140 athletes down to approximately 90 athletes which means we’re having a higher quality at the World Cups and offer our athletes fair and equal conditions.
And I’m also very pleased to see that we haven’t had so called post-Olympic drop in the interest for the biathlon sport no matter if we’re speaking about spectators at stadiums around the world or TV ratings.
Throughout the season, athletes have been competing under extremely varying conditions from extreme cold to rainy weather. But the very best were able to win. And I must say I’m very happy to see that so many young athletes are now challenging the so-called established athletes, some of the youngest athletes are now leading the World Cups and have also been picking most of the medals at this Championship.
The athletes themselves elected the Athletes committee and the new members of this committee are Daria Domracheva from Belarus, Olga Zaitseva from Russia, Christoph Sumann from Austria and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen from Norway.
The next season we’ll visit two new places with our World Cup, the first one is Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France, and the second is Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.]]>
Biathlon is getting younger; the biathletes who top the ratings now are just over 20 years old. Our national team has many young and very talented biathletes as well, but unfortunately they are not among the world leaders. Due to this fact RBU has decided to thoroughly analyze the performance of our athletes, define problems and find solutions. To do so, we’ll get a special analytical department involved in the effort.
This year Russia has been hosting both IBU Congress and IBU World Championships Biathlon. The preparation of these events took a long time and subsequently less attention was paid to the biathletes themselves. That’s why during this season we must focus on training of our biathletes.
The World Championships Biathlon is a kind of experiment before the Sochi Olympiad. The Russian biathletes have been dealing with “extra” psychological pressure, which on no account should affect their performance. In 2014 the tension will definitely be much stronger, which means our sportsmen should be as prepared as Norway’s and Germany’s biathletes are for this Championship. Concentration and relaxation will guarantee our success in Sochi.]]>
The Championship is coming to an end. What are your impressions of the competitions?
– To tell the truth, I’m not satisfied with my performance – I wish I had made it to the podium. But it’s OK. There are lots of strong biathletes now, and I’m happy to participate in the World Championship which is a great achievement alone. I really love sports and I wouldn’t want to spend my time on anything else. There’s one exception – my family. I’ve got a son whom I miss a lot.
What are you expectations of the final Championship race?
– I think one should always hope for the best – it’s the key to success. Your performance doesn’t depend only on whether you are well-trained or not – it can be affected by different things. Anyhow, I always try to start a race in a good mood.
Do you like Khanty-Mansiysk?
– Yes, it’s beautiful. I like the Russians, I like their attitude to biathlon and the way sport events are organized in Russia. The climate is really harsh here. If the weather had been milder from the very beginning of the Championship, the biathletes could have done much better.]]>
Emil Hegle Svendsen: I have been preparing for the World Championship for a long time. In the end of the January I felt like I’m losing the shape so I refused to take part in the World Cup in the USA.After the final shooting I wasn’t sure if I win, because of the 10 seconds time lag. During the last loop I tried to overcome Evgeniy Ustyugov and safe energy for the finish at the same time. I’m really happy with this medal. I grew up skiing and trainings and competitions are important parts of my life. We have very good conditions for training in Norway, a good system of preparing young athletes – this is one of the reasons of our success.
Evgeniy Ustyugov: During the last loop I was followed by Emil Svendsen and Lukas Hofer and they both were very strong competitors today. I knew that once Emil reaches me he will overcome me so I didn’t have choice but to keep near. After the start I realized that I’m in a great shape and the main priority for me today is to shoot clean. Sometimes I had a feeling that the mass-start is very similar to such like competition in the Olympic Games in Vancouver when the same people were competing for first places. I shoot clean and I think I did well today. The last two days showed what the Russian team can do. Maxim Maksimov was the first to take a medal and after that we realized that we can equally compete with other biathletes.
Lukas Hofer: I tried to take the prize in every single race but I made way too much mistakes. Today I tried to shoot clean and the race went almost perfect. This is an incredible feeling when you lead in the race and shot from the first position. I tried to calm down and made only one mistake. I hope once I’m in the top 3 again everything will go even better.]]>
All thirty athletes came to the first shooting range together. The warm and calm weather was perfect for shooting so fourteen biathletes made no mistakes on the shooting ranges. Lucas Hofer (Italy) led the race together with Martin Fourcade (France) and Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway). But at the 5.6 km mark Tarjei Boe from Norway who left the shooting range 12th took the lead.
The second shooting turned out to be clean for nineteen biathletes. Nine of them left the shooting range in one pack with Lucas Hofer, Martin Fourcade and Christoph Sumann (Austria) leading. On the third loop they were locked in a tight battle but the first to come to the stadium was Lars Berger (Norway) followed by Christoph Sumann and Martin Fourcade. On the third shooting bout there were only five biathletes with flawless shooting. Hofer, Boe, Svendsen, Ustyugov ended the shooting first. Andrei Makoveev, with three clean shooting stages, trailed them 20 seconds back.
Russia`s Ustyugov and Makoveev showed top results on the last standing shooting. For some time Ustyugov retained a ten second lead over Svendsen who was waiting for the right moment and overtook him as they were approaching the stadium. Lucas Hofer of Italy crossed the finish line fourteen seconds back.]]>