This year’s Youth and Junior World Championships was held in Cheile Gradistei in Romania. We got underway on Wednesday with the Youth’s Individual race for both men and women. The Youth category is open to anyone aged under 18.
The women went first in the morning and the race was a very close one. In fact it was won by only 2 seconds in the end by Germany’s Marina Sauter. She missed 2 targets as did Myrtille Begue of France, the younger sister of Aristide Begue, to win the race. Begue took second and in third was the Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova.
The men were next and this race was dominated by Norway’s Harald Oeygard. He won by 40 seconds from compatriot Aleksander Fjeld Andersen. They both missed one target and in third place shooting clean was Italy’s Michael Durand.
The Sprint races came on Friday and the women started first with victory going to Norway’s Karoline Erdal who won by 25.5 seconds. The silver medal also went to Norway with Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg beating Ukraine’s Anna Kryvonos for second place. All three of the podium finishers missed one target.
The men’s race went to Russia with Igor Malinovskii claiming gold by 26.3 seconds. Norway were second with Endre Stroemsheim taking silver by just over a second from another Russian Viacheslav Maleev.
On Sunday we had all the Pursuit races for the Youths and Juniors. The Youth Women’s race was won by Arina Pantova of Kazakhstan by just 3.4 seconds from Anna Kryvonos who took silver. Third place went to Marina Sauter who made up 11 places coming from 14th to take the bronze medal.
In the men’s race Viacheslav Maleev moved up from 3rd to take gold ahead of countryman Mailinovskii who missed 7 shots but still managed to hold on to the silver medal. Bronze went to Harald Oeygard who came from 8th to grab 3rd place.
The final day of competition for the young biathletes was the Relays on Monday. The Women’s 3x6km Relay was won by Russia with a team of Iaroslava Pervakova, Valeriia Vasnetcova and Polina Shevnina. They used 8 spare rounds in total and finished almost 25 seconds ahead of the second placed team the Czech Republic. Their team of Natalie Jurcova, Marketa Davidova and Tereza Vinlarkova used only 6 spares to claim silver. The bronze medal went to the Norwegian team of Kristina Skjevdal, Emilie Kalkenberg and Karoline Erdal who had 1 penalty loop but made up for it with fast skiing.
The Men’s 3x 7.5km Relay was the last race of the Youth competition and the gold medal went to the Norwegian team of Endre Stroemsheim, Aleksander Andersen and Harald Oeygard. It wasn’t really a surprise as each member of the team had already won individual medals. The silver medal went to the Russian team of Egor Tutmin, Viacheslav Maleev and Igor Malinovskii. The bronze was won by Italy who have had a good men’s competition. Michael Durand, Peter Tumler and Daniele Cappellari needed only 6 spares to make the podium.
That concludes this seasons Youth World Championships and has given us a few names to look out for in the future. The Norwegians and Russians have strong teams as you would expect but Italy also did well and so did Kazakhstan. Harald Oeygard had an impressive competition winning 2 gold and 1 bronze medal. The Russian pair of Malinovskii and Maleev also took home a gold medal and 2 silvers each. Erdal and Kalkenberg did well for the women as did Alina Pantova and Marina Sauter. Keep an eye out for them going forward because as you can see the future of biathlon is in good hands!
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