The Junior Open European Championships were held in Pokljuka, Slovenia and were another chance for the Junior biathletes to get some competition practice and some more Championship experience.
The first race was the Men’s Individual and was won by Viktar Kryuko from Belarus. He missed 1 target and finished 1 minute 15 second ahead of second place. The silver medal went to Anton Dudchenko of Ukraine who also missed just 1 target with bronze medal going to Kazakhstan’s Roman Yeremin who shot 18/20.
In the Women’s Individual Ukrainian Anastasiya Merkushyna took gold by 35 seconds shooting 20/20. Silver went to Germany’s Christin Maier who also shot 20/20 but couldn’t match the ski pace of the winner. The bronze medal went to Lena Arnaud of France who missed 1 target and was only 49 seconds behind first place which means that one shot cost her the chance of the gold medal.
Friday was a rest day after the Individual races and so we waited until Saturday for the Sprints. In the Men’s race Viktar Kryuko claimed double gold by winning again. He missed 2 targets but still managed to ski fast enough to win by 2.6 seconds. Winning the silver medal was Germany’s Dominic Reiter who shot 10/10 but wasn’t fast enough on the skis to get gold. Bronze also went to Germany with David Zobel.
In the Women’s race Lena Arnaud added gold to her bronze medal from the Individual. She shot 10/10 to win by 23.4 seconds. Silver medal went to her teammate Chloe Chevalier who missed 2 targets and shooting clear to win bronze was Christin Maier.
The final 2 races were the Pursuits. Moving up from third and taking gold was David Zobel.He missed 2 shots but won by a comfortable margin of 27 seconds. The silver medal went to France’s Emilien Jacquelin who after finishing the first 2 races in 5th place finally made it on to the podium. The bronze medal was won by Anton Dudchenko.
The Women’s race was won by Julia Simon of France who came from fifth to win by 21 seconds. The silver medal went to the Sprint winner Lena Arnaud and Christin Maier retained her third place start to get another bronze medal.
That concludes the Open European Championships for the Juniors. France, Germany and the Ukraine took most of the medals and Kazakhstan got 1 too. Viktar Kryuko was the star winning 2 gold medals for Belarus and Lena Arnaud got gold,silver and bronze for France. That’s it for the Juniors this season but it was good to see them getting their own World Cup rounds as well as the World and European Championships to help them gain experience to hopefully move on to the IBU Cup and eventually the World Cup! Remember where you read about them first though – on Biathlon23!
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