Just a few days after the Senior World Championships ended attention was turned to Brezno-Osrblie for the Youth and Junior World Championships. Taking over hosting duties from Ostrov the youngsters all headed to Slovakia for the competition.
Wednesday was the first day of action and it was the Individual races that got us underway. The Youth Men went first. They have to be 19 or under to compete in the Youth races.
The first gold medal went to Canada when Leo Grandbois was the only biathlete to shoot the perfect score of 20/20. With a light drizzle and no wind it was quite surprising that he was the only one to shoot clean but it worked out well for him. Some others missed 14 or 15 shots out of 20 but they are just at the beginning of their careers and have plenty of time to improve the shooting. The silver medal went to Russia’s Said Khalili with 3 misses and the bronze medal went to Danilo Riethmueller of Germany also with 3 misses.
In the afternoon it was the turn of the Youth Women. This time France were victorious with Lou Jeanmonnet Laurent taking the gold medal with 19/20. The silver again went to Russia with Kristina Egorova also hitting 19/20 and the bronze medal went to Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg (yes there is another one!) who missed 2 targets.
On Thursday came the Sprints. The strong wind made conditions difficult but in the end it was Emilien Claude (the 3rd brother in the Claude biathlon dynasty) of France who dealt with them the best. He missed 2 targets but is a very good skier and won the race by 25 seconds. The silver medal went to Serhiy Telen of the Ukraine with 1 miss and the bronze went to Norway’s Sivert Bakken with 2 misses. Not one biathlete shot clean so 9/10 was the best shooting score possible.
The Women had slightly better conditions and the race was won by Irene Landschneider from Italy. She hit 9/10 to win by over a minute from second place. That went to Austria with Anna Gandler also hitting 9/10. Clean shooting and taking the bronze medal was another Italian Samuela Comola. The only other woman to shoot clean was Finland’s Maija Keraenen who was 13th.
Sunday was Pursuit day and for the men Emilien Claude kept his lead and won his second gold medal despite missing 4 targets. Italy took another medal with Cedric Cristille moving from 4th to 2nd to take silver with just 2 misses and bronze went to the German Danilo Riethmueller (4 misses) making that 2 medals for him.
The women’s race produced yet another Italian medal with Irene Landschneider winning her second gold in a row and like Claude she also missed 4 shots. France’s Jeanmonnot took her second medal moving from 14th to 2nd with just 1 miss. Third went to Italy again with Samuela Comola hanging on to bronze.
The final races were held on Monday and it was the Men’s and Women’s Relays. The Youth Relays only have 3 biathletes instead of 4 racing. The men’s race was won by Norway with a team of Joergen Krogsaeter, Vebjoern Soerum and Sivert Bakken. They used just 6 spares between them. The Russian team took silver despite incurring 2 penalty loops on the final leg. The team of Aleksandr Miakonkii, Ilia Novopashin and Said Kalili beat Belarus into third. Their team of Kiryl Tsiuryn, Ilya Auseyenka and Dzmitry Lazouski needed just 8 spares.
The gold medal winners in the women’s race were the Russian team of Ekaterina Sannikova, Anastasiia Goreeva and Kristina Egorova. They also went on the penalty loop but still managed to beat the Norwegian team of Marthe Johansen, Marit Skogan and Mari Wetterhus who only used 4 spares. Italy took the bronze with a team of Samuela Comola, Irene Landschneider and Martina Vigna.
There were some very strong performances by the young biathletes here in Brezno with Emilien Claude and Irene Landschneider both winning double golds. It was a strong team performance by the young Italians overall and as usual the Germans, Russians and Norwegians all took medals. It will be interesting to see how they all progress in the next few years.
Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!