Tag Archives: Dzinara Alimbekava

Oestersund 2019: Women’s Sprint!

Like a piece of flat pack furniture from Ikea, Anastasiya Kuzmina constructed herself a great sprint race in Oestersund. Despite suffering from laryngitis and missing 1 target she was still able to win the gold medal! It was her first at World Championships to add to her two Olympic sprint titles.

She made a fantastic decision to start the race even though she is unwell and proved her choice to continue competing this season was a good one.

It was a strange race with a lot of misses on the range but I suppose that is not so unusual in Oestersund with the tricky wind conditions.
It was the favourites who struggled most however with Tiril Eckhoff missing 2, then Dorothea Wierer missing 2, Kaisa Makarainen missed 2, Lisa Vittozzi missed 3 (unheard of!) and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland missed 4!!! Wierer and Makarainen both had falls on the course which also cost them more time.

Kuzmina missed her shot on the prone but cleaned the stand to come out of the rage just over a second off the lead. That was held by Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold who hit all 10 targets and that would win her the silver medal at her first World Championships. Kuzmina didn’t gain too much time on the uphills but in the last part of track she made up around 8 seconds to secure victory.

Third place went to Laura Dahlmeier who is also sick with a cold. She hit 10/10 and just beat Hanna Oberg by under a second to get the bronze medal. Not the way to make yourself popular with the home crowd!!! Oberg was followed home in 5th by teammate Mona Brorsson, both with a single miss and 6th place went to Denise Herrmann with 2 misses.

Wierer takes back the yellow bib after finishing 10th with Vittozzi back in 21st. With a minute separating the top 20 women we should be in for an amazing pursuit race on Sunday! An if we learned anything from today it’s that it’s best to race when you are sick!!! 😉

There were also a lot of personal bests today of course as it’s International Women’s Day the ladies were keen to show off how fabulous they all are.

Dzinara Alimbekava was 13th, Sari Maeda was 14th, Joanne Reid was 15th, Johanna Taliharm was 20th in bib23!, Irina Kruchinkina was 22nd and Natalja Kocergina was 27th.

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European Champs 2019: Raubichi!

We are back in Belarus for the Open European Championships! Minsk-Raubichi is the location which held the Youth/Junior World Championships back in 2015.

A lot of the World Cup athletes who skipped the North American World Cup races were there to prepare for World Championships so there was a good mix of World Cup, IBU Cup and Junior biathletes.

The first races were the individuals held on Wednesday in windy, snowy conditions. The men raced first and master of the individual Bulgaria’s Krasimir Anev took the gold medal. He missed just one shot to claim the title ahead of Tarjei Boe in second and Endre Stroemshiem in third. Boe missed 3 targets and Stroemshiem 2.

The women’s race was won by Olympic champion Hanna Oberg with an evil wind blowing in the range. Despite 3 misses she skied well to take the victory. Yuliia Zhurakov missed just one shot in bib23 to take the silver! Bronze went to home racer Iryna Kryuko with 2 misses.

Thursday was relay day with both the single mixed and mixed relays. They both came down to the final leg.

In the single it was Russia who took the win despite a penalty loop from Evgeniya Pavlova on the third leg. Her teammate Dmitry Malyshko turned it round in the final leg in some tricky shooting conditions. In fact Norway could have won this but Endre Stroemshiem had a nightmare on the final stand and did three penalty loops.

Behind Russia were the Swedish duo of Anna Magnusson and Jesper Nelin using 6 spares to take the silver medal. Bronze went to the young French team of Lou Jeanmonnot and Aristide Begue also with 6 spares required.

In the mixed relay we had a similar situation with home team Belarus in the lead at the final exchange with Germany in second and Sweden 20 seconds behind in third. However Sebastian Samuelsson on the last leg turned it around and gave Sweden the gold medal with teammates Emma Nilsson, Mona Brorsson and Martin Ponsiluoma. They needed 8 spares with Samuelsson using just one of those to take victory.

Philipp Horn anchored Germany to silver with a perfect leg. He wasn’t fast enough to match Samuelsson on the skis but second was a good result with the team of Nadine Horchler, Jannina Hettich and Lucas Fratzscher.

The bronze medal went to the home team Belarus with a team of Dzinara Alimbekava, Hanna Sola, Raman Yaliotnau and Sergey Bocharnikov.

Saturday was the day for the sprints and the men raced first and had the better conditions again with less wind. It was Tarjei Boe who took the title with 1 miss. Luckily his pesky little brother wasn’t here to ruin victory this time!!! He finished 10 seconds ahead of Jesper Nelin who shot 10/10. Also shooting clean in third was Dmitry Malyshko.

He just got the bronze by 0.4 of a second from Aristide Begue who also cleaned the targets and was very unlucky not to podium but it was an impressive race from him considering those who finished ahead of him are all World Cup biathletes. Home racer Sergey Bocharnikov was 5th and Vladimir Iliev was 6th.

The wind picked up a little more for the women’s sprint but was no where near as bad as in the individuals. This race went to Sweden with a fantastic race from Mona Brorsson. She shot clean and skied well to grab the gold medal by 37.5 seconds. The silver medal went to Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht with 1 miss and Hanna Oberg took bronze despite missing twice in the stand.

Svetlana Mironova was 4th, Karoline Knotten was 5th and Fabienne Hartweger 6th.

The final races of the competition were Sunday’s pursuits. With the Swedish team deciding not to race so they could head home for World Championships preparation there were medals up for grabs.

It meant that with no Jesper Nelin in the men’s race Tarjei Boe’s 11 second lead turned into a 35 second lead from Dmitry Malyshko. He made the most of that cushion staying out front the whole race and just missing his very last shot on the final shoot. It was a pretty lonely race for him.

Behind Boe we got some action. There were a few changes of position on the first three shoots but the last stand was decisive. Only two of the top six shot clean and they were Matvey Eliseev and Haavard Bogetveit. After doing one penalty loop Sergey Bocharnikov was in third but Bogetveit’s clean shoot meant he could catch and pass him on the tracks. Eliseev took silver and Bogetveit bronze.

Bocharnikov was 4th, Andrejs Rastorgujevs 5th and Malyshko 6th.

The women’s race was very similar with no Brorsson or Oberg it gave Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht a ten second lead at the front. With her perfect shooting on the first three shoots she build up a lead that no one could catch. She also missed 1 on her final stand but skied home with a 38 second winning margin.

Second and third was also decided on the final shoot. Iryna Kyruko, Nadine Horchler, Dunja Zdouc and Evgeniya Pavlova all hit 5/5 to overtake Karoline Knotten who missed 1 and Fabienne Hartweger who missed 3. Kryuko had a good enough lead to take the silver to the delight of the home crowd. Zdouc left the range in third but was caught by Horchler who took bronze.

Zdouc was 4th, Knotten 5th and Pavlova 6th.

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Oberhof 2019: The Sprints!

We are back in Oberhof! Or are we? Snowy,calm conditions – are you sure we are in Oberhof? Yes we are and we should enjoy winter now that it has arrived!

The first race after the Christmas break was the women’s sprint and I am sure Lisa Vittozzi didn’t mind her late gift. She won comfortably on Thursday shooting clean and leading the field by five seconds to take her first ever win on the World Cup. It has been on the cards for a while now and she deserves to make it on to the top step of the podium.

Second place went to Anais Chevalier following up her third place in the final race of 2018 the mass start in Nove Mesto. She also shot clean and managed to stay ten seconds clear of the third place finisher Hanna Oberg. She also shot clean as did Iryna Kryuko in 5th and Vita Semerenko in 6th. It was only 4th placed Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who spoiled the top six all shooting clean by missing 1 target.

The USA had a great day with Susan Dunklee in 10th and Clare Egan in 13th. Dzinara Alimbekava got her personal best finish in 25th as did Susanna Meinen in 39th, Tuuli Tomingas in 42nd and Karoline Knotten in 50th. It wasn’t the best day for our leaders with Paulina Fialkova in 21st, Dorothea Wierer in 24th and Kaisa Makarainen in 44th.

Oberhof was back to normal on Friday for the men’s sprint with some fog and wind! We knew it wouldn’t last! From last to first (great segue!) – it was a day of firsts for the guys. Alexander Loginov won the race to get his first ever World Cup win and Sebastian Samuelsson was third for his first World Cup podium. I think Johannes has been on the podium before though! 😉

Loginov shot clean to win by 25 seconds. A costly miss in the stand put Boe in second and Samuelsson also hit 10/10 in third. Benni Doll was 4th, Arnd Peiffer 5th and Julian Eberhard 6th all hitting 9/10.

Austria’s Felix Leitner got his personal best result in 12th shooting clean as did Anton Smolski in 26th and Simon Bartko in 50th.

Martin Fourcade missed 1 shot to finish 7th and will start 22 seconds behind Johannes Boe in the pursuit. That should be fun! 😉


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Spring Things 2018!

Spring was depressing, wasn’t it! It started off with the raid at IBU HQ in Salzburg. The President of the IBU Anders Besseburg and the General Secretary Nicole Resch are both under investigation by the Austrian police for covering up positive doping samples from Russian biathletes. At the time of writing no charges have been brought against either party but both stepped down from their positions while the investigation is on going. Both deny any wrong doing.

Then we had all the retirements to deal with! The legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finally called it a day although I think he made the decision at rifle point as he seemed a bit reluctant to retire! We won’t get rid off him though, he will be coaching or commentating next season I am sure. 🙂

It was not a surprise when his teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen also gave up the sport. He made no secret of the fact that he would go after the Olympics. I know what you are thinking – whose hair will I admire now? Well I take a keen interest in Sebastian Samuelsson’s coiffure but actually I have found someone with even better hair than Emil! Step forward German para- biathlete Steffen Lehmker! 🙂

Jean Guillaume Beatrix has gone too. Very sad to see a biathlon23 interviewee finish their career mainly because it is not allowed! Americans Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey also hung up their rifles along with Russell Currier leaving a lot of space to fill on the men’s team. Jaroslav Soukup and Daniel Mesotitsch retired too. Florian Graf quit and in a bit of a shock so did Canada’s Macx Davies! No!

On the women’s side we said goodbye to a lot of mums! Marie Dorin Habert, Karin Oberhofer and Weronika Nowakowska all stopped racing. All three women have young children so that may have come into their decisions. Then at the end of June Darya Domracheva decided that she would also retire wanting to focus on her child too. This followed the announcement from Nadezhda Skardino at the start of June that she was ending her career thus decimating the Belarus Olympic gold medal Relay team!

Eva Tofalvi, Hilde Fenne, Coline Varcin and Olga Podchufarova also gave up biathlon. And we lost another biathlon23 interviewee in Julia Ransom. 😦

Miriam Goessner has changed sports to go to cross country skiing. Her back problems meant she had trouble carrying the rifle and her aim meant she had trouble hitting the targets! 😉 Good luck Miri!

Gabriela Koukalova will not race again this season and possibly not ever again. She seems to have fallen out of love with biathlon! How could she?!! She also has an autobiography out which has already caused a bit of controversy. Think the fame may have gone to her head a bit! 😉

In other news Mario Dolder got married and Selina Gasparin is pregnant with her second child in exciting times for the Swiss. Not with each other though just to be clear!

Jakov Fak got married too and Ondrej Moravec had a little boy called Ondrej. Again not with each other!

Nadezhda Pisareva also married Russian ski technician Andrey Shatokin. Johannes Boe will be married on the 30th of June and Marte Olsbu and Mari Laukkanen will also get married this summer. You guessed it – not to each other! 😉

My postman assures me that he didn’t lose my wedding invitations so I have no idea what has happened to them!!!

In less exciting news Simon Schempp broke his shoulder in a bike accident and Dzinara Alimbakava had surgery on her shoulder. Florent Claude had a operation for compartment syndrome in his shins and Anton Shipulin has mononucleosis.

Finally we had the coaching merry-go-round! I don’t think so many changes have been made in the Spring before! Take a deep breath, possibly grab a snack and a drink – follow this if you can!

USA:
The Americans lost both their coaches this Spring. The women’s coach Jonne Kähkönen went back to the Finnish women’s team and the men’s coach Jonas Johansson went back to Sweden as Development Coach. They were replaced by Michael Greis (Men) and Armin Auchentaller (Women). They now have Tim Burke as athlete development manager. He didn’t stay away for long, did he!!!

France:
The French team made big changes with the appointments of Vincent Vittoz, a former cross-country skier, and Patrick Favre from the Italian team taking over as the men’s coaches. Coaching the French women will be Fredric Jean and Vincent Porret.

Norway:
The coaches for the women’s team have changed. Patrick Oberegger moves from the Italian team and ex-cross country skier Sverre Kaas will take care of the skiing.

Germany:
Germany have gone for youth with their new coaches all in their 30’s. Mark Kirchner is now head of the German men and women with Gerald Honig as German national shooting coach. Kristian Mehringer is the Senior Women’s coach with Florian Steirer as his assistant. Isidor Scheurl is the new men’s assistant coach.

Poland:
Nadija Belova is the new Polish women’s head coach taking over from Tobias Torgersen.

Italy:
Andreas Zingerle is the new World Cup and Elite Team coach. He will be assisted by Andrea Zattoni while Klaus Hoellrigl and Nicola Pozzi will coach the A team. Olympic gold medallist in shooting without skiing (apparently that’s a thing!) Niccolò Campriani will be shooting coach for all the Italian biathletes.

Russia:

New RBU president Vladimir Drachev has appointed Anatoly Khovantsev as the new head coach. He will take the men’s team with Sergei Idinov assisting him. Vitaly Noritsyn is the women’s coach with assistant Sergei Bashkirov.

Czech Republic:
Norwegian Egil Gjelland is the new coach of the women’s team. The former coach of Norway’s men will be joined by Jiří Holubec and Tomáš Kašpar. Zdeněk Vitek moves from the women’s team to coach the men with another Norwegian Anders Bratli assisting him as well as Aleš Ligaun.

Austria:
The Austrian men’s team will be coached by Ricco Gross after he left his job with the Russian men’s team.

Ukraine:
Andrei Prokunin will take over as the new Women’s Coach for Ukraine. Uros Velepec will most likely return to coach Slovenia.

Switzerland:
The new women’s head coach is Austrian Sandra Flunger who happens to be Simon Eder’s cousin!

If you have made it this far I congratulate you and encourage you to consider climbing Everest – it’s a similar feat! 😉

I imagine I have forgotten some retirements, events or coaching changes but there is a lot going on!


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Season Review 2017/18: Women

Well the women have done it again! Providing some of the best racing of the season and taking the Overall Title down to the very last race! Amazing!

Victory in the end went to Kaisa Makarainen after a quite astonishing final race in Tyumen. It came down to a head to head between herself and Anastasiya Kuzmina in the Mass Start. They were together after the final shoot but Kaisa was stronger on the tracks eventually finishing 6th and taking the title by just 3 points. It is Kaisa’s third overall title and definitely the hardest!

It was also a fantastic season for Anastasiya Kuzmina. Her best ever. She won 5 World Cup races and also a gold medal in the Olympic Mass Start race. She also won the small crystal globes for the Sprint and Pursuit and was second overall on the World Cup.

Nadezhda Skardino won the Individual title taking her first crystal globe. Kaisa Makarainen won the small globe for the Mass Start to add to the big one.

Darya Domracheva finished the season in third place in the Overall after a great season winning 6 races on the World Cup. Last year’s champion Laura Dahlmeier had to settle for fourth. Dorothea Wierer finished fifth overall and young teammate Lisa Vittozzi was in sixth with 3 podium finishes to her name.

Other women who won races this season were of course Skardino, Denise Hermann, Justine Braisaz, Dorothea Wierer, Tiril Eckhoff and Vanessa Hinz.

At the Olympic Games Laura Dahlmeier won the Sprint and the Pursuit gold medals. Hanna Oberg surprised everyone with a magnificent performance to win the Individual and Kuzmina took gold in the Mass Start. The Women’s Relay went to Belarus with Domracheva, Skardino, Dzinara Alimbekava and Iryna Kryuko. The Mixed Relay gold went to the French team of Marie Dorin Habert, Anais Bescond, Simon Desthieux and Martin Fourcade.

The title of Rookie of the Year was won by Russia’s Svetlana Mironova with her highlights being a 9th place in the Hochfilzen Sprint, 18th in the Tyumen Sprint and 24th in the Tyumen Pursuit.

There were two victories each in the Relays for Germany and France but the Germans won the Relay title overall. France were second and Italy third.

The nations cup also went to the German team.

The Mixed Relay title was won by Italy with Wierer and Vittozzi in the team alongside Lukas Hofer and Dominik Windisch.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to Marie Dorin Habert, Julia Ransom, Weronika Nowakowska and Hilde Fenne who have all decided to end their biathlon careers.

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Relay!

WOW! Just when you thought the biathlon races couldn’t get any better! The Women’s Relay was incredible! So much tension with so many ups and downs!

It started with snow! Unusual for the winter, I know! The wind was the big problem however with some horrible gusts hitting the range in different directions!

The first leg was again a good one for Italy. Lisa Vittozzi had another great start just using a single spare in the prone to hand over at the first exchange in the lead. She was followed by Susan Dunklee giving the USA a great start just needing 1 spare in the stand. Paulina Fialkova redeemed herself after a horrible Mixed Relay, when she shot on the wrong target, with just 1 spare required.

The first big casualty was Germany. Franziska Preuss went on the penalty loop after struggling terribly on the standing shoot. That left the door wide open for all the other teams.

Dorothea Wierer was on the second leg for Italy but she also had a nightmare this time in the prone incurring 2 penalty loops. At the second stand mayhem ensued! The wind was awful and caused almost everyone big problems. Kuzmina, Eckhoff, Herrmann and Vita Semerenko all ended up on the penalty loop and many others lost a lot of time shooting slowly. The best shoot however came from Dorothea Wierer! She cleaned the stand and left the range in the lead. A small biathlon miracle!

Kaisa Makarainen, with 2 spares needed, caught Wierer on the tracks and exchanged in the lead for Finland. The third leg was madness too with Poland’s Krystyna Guzik coming out on top. She did a penalty loop on the prone but used 1 spare in the stand to lead after leg three! Behind there were still many nations in the mix like Belarus, Slovakia, Switzerland and France. Germany couldn’t make up any ground with Franziska Hildebrand on the penalty loop as was Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold.

Some fantastic shooting from Nadezhda Skardino (2 spares), Iryna Kryuko (1 spare) and Dzinara Alimbekava (3 spares) had put Darya Domracheva in fourth place starting the last leg. She had Weronika Nowakowska in front of her as well as Anais Bescond and Federica Sanfilippo. Dasha cleaned the prone to take the lead while the others all needed spares.

That meant everything came down to the final shoot. With immense pressure on her Domracheva needed all three of her spares but when the last target went down the gold belonged to Belarus. Bescond came out after her but a stunning performance from Hanna Oberg hitting 10/10 left her in third.

She was able to pass the Frenchwomen to secure sliver for her teammates Linn Persson, Mona Brorsson and Anna Magnusson. The Swedes used 12 spares and the bronze medallists France with Anais Chevalier, Marie Dorin Habert, Justine Braisaz and Bescond used 14.

Norway finished 4th after a good leg from Marte Olsbu, Slovakia were fantastic in 5th and Switzerland also did really well finishing 6th.

It was a crazy race but an amazing spectacle and another great advert for biathlon. The men’s race tomorrow is the final event here in PyeongChang. Let’s hope they produce something similar!

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Annecy 2017: The Sprints!

Annecy Le Grand Bornand is great isn’t it? Probably the greatest ever World Cup venue! We should just base the whole World Cup season, all the World Championships and the Olympics there! 😉

Why do I like it so much? Well the last time we were there Selina Gasparin and Johannes Boe both got their debut wins on the World Cup in the Sprint races. Both were wearing bib 23!

On Thursday in the Women’s Sprint Anastasiya Kuzmina won the Women’s Sprint also in bib 23. Basically Annecy is my spiritual biathlon home! 🙂

It was an impressive win for Kuzmina. She is a bit of a Sprint specialist as you know but she beat the rest of the field by nearly 40 seconds. She shot clean on a kind day in the range with a small breeze and little snow.

Laura Dahlmeier got her first individual podium of the season in second also hitting 10/10. Vita Semerenko was third with another perfect shoot. It was her first return to the podium in an individual race too after the birth of her son.

Lisa Vittozzi was fourth again with no misses continuing her great early season form. Fifth went to Denise Herrmann with 1 miss and Selina Gasparin proved she likes Annecy as much as me by coming in 6th with 1 miss.

Susan Dunklee had her best race of the season in 10th after struggling in the first two World Cups. Jessica Jislova got her personal best in 24th as did Anja Erzen in 31st. Dzinara Alimbekava got her career best result in 33rd as did Thelka Brun-Lie in 38th. Home girl Chloe Chevalier finished in her best World Cup position in 57th and qualified for the Pursuit after moving up from the IBU Cup. Japan’s Sari Furuya also did well finishing in 40th and grabbing a World Cup point.

The men had similar conditions on Friday and there was a lot of good shooting which meant the race came down to the skiing. Johannes Boe (in bib24- so close!) won his 4th race of the season with fast shooting and skiing. He beat Martin Fourcade into second by 21 seconds! The Frenchman also shot clean but couldn’t match Johannes on the tracks.

Third place went to Antonin Guigonnat! He shot clear and from bib 88 swooped in and took his first ever World Cup podium. He has been on great form on the IBU Cup winning his last two races and it’s a fantastic result for him at his home race.

Simon Schempp was 4th shooting clean as did Simon Desthieux in 5th. Anton Shipulin was 6th despite 1 miss.

Frederik Gjesbakk got his best ever result on the World Cup in 7th. He has also been doing well on the IBU Cup. Timofey Lapshin gave Korea a Top Ten finish in 8th and Florent Claude got his personal best in 36th in his first individual start for Belgium.

On Saturday we have both Pursuit races which should be a lot of fun especially if the conditions get tougher!

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