The second day of competition at the Youth/Junior World Championships was the Junior biathletes chance to race the Individual. The Juniors are all 21 or under.
The Men went first and after a small delay due to warm temperatures overnight, which meant extra time was needed to prepare the tracks, we got underway.
The race was won by Norway’s Sindre Petterson who led the whole race despite missing 2 shots on his final standing shoot. He took gold by 51 seconds from Germany’s David Zobel who missed 3 targets but still claimed silver. The bronze medal went to Russia’s Nikita Lobastov who shot 19/20. Just one biathlete shot the perfect 20/20 and that was Latvia’s Ingus Deksnis who finished 5th.
The Women’s race was held in the afternoon and this time the gold medal went to Canada. In another excellent display of shooting Megan Bankes hit 20/20 to win the race by 45 seconds. Silver medal went to Austria’s Julia Schwaiger who hit 19/20 and the bronze medal went to Germany’s Anna Weidel who missed 1 target too. Three other women hit the perfect 20/20 and they were Deborah Laffont of France, Natalie Jurcova of the Czech Republic and Mariana Brykailo of Ukraine.
Saturday was Sprint day for the juniors and the men’s race went to Russia. Igor Malinovskii was the winner hitting 10/10 to win the gold medal by 12 seconds. His teammate Kirill Streltsov took silver with clean shooting and Roman Yeremin won bronze for Kazakhstan.
The Women’s Sprint went to an Italian. They are in great form at this event and Michela Carrara shot clean to take gold by 15 seconds. Silver went to Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold who missed 1 shot and France’s Myrtille Begue got the bronze hitting all the targets.
The Pursuits were raced on Sunday and Malinovskii held on to his lead. He missed 4 shots altogether but still took the victory by 13 seconds. Norway took another silver this time for the winner of the Individual race Sindre Pettersen who came from 8th to 2nd missing 5 targets. The bronze went to Belarus with Anton Smolski also missing 5 targets. Not a single one of the competitors hit 20/20 despite favourable conditions.
Russia also took gold in the Women’s race with Valeriia Vasnetcova shooting clean to come from 24th to 1st! With 3 misses the Sprint winner Carrara dropped to second and Tandrevold took the bronze with 2 shots missed.
The final day of competition took place on Tuesday with both the men’s and women’s relays. The men’s teams have 4 biathletes racing but the women just 3. It wasn’t a big surprise to see Russia winning the men’s race. They had strong team of Nikita Lobastov, Igor Malinovskii, Nikita Porshev and Kirill Streltsov. They are by far the best shooting team using just 7 spares although that was matched by the Finns in 5th.
Silver went to the Norwegian team of Dag Bjoerndalen (son of Dag Bjoerndalen, nephew of OEB), Johannes Dale, Aleksander Andersen and Sindre Petterson. They used 12 spares and incurred 1 penalty loop. Bronze was won by the German team of Justus Strelow, Danilo Riethmueller, Dominic Schmuck and David Zobel. They needed 16 spares and also did 1 penalty loop.
The women race saw the same 3 teams on the podium but in different order. This time Norway took the gold medal with Hilde Eide, Karolina Erdal and Ingrid Tandrevold using 8 spares. Germany were second with Vanessa Voigt, Sophia Schneider and Anna Weidel going on the penalty loop once. Russia took bronze with Kristina Reztsova, Ekaterina Moshkova and Valeriia Vasnetcova also completing a penalty loop.
Those races brought the Youth/ Junior Championship to an end with Russia topping the medal table with 11, Norway in second with 9 and Italy in third with 8. It shows that the big nations are still producing good young biathletes but it is great to see Italy up there competing with them. Hopefully we will be seeing some of these juniors making more appearances at IBU Cup and even World Cup level very soon.
Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!