This year’s Junior European Championships took place in Pokljuka. The opposite to the senior Championships last week we started with the Relays.
The Single Mixed was first and made it’s debut in this competition. The gold medal winners were Finland! The team of Jenni Keranen and Jaakko Ranta saw off all the challengers using just 8 spares between them. The silver medal went to home team Slovenia with Urska Poje and Anton Vidmar needing 11 spares. The bronze medal went to Belarus even though Volka Haurylkina and Dzmitry Lazouski went on the penalty loop twice! The favourites France were disqualified for using too many spares on the final shoot.
The Mixed Relay was later and the gold medal went to Russia. They had a strong team of Polina Shevnina, Valeriia Vasnetcova, Vasilii Tomshin and Igor Malinovskii. They only used 7 spares to win by over 2 minutes. The silver went to Italy whose team of Irene Lardschneider, Eleonora Fauner, Patrick Braunhofer and Daniele Cappellari needed only 5 spares. The bronze was taken by Poland with Natalia Tomaszewska, Joanna Jakiela, Przemyslaw Pancerz and Marchin Szwajnos who used 8 spares altogether.
The snow arrived on Thursday for the Individual races. The men raced first and Russia continued their success with gold and silver. Said Khalili took the gold by over a minute from teammate Vasilli Tomshin even though both missed just 1 target each. The bronze medal went to Vitezslav Hornig from the Czech Republic who shot 20/20.
The women’s race was won by Austria’s Tamara Steiner who shot the perfect score. Silver went to Switzerland’s Amy Baserga who also hit all 20 and bronze went to Valeriia Vasnetcova of Russia despite missing 4 targets.
The Sprint races were rescheduled for Saturday because of, wait for it, too much snow!!! Pokljuka has had a lot and it also continued on race day but they were able to go ahead. The men went first and Russia’s Igor Malinovskii took the win shooting 9/10. The silver medal went to his teammate Said Khalili who also shot 9/10 but was 3.7 seconds behind the winner. The bronze medal went to Bogdan Tsymbal from the Ukraine with clean shooting.
The women’s race also went to Russia, surprise surprise! Valeriia Vasnetcova took the gold with 1 miss. Her teammate Polina Shevnina got the silver also with 9/10 but was 20 seconds back. The bronze was won by France’s Sophie Chauveau who missed twice but skied well to grab the final podium position.
The final day of races were the Pursuits on Sunday. For the men Igor Malinovskii held on to his lead from the Sprint to take gold again. Despite missing 3 targets he pipped Bogdan Tsymbal by just over a second. Tsymbal took the silver shooting 19/20 and third place went to France’s Martin Perrillat Bottonet who missed 2 shots but moved up from 7th to win bronze.
In the women’s race the leader Vasnetcova missed 8 targets leaving the door wide open for the others. Shevnina took full advantage and shooting 17/20 was enough for her to take the gold medal. Silver went to Sweden’s Elvira Oberg who came from 9th missing 1 shot to grab second place. Sophie Chauveau maintained third place and took the bronze again despite missing 4 targets.
That concludes the Championships. The next races for the Juniors is the Youth/Junior World Championships in Otepaa, Estonia on the 26th of February.
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