Previously we have had a wrap up of the Biathlon World Championships Men’s events, from Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. Today sees a wrap up of the Women’s events.
The Women’s field is closest it has been in some time which augured well for some intense competition.
WOMEN’S 7.5 km SPRINT
A cloudy, cool day greeted the athletes for the first of the women’s individual races. The sprint course started in the Vysocina Arena and headed out over a 2.5 km course which was completed three times with a 50m prone shoot between laps one and two and a 50m standing shoot between laps two and three.
It was to be a great day for the women from the Ukraine. Olena Pidhrushna (Ukraine) finished in a time of 21:02.01 to clinch the gold, followed by the World Cup point leader Tora Berger (Norway) and Vita Semerenko (Ukraine). Olga Zaitseva (Russia) was pipped for a podium spot by two seconds.
Lucy Glanville of Australia finished in 110th after dropping six of her ten shots. Fanny Horn of Norway finished 35th, Fanny only gets a mention because she has such a great name.
WOMEN’S 10 km PURSUIT
The Women’s Pursuit was run through continuous snow with heavier flurries. This was to present particular issues for the athletes while on the rifle range. The top four managed to drop 10 shots between them.
Tora Berger finished in a time of 28:48.4 with three missed shots, ahead of Krystyna Palka of Poland. Olena Pidhrushna took the bronze. Once again Zaitseva missed out on the podium by less than two seconds.
WOMEN’S 15 km INDIVIDUAL
Once again the race was run in light snow, unlike the Pursuit, the rifle zeroing before the race was also completed in the snowy conditions which made for a better day on the range for many athletes.
Berger finished almost a minute ahead of Andrea Henkel (Germany). Valj Semerenko (Ukraine) had to settle for the bronze after a valiant battle with Henkel on the final climb. Valj Semerenko is the twin sister of Vita who took silver in the 7.5 km Sprint.
Lucy Glanville improved on her Sprint finish to cross the line in 106th place.
WOMEN’S 4 x 6 km RELAY
A relatively warm day of around 0°C on snow of variable hardness made for an interesting day for both athletes and ski technicians. It also ensured a close race. At the end of more than an hour’s racing less than 30 seconds separated the first four teams.
Norway were once again on the top step of the podium, giving Berger her fifth medal of the meet. Ukraine were second with an up and coming Italy in third. Italy were only 11.6 seconds behind Norway. Heartbreakingly, Russia finished fourth to give Zaitseva her fourth fourth placing at the Championships.
WOMEN’S 12.5 km MASS START
The Mass start was the penultimate event of the 2013 World Championships. The start list was a who’s who of Women’s Biathlon, the first fifteen starters were:
1 PIDHRUSHNA Olena Ukraine
2 BERGER Tora Norway
3 PALKA Krystyna Poland
4 HENKEL Andrea Germay
5 SEMERENKO Vita Ukraine
6 SEMERENKO Valj Ukraine
7 MÄKÄRÄINEN Kaisa Finland
8 DOMRACHEVA Darya Belarus
9 GÖSSNER Miriam Germany
10 ZAITSEVA Olga Russia
11 VILUKHINA Olga Russia
12 DORIN HABERT Marie France
13 SOUKALOVA Gabriela Czech Republic
14 KUZMINA Anastasiya Slovakia
15 VITKOVA Veronika Czech Republic
The race was nail biting with lead change after lead change. Composure under pressure on the range in the closing stages proved to be the key. The ice cool nerve of Darya Domracheva from Belarus won out. Domracheva was expected to be the big name on the circuit this season but has lacked form. If this race was anything to go by, the rest of the field better keep an eye out for her in the last three World Cup rounds. Berger grabbed silver for her seventh medal and making her World Championship and World Cup podium début was Monika Hojnisz of Poland with the bronze.
The Nove Mesto events were also round six of the IBU World Cup. The final stanza of the World Cup kicks off this coming weekend in Oslo Holmenkollen, Norway followed by Khanty Mansiysk, Russia and the final round, which is a test event for next year’s Olympic Games, in Sochi, Russia.
Berger and Fourcade lead the points tally into the final rounds but they do not yet have both hands on the crystal globes.
A few more late nights await before the season is over.