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Summer Biathlon World Championships Recap

This past weekend, Summer Biathlon World Championships (SBWCH) took place in Cheile Gradistei, Romania, a resort town 180 kilometers from Bucharest, the capital of the country. The races began on Friday with a mixed relay, continued on Saturday with a sprint, and wrapped up on Sunday with a pursuit.

Friday’s competitions started with excellent weather; the sun was out and the temperature was warm. However, by the time the senior competition started, winds began sweeping across the shooting range, affecting the accuracy of the competitors.

The Russian team of Ekaterina Avvakumova, Olga Kalina, Sergey Klyachin and Sergey Korastylev was able to persevere through the tough shooting conditions to get the win. The team took the lead on the last leg when Korastylev needed only two spare rounds during standing to pass his competition, which were picking up penalties. Bulgaria took second on the day, 26.8 seconds behind the Russian team and Romania rounded out the podium in third, 38.6 seconds back from the winners.

In Saturday’s sprint race, Ukraine’s Olga Abramova claimed the victory for the women with the Polish duo of Monika Hojnisz and Magdalena Gwizdon taking second and third. In the men’s race, Bulgarian Iliev Vladimir crossed the line first followed by Artem Pryma of Ukraine in second and Martin Otcenas from Slovakia in third.

For the pursuit race on Sunday, the wind yet again picked up. However, it did not deter Saturday’s winner, Abramova, from winning the women’s race despite five penalties. She was yet again followed by Hojnisz who claimed second despite having seven penalties. Hojnisz finished 52.7 seconds behind the winner. Rounding out the podium in third was Ukrainian Juliya Dzhyma who had only two penalties on the day and was 1:09.7 behind the winner.

In the men’s race, Otcenas was able to shoot pretty well on his way to victory, picking up only four penalties. Pryma also had only four penalties on his way to second place in the pursuit, 28.6 seconds behind Otcenas. Finishing in third was Matej Kazar of Slovakia who was able to ski strong despite having five penalties to claim the final spot on the podium, 42 seconds back. Saturday’s winner Vladimir struggled on the range in the pursuit, getting seven penalties and falling down to sixth place.

Meanwhile in the junior race, Romanian Marius Ungureanu claimed his nation’s first-ever gold medal at the championships.

More results and information

Biathlon Book Wins Top Skiing Prize

At the International Skiing History Association Awards Dinner in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, last week, the book Everyone To Skis!: Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon by W.D. Frank was awarded the Ullr Award, which is “Presented for a single outstanding contribution or several contributions to skiing’s historical record in published book form” according to the International Skiing History Association website (where you can also find a list of past winners). It’s one of the first times a book with a notable focus on the nordic disciplines has been recognized. In 1996, Glenn Parkinson’s First Tracks won the award for chronicling the development of skiing in Maine. You can read a 2013 FasterSkier interview with W. D. Frank here, and purchase his book from Powell’s or Amazon.

Shipulin Bests Fourcade, Domracheva Wins “Mega Mass Start” in Tyumen

After finishing the IBU World Cup season in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia, two weeks ago, some of the world’s top biathletes returned to Russia this week to compete in the “Champions Race” in the Tyumen region. The format was a “mega mass start”: 8 shooting stages, spread over 15 kilometers for women and 20 kilometers for men. In the women’s race, Darya Domracheva of Belarus skied to a 24-second win over Russia’s Darya Virolainen. Virolainen had four penalties to Domracheva’s three. Kaisa Makarainen of Finland was third with six penalties, 1:12 back. “Today’s victory has turned such that it might seem that I am very prepared for these competitions, and by and large I was,” Domracheva told organizers after her victory. “After the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk I was in Novosibirsk, where I participated in the opening of some wonderful children’s competitions, and then went to Ramsau to the mountains. There I…

Fak, Dahlmeier Win Mass Starts; Crawford Crashes Out in Khanty Mansiysk

The season ended on a high note for Laura Dahlmeier of Germany and Jakov Fak of Slovenia, who won the season-ending 12.5 and 15 k mass start competitions in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. Fak shot a perfect 20 for 20 and went to the front after the third shooting stage. He skied the loop by himself, then calmly cleaned all his targets to finish up, skiing to an easy 10-second win. That also secured him third place in the overall World Cup standings. “This is a nice way to end the season and win the final event that I won the World Championship in,” Fak said in a press conference. Tarjei Bø of Norway left the range in second place after the final shooting stage, but was caught on the trails by Russia’s Anton Shipulin. Shipulin left him in the dust once the pair entered the stadium, and skated to second…

Nathan Smith 5th; Fourcade Wins Last World Cup Sprint in Khanty-Mansiysk

  Nathan Smith was back in the flower ceremony on Thursday, the first day of the final IBU World Cup stop in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, as the Canadian placed fifth in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint. Coming off a silver medal at 2015 World Championships in the sprint, Smith had a single prone miss and finished 34 seconds after France’s Martin Fourcade, who shot clean and won in 23:47. Russia’s Anton Shipulin also hit all his targets and finished 13 seconds back in second, and Germany’s Benedikt Doll placed third with one standing penalty, 18.3 seconds behind Fourcade. Latvia’s Andrejs Rastorgujevs cleaned and missed the podium by three-tenths of a second in fourth. Smith finished 0.4 seconds ahead of Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, who was sixth, and 1.5 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Fredrik Lindström in seventh. “I knew if my skiing came back up that a top-10 should be more than possible,” Smith wrote in an email. “I would say…

France Wins Mixed Relay, Canada Seventh in Final Race of IBU Cup Season

(Press release) CANMORE – Ecstatic over the news of Canada’s first male world championships medal in the history of the sport, Canadian biathletes had extra motivation for the final race of IBU Cup – the mixed relay. Emma Lunder, Zina Kocher, Marc-Andre Bedard, and Macx Davies suited up for Canada, which was considered one of their strongest relay teams to date on the IBU Cup. All four have World Cup experience. But while the Canadians performed well and finished a respectable seventh, the French, Austrians and Italians surprised the field by all reaching the podium on the final day of competition. The heavily favoured Germans finished fourth, while the Russians, who had reached the podium all week – finished eighth. The upstart Italians wowed the crowd early on by holding onto first place until the final leg, when they were caught by the French and Italians. France won in 1:07.05, 11 seconds ahead of Austria, and 25 seconds ahead…

Kocher One Spot Off Podium in Canmore IBU Cup Sprint

Coming off silver in the IBU Cup sprint last Sunday, Zina Kocher finished fourth on Friday to lead Canada in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint on the final day of individual IBU Cup racing in Canmore, Alberta. Hungry for another podium after placing 19th in Wednesday’s 15 k, Kocher missed two shots to finish 15.1 seconds from the podium and 39.3 seconds behind Russia’s Anna Nikulina, who won in 20:09.9. She continued Canada’s streak of having a woman in the top six in every IBU Cup race in Canmore so far this week. “I’m happy with it,” Kocher told Biathlon Canada. “I wasn’t actually feeling too great [Friday] morning. I had to focus more on believing that I felt really good, being positive and getting back the clarity of shooting. I was frustrated with my performance in the individual. I just didn’t feel as focused and clear in the shooting as…

Beaudry Sixth, Bedard Eighth in Canmore IBU Cup 15/20 k

Canada just keeps finding its way to the flower ceremony. On Wednesday, the home nation tallied yet another top six in the third IBU Cup race in Canmore, Alberta, with 20-year-old Sarah Beaudry placing sixth in the women’s 15-kilometer individual race. With 19-for-20 shooting, Beaudry finished 2:23.1 behind Germany’s Karolin Horchler, who won in 44:34.4 with a single penalty as well. For Horchler, it was her third win of the week in Canmore,  and she edged Norway’s Kaia Woeien Nicolaisen by 12.2 seconds for the win. France’s Marine Bolliet placed third, 1:02.2 back. “It’s definitely one of my best races this year,” Beaudry said in a Biathlon Canada press release. “It’s just awesome to be at home, do well, hit some targets, have some fun in the mountains in the nice sun. I had some rough races at World Juniors. I wanted to put out a solid race and remember what it was…

Biathlon World Champs to Air on Eurovision and Universal Sports

KONTIOLAHTI, Finland — Eurovision and Universal Sports will provide television coverage of the upcoming 2015 International Biathlon Union World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. The event, which takes place March 5 through March 15, will be broadcast live on Eurovision with english commentary from Chad Salmela. Universal Sports will air the footage in prime time on the dates included below. Broadcast schedule (all times in EST): Date Eurovision Webcast  Universal Sports Network TV Mar. 5 Mixed relay: 11:15 a.m.  Mar. 7 Men’s sprint: 7:00 a.m.Women’s sprint: 10:30 a.m. Mar. 8 Men’s pursuit: 8:15 a.m.Women’s pursuit: 11:00 a.m. Mar. 9 Mixed relay (from Mar. 5): 8-19 p.m. Mar. 10 Men’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-19 p.m. Mar. 11 Women’s individual: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary) Women’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-9 p.m. Mar. 12 Men’s individual: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary) Mar. 13 Women’s relay: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary) Mar. 14 Men’s relay: 11:30 a.m. Men’s relay (same-day): 7-8 p.m. Mar. 15 Women’s…

Kocher Silver in Second Canmore IBU Cup Sprint

Saturday was a day for the youngsters, with Emma Lunder, new to the national team this year, leading Canada with a silver-medal performance in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore. Come Sunday, though, the veterans took over. Zina Kocher matched Lunder’s hardware, skiing the third-fastest course time and picking up a single penalty to place second. The three-time Olympian was 17.8 seconds behind Karolin Horchler of Germany, who won for the second day in a row. “There is definitely huge fire inside of me that says get it together for God’s sake,” said Kocher in a Biathlon Canada press release, referring to her struggles earlier this season bouncing between the World Cup and IBU Cup.” Knowing the accomplishments I’ve had in the past helped me. I really just wanted to enjoy the fact I’m racing at home.” She appreciated Lunder’s performance the day before, and is glad that…