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Masters Claims First Biathlon World Cup Win on Day 2 in Vuokatti; Four Titles for Ukraine

Day two of the 2016/2017 International Paralympic Cup season’s opening races in Vuokatti, Finland took place on Saturday, Dec. 10, with many athletes returning to the trails for a biathlon sprint. U.S. paralympic ski team member, Oksana Masters tallied her second win in a row, while Canada’s Mark Arendz and American Daniel Cnossen also made the podium in their respective events. Full race recap and results detailed below.

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While U.S. paralympic skier Oksana Masters has plenty of cross-country International Paralympic Cup (IPC) titles to her name–she ended last season undefeated in every cross-country event and opened this season with a win–Saturday marked her first victory in a biathlon World Cup.

“I feel completely shocked because Anja Wicker out shot me but I was able to ski a little faster to narrowly take the win,” Masters wrote in an email to FasterSkier.

Finishing first in the the women’s 6-kilometer biathlon sit sprint on Saturday in Vuokatti, Finland, Masters bested both Germany’s Anja Wicker and Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva to take the win. After a total of four missed shots (2+2), Masters completed the course in a time of 27:01.7.

Wicker meanwhile, shot clean and finished in a time of 27:59.9 for second place overall. Hrafeyeva missed five shots (3+2) and raced to a third place finish overall in a time of 28:39.6.

“There are many new faces which is always exciting,” She added, referring to the competition field in Vuokatti. “With these two wins so far I am happy knowing that my training is progressing well especially after switching Focus from skiing to cycling this past summer.”

A number of North American men were entered in the men’s 7.5 k biathlon sit sprint on Saturday, with American ski racer Daniel Cnossen claiming silver behind first place finisher, Dzmitry Loban of Belarus.

Loban won the 7.5 k sprint course in a time of 26:05.6 after one miss (0+1), while Cnossen clocked in at 26:06.7 after shooting 100 percent.

Rounding out the final podium spot was Germany’s Martin Fleig, who finished in a time of 26:21.9 after tying Loban’s shooting score.

U.S. paralympic skier, Andrew Soule finished the day in fifth overall, completing the course in a time of 27:49.0 after tying both Loban and Fleig’s shooting score. Two other North Americans raced the 7.5 k sprint, including American Aaron Pike who finished in 12th overall and Canada’s Derek Zaplotinsky who came in 13th.

Saturday saw Ukraine take first in all four of the remaining biathlon sprint divisions, with a full podium sweep by the country in the women’s standing biathlon sprint.

Oleksandra Kononova claimed the overall title in the women’s 6 k standing sprint, while her teammates Liudmyla Liashenko and Bohdana Konashuk took second and third respectively.

“Yesterday wasn’t so successful, I made some mistakes,” Kononova said during a television interview. “But it made today even better, it brought [me] more confidence.”

Kononova completed the course in a time of in a time of 20:51.4 after four misses (2+2) for the win. Liashenko missed two shots (2+0) and finished in a time of 20:56.4 for second place and Konashuk clocked in in a time of 21:59.5 with just one miss (1+0).

The lone North American in the women’s standing biathlon sprint, Canadian Brittany Hudak finished in sixth overall after completing the course in a time of 23:56.4 with two misses (1+1).

Despite feeling fatigued from yesterday’s cross-country standing sprint event, in which he placed third overall, Canada’s Mark Arendz raced to a second place on Saturday in the men’s standing biathlon 7.5 k sprint.

“I could feel yesterday’s effort in my legs,” Arendz said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “The fitness was there but I wasn’t able to get into that next gear so I was a little disappointed to bleed so much time in the last lap.”

After shooting 100 percent, Arendz completed the course in a time of 19:39.4.

“My focus was on the range,” Arendz added. “although it wasn’t my best shooting I was able to clean to keep me in the race.”

Finishing ahead of Arendz and taking first was Ukrainian ski racer Ihor Reptyukh, who finished in a time of 19:31.0 after missing one shot (1+0).

The final podium spot in the men’s standing biathlon sprint went to France’s Benjamin Daviet who finished in a time of 19:44.6 after one miss (0+1).

Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova won her second race in a row, taking the women’s title in the women’s visually impaired 6 k biathlon sprint. Shyshkova shot clean, completing the course in a time of 21:11.5.

Her Ukrainian teammate Olga Prylutska finished in a time of 23:11.8 after one miss (1+0). Tying Prylutska’s shooting score was third place finisher Clara Klug of Germany in third place overall.

The men’s visually impaired 7.5 k biathlon sprint went to Anatolii Kovalevskyi of Ukraine, who completed the course in a time of 19:59.1 after cleaning. Iaroslav Reshetynskiy, also of Ukraine, reached Saturday’s podium after shooting clean and clocking in at 20:31.1. The final podium spot went to Belarus skier, Vasili Shaptsiaboi who tied Reshetynskiy and Kovalevskyi’s shooting scores and completed the 7.5 k course in a time of 20:39.1.

Results: Men | Women

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