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Russia Dominates World University Biathlon Sprints

By Evan Girard

OSRBLIE, Slovakia — Team Russia continued to dominate the biathlon events on Tuesday at the Winter University Games in Osrblie, Slovakia, sweeping the men’s podium in the 10-kilometer sprint. However, in the women’s race, Slovakia’s own Paulina Fialkova had the edge, taking gold in the 7.5 k sprint ahead of Russia’s Evgeniia Pavlova.

Not racing the men’s individual two days earlier proved to be the winning strategy for Russia’s Iaroslav Ivanov, who powered to the winning time of 23:17 with one penalty in the men’s sprint. Just 13.4 seconds behind, his teammates, Maksim Burtasov claimed second with one miss as well and Yuri Shopin took third (+14.9) with two penalties for his second bronze medal of the week.

Czech Republic national-team member Michal Krcmar missed Sunday’s individual to race the World Cup in Antholz, Italy. Krcmar ended up 24.5 seconds off Ivanov’s pace in fourth with two misses.

Clean shooting helped Ukraine’s Vasyl Potapenko finish less than half a second out of fourth in fifth, 24.9 seconds back from the winner. Fellow Ukrainian, Rusian Tkalenko followed in sixth position (+45.8).

Reagan Mills came in as the top Canadian man in 48th, 6:10.9 behind with two penalties. Evan Girard finished 51st (+7:09.8) with three misses, Sasha Eccleston came in 54th (+7:23.2) with four penalties, and Samuel West was 56th (+10:15.0) with four penalties.

The sprint race for the women was a day of incredible shooting with only three misses between the top seven women; all three came from Czech racers.

Fialkova gave the home crowd exactly what they wanted, with clean shooting and the second-fastest course time on route to Slovakia’s first gold medal at the Games.

Her winning time of 20:20.8 was just part of her perfect day, after holding the lead at every checkpoint and shooting without mistakes.

Not to be outdone by the Russian men, Pavlova also hit all 10 of her targets, though was no match for the Slovakian’s speed on course, finishing 29.5 seconds behind.

The Czech World Cup racers proved to be a significant threat for the women as well. Jitka Landova and Eva Puskarcikova took third and fourth, respectively. Landova finished 34.9 seconds out of the top position with one miss, and Puskarcikova was 51.4 seconds off the pace but had the second-fastest ski time to Fialkova with two penalties.

Two Kazakhstan athletes, Galina Vishnevskaya and Anna Kistanova, took fifth and sixth after having nearly identical races, skiing similar speeds and both hitting all of their targets.

Keely Macculloch was the top Canadian in 40th, 4:43.9 behind the winner with one shooting error in each of her two trips to the range. Jessica Paterson finished 43rd, 5:43.2 back after three penalty loops.

Results: Men | Women

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