Anastasia Zagoruiko and Alexander Loginov Win IBU Cup Sprints
Anastasia Zagoruiko of Russia took her first podium of the season by winning the IBU Cup women’s sprint with one penalty in 22.09.7. Later in the day, Zagoruiko’s teammate Alexander Loginov with the same shooting, won men’s sprint in 25:14.0.
Second place went to clean-shooting Julia Schwaiger of Austria, 5.8 seconds back. Current Sprint Score leader Russia’s Anna Nikulina strengthened her position by finishing third with clean shooting, 7 seconds behind.
Her teammate Valeria Vasnetcova, who came to Otepaa thanks to strong results during the season and two medals at the recent IBU YJWCH in Osrblie, despite one penalty crossed the finish line in fourth place, 11.6 seconds back. Another junior level athlete Karoline Erdal of Norway shot clean to finish fifth, 16.6 seconds behind. Another Austrian Katharina Innerhofer with two standing penalties finished sixth, 17.2 seconds back. Weronika Nowakowska of Poland, in her first start after giving birth to twins in August, finished 28th with two penalties, 1:25.8 back.
Beautiful weather with clear skies and light wind gusts started the second competition day at the final IBU Cup of the season in Otepaa. In the prone stage, Zagoruiko with bib 52 shot clean, but left the stadium only in 10th. With one penalty in standing, the Russian went into the final loop in 8th, 18.3 seconds behind Schwaiger in first. She reduced the gap with each split, moving up in the standings. At 6.8K she was already in second, just 1.2 seconds back. Flying over the final meters, she finished first, pushing Schwaiger to second and Nikulina to third.
Zagoruiko was happy to finish first. “I am really glad because the season was pretty unlucky for me. Now I feel happy and tired. I like this track because there are many uphills, and I felt really good. At the prone everything went fine, and it was a bit hard at the standing. But with my present shooting, the result was good.”
Behind Loginov, the current leader in the Total and Sprint Scores, Alexey Volkov of Russia finished second with clean shooting, 12.4 seconds back. Third went to Norway’s Henrik L’Abee-Lund with one penalty, 27.9 seconds behind.
Antonin Guigonnat of France also shot clean, but finished fourth, missing the podium just by 2 seconds. Two Norwegians, Kristoffer Skjelvik and Fredrik Gjesbakk matched each other on the shooting range with one penalty, finishing fifth and sixth, 31.0 and 35.8 seconds back, respectively.
Fifth Season Win
The first prone saw many athletes cleaning, with Loginov in the lead, followed by L’Abee-Lund 3.7 seconds later and Volkov in fifth position, 10.9 seconds back. Unlike his rivals, Volkov also cleaned standing, leaving the stadium in first, but only 1.2 seconds ahead of his teammate, who missed once. Loginov, with his usual great speed, quickly reduced that gap, increasing his advantage on the others. L’Abee-Lund, who also went for a penalty after standing, entered the final lap in fourth, 7 seconds from third place Guigonnat. The experienced Norwegian gave it all on the track, taking the last podium spot from the French athlete by a mere 2 seconds.
Loginov commented on his fifth IBU Cup win this season, “Maybe I'm not so emotional outwardly, but inside I'm happy; every win gives me maximum pleasure, as it would to each person. I think that early start numbers had an advantage today, as for the late starters condition on the track were harder.”