Anton Babikov and Ingela Andersson Take First IBU Cup Sprints
Clean-shooting Anton Babikov of Russia took the season's first sprint title at IBU Cup 1 in Idre, finishing in 26:00.1. Later in the day, with the same perfect shooting, home favorite Ingela Andersson of Sweden won women’s sprint in 23:44.0.
Second place in the men’s competition went to France’s Aristide Begue who also shot clean, 17.4 seconds back, while Lucas Fratzscher of Germany finished third despite two penalties, 22.7 seconds behind.
Babikov’s teammate Sergey Korastylev also shot clean but finished fourth, 34.4 second back; Fredrik Gjesbakk of Norway had two penalties to finish fifth, 39.8 seconds behind, while France’s Simon Fourcade with a single standing penalty took the last top place in the top 6, 40.1 seconds back.
The first competition day greeted the athletes with grey skies, temperatures around -3C and light wind gusts on the shooting range. World Cup regular Babikov, who started his season at the IBU Cup, was one of just four athletes to shoot clean. He was fast enough on the track to finish with a confident lead over his rivals. Nevertheless, after the competition, he admitted there was some pressure because it was the first competition of the season.
Begue, with a later number and also cleaned both prone and standing but was slower than Babikov, finishing in second place. Fratzscher, with great speed on the tracks, covered two penalty loops fast enough to claim his first international medal.
Behind Andersson, second place went to clean-shooting Irina Kruchinkina of Belarus, 8 seconds back, while Russia’s Anastasiia Morozova finished third with one penalty, 32.9 seconds behind.
Another Russian Svetlana Mironova flew over the tracks and despite three standing penalties, finished fourth, 41.1 seconds back. Fifth place went to France’s clean-shooting Caroline Colombo, 49.2 seconds behind; Olga Abramova of Ukraine finished sixth with one penalty, 1:12.0.
Almost the same weather conditions, with the wind gusts on the shooting range, remained for the second competition. While her rivals were rounding the penalty loop, fast shooter Andersson managed to clean both stages, leaving for the final lap in first. She kept the lead until the finish line, taking her first individual medal.
I.Andersson, "I was working really hard with the shooting during the summer and today was the first time, probably, in two years that I shot clean. I am so happy about this result and my first win!" pic.twitter.com/B55FfzOWQo— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) November 29, 2018
As in the men’s competition, only four women closed all the targets; early start number 8 Kruchinkina was one of them. She was fast enough on the tracks to hold her second place she had after standing and take her first senior podium. Morozova missed once in prone, leaving only in 24th position. A clean second stage and good speed allowed her to climb up to third and take the first international medal.