Christiansen and Hojnisz Win First IBU Cup Individuals
Vetle Sjastad Christiansen of Norway shot clean on his way to a comfortable win in the men’s 20K individual at IBU Cup 3 in 48:39.0. In the afternoon, World Cup regular Monika Hojnisz of Poland also with perfect shooting finished first in the women’s 15K individual in 43:04.5.
Behind Christiansen, second went to Belgium’s Michael Roesch with one penalty, 1:07.1 back. Volodymyr Siemakov of Ukraine, the second clean shooter of the day, finished third, 1:33.5 behind.
Another Norwegian Aslak Nenseter finished fourth with one penalty, 1:35.9 back. Fifth went to Ondrej Hosek of Czech Republic who also missed once, 1:40.3 behind. Germany’s Roman Rees took the last place in top six with 2 penalties, 1:44.8 back.
Decisive Final Standing
On a clear and chilly winter morning in Obertilliach, with the temperature around -5C, 116 men left the starting gate to compete for the medals in the first individual competition of the season. Christiansen, who already stood at the top of the podium in Lenzerheide, was perfect at the range and fast on the track. Until the last standing, Olympic Champion Roesch was the only contender, who could move Christiansen, but the Belgian missed once and left the stadium only in third. Despite the clean shooting, Siemakov was slower on the track, losing his second place on the final lap but still taking his first individual podium.
Christiansen commented, “I knew I shot clean and did a good race, so I should do well and luckily some other fast guys were missing; then it was time for me to win.” And with a smile on a face, he added about his early start number, “It was hard for me to wait until all contenders would finish. On the last lap, I had this information from my coach that I was leading with four and a half minutes, so it was pretty unmotivating to push hard on the final loop.”
In the women’s competition, Germany’s Karolin Horchler finished second with a single penalty, 1:14.2 behind. Third went to another World Cup regular, Elisa Gasparin of Switzerland, who also missed once, 1:38.0 back.
Elisabeth Hoegberg of Sweden finished fourth with two penalties, 2:02.8 behind. Fifth place went to Russia’s Anastasia Zagoruiko who missed once, 2:04.7 back. Last year’s junior Christin Maier of Germany with clean shooting took sixth place, 2:18.1 behind.
Hojnisz became just one of two women who managed to shoot clean today. Due to the perfect shooting, she took the lead after the third stage and was never challenged by others. Horchler had a penalty in the first prone but hit the rest of the targets and finished second. Like Hojnisz, Gasparin was performing perfectly in the first three stages but the miss in the final standing put her in third place.
Not My Decision
Hojnisz commented on her win. “I felt very confident on the shooting range and tried to keep focused on every shot. Actually, I’m surprised by my performance at the range but I am happy; I really love this place.” Regarding skipping the WC in Le Grand Bornand, she added, “Actually it was not my decision, but now I feel more confidence. I had a chance to check how my shape is and it is good.”