Defending Champion Dahlmeier Wins Pursuit Gold
2016 Pursuit World Champion Laura Dahlmeier of Germany successfully defended her title today claiming the women's 10K pursuit Gold medal, with one penalty in 28.02.3. Clean-shooting Darya Domracheva of Belarus made one of the biggest jumps from 27th at the start to the Silver medal,11.6 seconds back. Sprint Gold medalist Gabriela Koukalová of Czech Republic, with three penalties won the Bronze medal, 16.6 seconds back.
Russia’s Irina Starykh, shooting clean finished fourth, 35.9 seconds back. France’s Justine Braisaz was fifth with one penalty, 36.1 seconds back, just ahead of teammate Marie Dorin Habert, with three penalties in sixth, 36.3 seconds back.
The thrills started in the first prone stage when with Koukalová had two penalties while Dahlmeier despite a penalty left the loop with a 6-secod lead. From that point on, she never was out of first place. Anais Chevalier and Kaisa Mäkäräinen shot clean to lead the chasing pack.
Koukalova commented her two missed shots in prone, “I was a bit nervous, I had some problems with the ammunition. I said good-bye to my medal then.”
Domracheva: 27th to 2nd
The second prone saw the top three all shoot clean as Koukalová recovered with a clean stage to move back into contention. Domracheva, 27th in the sprint shot slowly but cleaned, moving to ninth position. In the first standing, Koukalova missed one as Dahlmeier, Makarainen and Domracheva all cleaned, with the Belarusian now up to third.
In the final standing, Dahlmeier shot deliberately, but the caution was justified: she cleaned again to secure her second pursuit tile and second Gold medal of the week. Domracheva showed her championship form, again cleaning to head home in the Silver medal spot. Mäkäräinen's single penalty dropped her from podium contention, opening the door for coming-back Koukalova who was unable to catch Domracheva on the final loop.
Pursuit Win Like a Dream
Dahlmeier was happy about defending her title, “ I am very happy about the Gold medal. It’s like a dream; pursuit is my favorite discipline. After the first miss I knew I had to hit all the targets; the big fight took place in the last shooting.” Regarding her three medals this week , she added, “ Two Gold medals and one Silver is like a dream. I think with Relay we have a chance to win.”
Return of the "Queen of the Comeback"
Domracheva said today was about fixing mistakes. “It’s a dream medal, I didn’t think about medals today. Before the race I thought it was a good chance to fix mistakes I have done in sprint. That happened today. I am very happy about clean shooting."
Known as the "Queen of the Comeback" for her amazing performances in seemingly impossible situations, she commented, "Recently, I heard journalists calling me “comeback girl”, and today I did it.”
On those 18 months away from biathlon, she added, “The most difficult element was to combine all elements of biathlon together. Sometimes I did shooting well, sometimes I did skiing well. Today’s medal was a combination.”
Koukalová Unsure Until 500 Meters from Finish
The Czech star was unsure of her second medal until near the finish. “I spent many days for my WCH preparations here. I like this track, and today I also had perfect skis. I was sure about my medal 500 meters before finish, as I didn’t know what was going on behind me.”