IBU YJWCH First Gold Medals: Canada’s Leo Grandbois, France’s Lou Laurent Jeanmonnot
Clean-shooting Leo Grandbois of Canada claimed the first Gold medal at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships this morning, winning the Youth Men’s 12.5K individual in 32:56.6. In the afternoon, Youth Women’s 10K individual, Lou Laurent Jeanmonnot of France, with one penalty won the Gold medal in 34:00.9. The Canadian was the only athlete, male or female to shot clean today.
Youth Men Individual
The Silver medal went to Russia’s Said Karimulla Khalili, with three penalties, 1:14.9 back. Danilo Riethmueller of Germany won the Bronze medal, also with three penalties, 1:21.5 back.
Cedric Christille of Italy, with one penalty finished fourth, 144.5 back. Teammates Kiryl Tsiuryn and Dzmitry Lazouski of Belarus finished fifth and sixth, both with two penalties, 2:06 and 2:40.6 back respectively.
Cloudy and Windless
After a cold night with freezing temperatures, the rain of Tuesday afternoon returned for the first competition of the week. The light rain persisted throughout the competition; however the tracks remained quite hard, while at the same time, there was no wind on the shooting range.
Grandbois’ Golden 20-for-20
Despite the lack of wind, clean shooting was virtually impossible to find. Less than 20 of the 101 men in the field cleaned the first prone. One of few was Grandbois, who left the stadium back in seventh, 15.8 seconds out of first. The first standing cut the number cleaning down to two, with Grandbois moving into second. The leader Khalili after a prone penalty cleaned the first standing and was holding a 16.2 second advantage. The places reversed with the second prone stage, the Canadian cleaned again and the young Russian added a penalty. Suddenly, Grandbois was in control. Khalili skiing faster in each loop gained ground, closing the gap to 31 seconds before the last standing stage, but added another penalty. Grandbois came in a couple of minutes later, cleaned methodically, leaving with a 1:09.2 lead. The only competitor to close all twenty targets had bagged the IBU Youth Individual World Championship title and Gold medal.
Thinking Top 10, Not Gold
Grandbois commented on his big day. “I am not sure how to react; it is just sinking in…This was the first time I ever shot clean in a competition, so I am pretty happy…I came here thinking that a top10 would be good, but I start every race thinking I can win.”
Missed Shots and 20 Seconds
Regarding his missed shots, Silver medalist Khalili admitted, “I think I tried to shoot too fast.” Riethmueller was quite pleased with his Bronze; when asked if he thought he could catch Khalili on the last loop, he replied simply, “No, 20 seconds was too much!”
Youth Women Individual to Jeanmonnot
Behind the French Gold medalist, Russia’s Kristina Egorova, with one penalty won the Silver medal, 52.4 seconds back. Sweden’s Elvira Karin Oeberg, with two penalties, took the Bronze medal with a last loop surge to finish 2:16.1 back, just 1.9 seconds ahead fourth place Ekaterina Sannikova of Russia, also with two penalties.
Fifth went to Italy’s Irene Lardschneider, with three penalties,, 1:26.6 back. Sixth went to Darya Iyeropes of Belarus, with one penalty, 1:43.8 back.
The rain persisted throughout the afternoon, with low hanging clouds hovering just above the shooting range for the Youth Women’s 10K individual competition. The wind continued to be almost non-existent.
Last Standing Decides Gold Medal
It was just as hard for the women to shoot clean as it was for the men, despite the relatively calm wind conditions. Seventeen cleaned the first prone with Jeanmonnot and Sannikova leading the field. Sweden’s Oeberg jumped into the lead, just 6.2 seconds ahead of the Russian as both cleaned the first standing. In the second prone, the leaders flipped, when Sannikova cleaned, as did her French rival, while the Swedish woman picked up a penalty. Battle fatigue from the the soft wet snow conditions showed up in the last standing that would determine the medals. Sannikova picked up her first two penalties; a couple of minutes later, Oeberg added a single penalty. They remained one-two until Jeanmonnot hit all five shots, giving her a comfortable margin of more than minute. That secured the Gold medal. As she headed into the last loop, her two rivals, less than a second apart were battling for the podium. Oeberg gained 6.2 seconds in the last loop, just enough to earn the Bronze, after starter number 68, had just single penalty on the day, slipping ahead of the Swedish women for the Silver medal.
Wanted to be Better
Jeanmonnot had four penalties; placing 39th at the recent IBU JOECH, but today had one and won the Gold medal. She commented with a big smile, “I just wanted to be better than that today…and I really wanted to be on the podium!”
Happy to Hit All Five
Egorova’s last standing stage put her on the podium. “When I hit the last shot I was just happy to have hit all five…The coaches gave me some idea during the race what I needed to do to be on the podium.
Who is Better?
Oeberg turns 18 on February 26. “This is a really great birthday present.” Her older sister Hannah, now on the World Cup team won two Gold medals at last year’s YJWCH. Asked who was the best biathlete; Elvira, in her first Championship, danced around the answer with a smile of satisfaction. “Well, she did not win any individual medals until her last year!”