France and Russia Take First Junior Gold Medals in Relays at IBU YJWCH
The French team of Camille Bened, Myrtille Begue and Lou Jeanmonnot Laurent with eight spare rounds and one penalty won the Gold medal in the junior women’s relay in 1:02:52 today at the IBU YJWCH. Later in the day, the Gold medal in the junior men’s relay went to the last year's titlist, Russia with Said Karimulla Khalili, Vasilii Tomshin, Viacheslav Maleev and Igor Malinovski who used only nine spares on their way to a win in 1:25:21.2.
Junior Women's Relay
Norway was unable to defend last year’s title, winning the Silver with eleven spares and two penalties, 17.5 seconds back. Russia used thirteen spare rounds and went for two penalty loops on their way to the Bronze medal, 40.1 seconds back.
Light wind gusts and cold -16C made the junior women's relay, which started the second competition day, a real challenge for the young athletes.
In the first leg, Ukraine was the only squad that did not use any spares. Clean shooting allowed them to be in the lead at the first exchange, followed by France and Germany in 1.9 and 8.6 seconds back, respectively. Russia, with six spare rounds, was in fourth, 35.3 seconds behind.
The second leg saw some changes with Ukraine falling out of contention, France moving into the first, Russia in second and Germany in third, staying within 20 seconds. After the second leg standing stage, the teams changed places again. Russia with the only used spare left the stadium in the lead with a minute advantage over Norway, which moved into the second position after two penalty laps and ninth place after the first leg. France with one penalty and Germany with two penalty loops dropped to the third and fourth, all the other squads were more than two minutes back by this stage.
Lost the Win
At the last exchange, Russia remained in the lead but Norway's Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg reduced the gap almost by 40 seconds and tagged her teammate 21.6 seconds behind. France stayed in third, outpacing Germany by 30 seconds. With experienced and fast Valeriia Vasnetcova on the final leg, it seemed that no one would move Russia from first place. After one used spare in prone, Vasnetcova came to the final standing with a confident lead. She had time to use all spares and even to overcome one penalty but she missed too many times. With two penalties, she left the stadium only in third, 23.2 seconds behind leading Norway with France in second. On the final leg, the current leader of the IBU Junior Cup Jeanmonnot easily overcame Kjersti Kvistad Dengerud, bringing a win to the French team.
Commenting on her last leg battle, Jeanmonnot noted, “Actually, I did not have time to think on the final lap, I just saw the Norwegian in front of me and was trying to go as fast as I could.”
Behind Russia, the Silver medal, despite three penalties and thirteen spares, went to Norway, matching their second place at last year’s YJWCH, 57.1 seconds back. France with two penalty loops and nine spare rounds took the Bronze medal, 2:45.6 behind.
Taking the lead from the first leg, Russia stayed in the top position during the whole competition without giving any other team a chance to catch them. After the first exchange, Norway followed 9.7 seconds back while France was only 10th with a 1:20.0 gap. At the second exchange, France climbed to second place with almost the same time difference, while Norway dropped to fifth with three penalty loops and almost a 3-minute gap.
After a great performance by the third leg Endre Stroemsheim, Norway regained more than a minute and went back into second position, 1:16.8 back. Now it was France who had troubles at the shooting range and had to cover 300 extra meters. Leaving for the final leg in third, 2:33.5 behind Russia, it was almost impossible for the current IBU Junior Cup Total Score leader Martin Perrillat Bottonet to move higher, so he only had to maintain the Bronze medal for his team. The three squads finished in the same order.
Anchor Malinovskii admitted he was very nervous before his leg. “When your teammates have more than a minute advantage, for sure you want to show your best and do not let them down. I tried to shoot clean but it did not work out at the standing because my hand froze. But in general, I am glad about my result and that team has won Gold.”