IBU YJWCH: Russia Dominates Junior Pursuits with Malinovskii, Vasnetcova Victories
**Russia dominated the Junior Pursuits today as Igor Malinovskii and Vanessa Vasnetcova won the Gold medals. Malinovskii, four penalties won his second Gold medal in two days, claiming the Junior Men’s pursuit this morning at the IBU YJWCH. His 32:39.8 time was 13 seconds ahead of Silver medalist Sindre Pettersen of Norway, with five penalties. In the afternoon Junior Women’s pursuit, Valeria Vasnetcova shot clean, moving up from 24th at the start to win the Gold medal, in 31:49.5.
Junior Men Pursuit
The Bronze medal went to Anton Smolski of Belarus, also with five penalties, 27.4 seconds back. Fourth went to Kirill Streltsov of Russia, with five penalties, 35.1 seconds back; his consistently top results earned him the Junior Cup Total Score title and big Crystal Globe. Milan Zemlicka of Czech Republic with a matching time but two penalties finished fifth. He claimed the seasonal Junior Cup pursuit title. Roman Yeremin of Kazakhstan, with six penalties, finished sixth, 39.1 seconds back.
Teammates in the Lead
The Junior Men had similar condition to the Youth earlier in the morning; moderate winds and comfortable temperatures. Malinovskii led the first loop and shot clean as did Streltsov. Midway through the second loop, the teammates were together, with Smolski following. Smolski cleaned the second prone to take a four second lead over Malinovskii who had a penalty. Porshnev moved up when Streltsov had three penalties, but they were only separated by six seconds.
Standing Penalties but Victory for Malinovskii
Smolski had three standing penalties, while Malinovskii had two; the Sprint Champion retook the lead, while Streltsov moved back into third, with Pettersen on his shoulder. All of the medals would be decided in the final standing stage. Malinovskii and Smolski came in together; the Russian shot faster and missed a shot, while his rival had two penalties. Pettersen added a single penalty but left in second. Smolski, Streltsov and Zemlicka left together 36 seconds back battling for a medal. Smolski burned up the last loop to claim the Bronze medal.
Malinovskii, ever smiling got some extra motivation on the tracks. “On the big uphill, my coach tapped me several times with a ski pole. That was all I needed; last year, he told me to smile. This was something different and it worked!” Regarding being a double World Champion, he added, “It really has not sunk in yet.”
Pettersen, the individual Gold medalist had a hard day. “After the first prone, I thought my medal chances were gone…I finally moved from 8th to Silver; that is pretty good…On the last loop, I was pushing very hard trying to catch Igor.”
Smolski was partially satisfied with his Bronze. “I was upset today because of missing the podium yesterday, so this medal makes me about 80% satisfied. If I win another medal; that percentage will go up a few points!”
Junior Women Pursuit
Sprint Gold medalist Michela Carrara of Italy won the Silver medal in sprint finish over Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold. The Italian had three penalties, while Tandrevold had two. They finished 10 and 10.8 seconds back, respectively. Anna Weidel of Germany finished fourth, with two penalties, 14.4 seconds back. She won the seasonal Junior Cup Pursuit globe. French teammates Julia Simon, with two penalties and Myrtille Begue, with single penalty finished fifth and sixth, 40.3 and 49.4 seconds back, respectively. The sixth place secured the Junior Cup Total Score for Begue.
Carrara Falters; Norwegians Take Over
Cararra led the first loop, but missed a prone shot while Tandervold cleaned. They went out together and shot together in the second prone. The Norwegian cleaned an left with a 19.1 second over clean-shooting Poje, with Erdal just behind. Coming to the first standing, Tandrevold had a solid lead but had a penalty, allowing Erdal to take a 7 second lead after she went 15-for-15. Poje and Simon with one penalty each were next, but 28 and 34 seconds back. The last standing would be a battle for Gold between teammates. Over the loop, Vasnetcova, moving up from 24th at the start also shooting clean moved into contention a medal with Simon and the come-backing Carrara, now with three penalties.
Clean-shooting Vasnetcova Completes Comeback
The two left-handed Norwegian teammates shot together; Erdal faltered with three penalties, while Tandrevold had one. The Russian cleaned again, leaving with a 5 second lead over Tandrevold. Carrara cleaned again to go out in third, 12.5 seconds back. Vasnetcova continued her amazing day to pull away for the Gold medal, with Carrara battling for the Silver with the Norwegian. They sprinted the last 100 meters almost side-by-side, with Carrara claiming the Silver spot and Tandrevold Bronze.
Dream for Vasnetcova
The surprise winner was beyond excited, crossing the finish line with her hands high and a broad smile. “I never had any idea before the start that I could win…In the last standing when I saw the others missing, then I realized I could possibly win…This is all like a dream that I don’t want to wake up from.”
Focused on Last Standing
Carrara, after three penalties, focused on the last standing stage. “I knew if I shot clean, I could get a medal and I did that…Two medals more than I ever expected here.”