IBU YJWCH: Youth Sprint Golds to Emilien Claude and Irene Lardschneider
2016 Youth Olympic Sprint Gold medalist Emilien Claude of France won both the battle with the strong winds and the Gold medal in the Youth Men’s 7.5K sprint today at the IBU Youth Junior World Championships. Claude with a single penalty in each stage, finished in 20:18.3, 25.2 seconds ahead of Silver medalist Serhiy Telen of Ukraine, with one penalty. In the afternoon, Italy’s Irene Lardschneider, with one penalty literally overwhelmed her rivals in the Youth Women’s 6K sprint, winning the Gold medal in 19:48.3, finishing more than minute ahead of the field.
The Bronze medal went to Norway’s Sivert Guttorm Bakken, also with two penalties, 44.6 seconds back. Cedric Christille of Italy, with two penalties finished fourth, 52 seconds back, while Kristiyan Stoyanov of Bulgaria, with one penalty, was fifth, 1:01.4 back. Daniel Riethmueller of Germany, with two penalties was sixth, 1:15.4 back.
Windy Shooting Range Lottery
The weather started to change this morning; the skies began to clear with strong winds cutting directly across the shooting range from left to right. The wind made the competition a bit of a lottery on the range. The really fortunate athletes got a 10-15 second respite from the strong gusts, everyone else has to just battle as best as possible. Most of the men handled prone, with more than 25% of the field getting away with a single penalty or no penalty. Christille led the pack in prone, shooting clean with a 7 second margin on the field; Telen was 17 seconds back while Claude with a penalty, was 26 seconds back.
Claude’s Fast Last Loop is Golden
The standing stage was the problem for virtually everyone; the gusty winds made it almost impossible to hold the rifle barrel steady. The Ukrainian grabbed the lead by shooting quickly, with just a single penalty. Claude came to the range next, adding another penalty but left with the lead of less than a second. Bakken with a prone penalty just like his French rival added another tour of the loop. Claude, skiing visibly faster than his rivals crossed the line to claim the Gold medal with a lead of more than 25 seconds over Telen, while Bakken followed in the third spot.
Fast, Fast, Fast
Claude commented. “ I am really happy to win this Gold medal. I was really fast on the tracks today. I was a bit lucky on the shooting range; the wind was not really bad when I shot standing. When I left the shooting range after standing, all I was thinking was fast, fast, fast…Of course, Martin Fourcade is my idol; he is the best biathlete in the world!”
Fighting for Medals
Telen was disappointed with his standing penalty. “It was my mistake; I did not do my job, but the coaches told me I was fighting for the medals on the last loop.”
Bakken who was the YOG Sprint Silver medalist commented, “I knew Emilien was one of the best, but there are many other strong athletes here…Of course, I will try to get on top in the pursuit.”
Youth Women's Sprint
Silver medalist Anna Gandler of Austria, with one penalty finished 1:06.5 behind the Gold medalist Lardschneider. Italy dominated the podium with clean-shooting Samuela Comola in the Bronze spot, 1:18.1 back.
Fourth went to Tais Vozelj of Slovenia, with one penalty, 1:30.8 back. Joanna Jakiela of Poland despite four penalties finished fifth, 1:31 back while Kristina Egorova of Russia, with two penalties, finished sixth, 1:34.4 back.
Wind and Fast Skiing
By the time the women started at 14:00, the wind was still blowing with the same gusts at times. Like the men, at times, the women would hold the shots for 10 or 20 seconds, waiting for a break in the wind. Although part of the battle was with the wind; this competition was won with a sterling performance on the tracks. Lardschneider took the lead just before the prone stage, which she reinforced with 5-for-5 shooting. Gandler also cleaned but was 41.6 seconds back; she picked up her only penalty in the standing stage. Lardschneider then shot fast for the conditions, also picking up a penalty. When both were out of the penalty loop, the Italian continued to fly around the tracks and now had more than a minute lead, which she stretched to 1:06.5 by the finish, assuring her of the Gold medal. As the competition progressed, no one challenged, but Comola managed to shoot clean to grab the last spot on the podium.
First Championships; Gold Medal
The Gold medalist was elated. “This is my first Championships and winning a medal is amazing…I really like these soft snow conditions and I had amazing skis. I have to thank the technicians and my Coach who gave me advice today and all summer.”
Silver for 16-year-old
The 16-year-old Gandler is one of the youngest athletes here. “I am totally surprised and excited to win a medal!” Comola, with the second medal of the day for Italy added, “It is great to win a medal and be on the podium with my roommate.”