Michal Krcmar Leads Czech Sweep in Senior Men's Sprint; Jakub Stvrtecky Takes Junior Title
Clean-shooting Michal Krcmar of Czech Republic won the IBU Summer World Championships men's sprint title this evening in 24:14.2, leading his team to a podium sweep. Earlier today. his younger teammate Jakub Stvrtecky won the junior men’s sprint with three penalties in 25.56.4, adding the second 2018 IBU SBWCH Gold medal to his trophy case.
The Czech Republic swept the podium in the men’s sprint, with Krcmar in the top spot while Ondřej Moravec shot clean on his way to the Silver medal, finishing a mere .3 seconds behind Krcmar. Tomas Krupcik took the Bronze medal despite one penalty, 20.3 seconds back.
Fourth place went to another clean shooter, Vitaliy Kilchytskyy of Ukraine, 23.3 seconds back, Russia’s Maksim Burtasov matched the Ukrainian on the shooting range but finished fifth, 31.2 seconds back. Martin Otcenas of Slovakia, who celebrated his birthday today, finished sixth with one penalty, 45.5 seconds back.
The Czech men delighted the ecstatic home crowd of 6000 spectators by taking all three podium spots. Early bibs Moravec and Krcmar started the competition 2 minutes apart, matching each other at the shooting range and on the tracks, staying within a few seconds on the way to their medals. After the standing stage, Moravec left in the lead, followed by the Ukrainian 4.1 seconds later, while Krcmar was in third, 7.1 seconds behind. Krupcik left for the final lap on the fifth position with 18.9 seconds gap from the first place. On the last loop, Krcmar showed great speed, overcoming his more experienced teammate in the final meters, while Kilchytskyy could not keep his podium spot.
The happy Krcmar admitted that it was incredible to compete and win in his home stadium. “It is my first WCH title and I am very happy about my race, because I did even better than yesterday, especially at the range with two zeroes. The atmosphere here is absolutely amazing; fans are not only in the stadium but also on the tracks: the biathlon fever is strong in the Czech Republic!”
His roommate Moravec added with a smile, “I think it’s not bad to have two Silvers in two days… I know Michal is a strong finisher and I knew he was aware of the gap, so it wasn’t such a big surprise for me when he passed me. Though he beat me, we kept Gold in the same room, so it’s all good!”
Junior Men’s Sprint
The Silver medal went to Russia’s Viacheslav Maleev with two penalties, 7 seconds back, while another Stvrtecky's teammate Vitezslav Hornig, also with two penalties, took the last podium spot and the Bronze medal, 22.3 seconds behind.
Stvrtecky, who yesterday had a great performance along with Hornig by taking the junior mixed relay Gold medal, was also great on the tracks today. Despite three mistakes in standing, he left the stadium in second position, 5.6 seconds behind Maleev, who had two penalties in the prone stage. The Russian held the lead until the last split point, however, in the final meters he slowed, crossing the finish line in second. Hornig, who matched Maleev with two prone penalties, was fourth after the standing stage but due to the fast last lap, he finished in third.
Hoping for the Best
Stvrtecky was very excited about his second home stadium win. “It is so great to compete here and scoring another win feels amazing. I was in the cabin when the Russian guy was on the final lap, I was sitting there and hoping for the best.”
Photos: Petr Slavik