IBU YJWCH: Junior Individual Gold Medals to Sindre Pettersen and Megan Bankes
Norway’s Sindre Pettersen, despite two last-stage penalties, took the lead in the Junior Men’s 15K individual today after the first prone stage and never relinquished it on his way to the Gold medal in 40:17.2. In the afternoon, clean-shooting Megan Bankes of Canada won her nation’s second Gold medal of these IBU YJWCH today, taking the Junior Women’s 12.5K individual in 37:22. She follows Leo Grandbois’ victory in the Youth Men’s individual yesterday.
The Silver medal went to Germany’s David Zobel, with three penalties, 51.2 seconds back. Nikita Lobastov of Russia won the Bronze medal, with one penalty, 55.2 seconds back.
Michael Trieb of Austria, with one penalty finished fourth, 1:01.8 back, while clean-shooting Ignus Deksnis of Latvia was fifth, 1:10.2 back. The winner of the IBU Junior Cup Individual title, Kirill Streltsov of Russia, with three penalties finished sixth, 1:12 back.
Later Start; Good Conditions
Yesterday’s rain kept it warm overnight, so the competitions were delayed by 30 minutes, to allow for some extra grooming and preparation. Although the snow was soft in spots, the tracks, with a hard frozen base remained in good condition, with again just a moderate breeze on the shooting range.
Pettersen in Charge
The more junior men showed their experience today, especially on the shooting range, with steadier shooting and less penalties than their younger counterparts yesterday. The first two stages saw more than half of the field with zero or a single missed target. The top men in the Junior Cup Total Score, Streltsov and Anton Dudchenko of Ukraine started well with clean first stages, but fell back with penalties in the last two shooting stages. This opened the door for starter number 68 Pettersen who cleaned the first two stages and took control with a 22 second lead. After going 15-for-15, his lead was up to 1:12. Several men were battling for the podium behind him, including Zobel, despite three penalties and Austria’s Trieb, with a single penalty. The German and Austrian cleaned the final standing and fought it out on the last loop, with Zobel finishing 10.6 seconds ahead of his rival. These two were finished and watching when Pettersen came in for his last standing bout. Alone on the range, he missed his first two shots, hit the next three and left with a 42.8 second lead. That was enough to secure his Gold medal. After these three were finished, starter number 84 Lobastov with a single penalty in the first standing calmly skied himself up to the Bronze medal, with a fast last loop, moving from 6th after the final standing stage.
Nordic Combined to Biathlon Gold
Pettersen was elated with his Gold medal. “This is not my best event; I am better at the sprints…I was really nervous after the two misses, but then I just forgot them and did what I should have done in the first two shots…I changed from Nordic Combined after a back injury stopped my ski jumping and now I am really happy that I changed to biathlon!”
Surprised and 20 Seconds
Zobel was surprised to be on the podium. “I never expected to be on the podium with three penalties…I just did my best.”
Lobastov focused on shooting. “I had no control over my start. I just focused on my shooting. After the last standing, my coach told me I was 20 seconds from third; I worked as hard as I could on the last loop and here I am.”
Junior Women’s Individual
Behind the Canadian, the Silver medal went to Julia Schwaiger of Austria, 47.9 seconds back, while Germany’s Anna Weidel won the Bronze medal, 1:12 back. Schwaiger and Weidel both had one penalty.
Fourth and fifth went to Belarusian teammates Hanna Sola and Darya Blashko, both with two penalties, 1:57.6 and 2:16.9 back. France’s Julia Simon, also with two penalties was sixth, 2:18.4 back.
Continued Good Conditions
The light rain that started in the morning ended for the afternoon women’s competition; the wind was non-existent and the tracks continued to hold up well due to the hard work of the organizers.
Clean Last Standing; Gold for Bankes
This competition was a battle from the start. The good shooting conditions meant the route to the podium was through shooting success. Most of the favorites cleaned the first prone. However Vasnetcova, although clean was 16 seconds off the lead. The first standing found the Russian, Bankes and Schwaiger still clean, with just 6.5 seconds separating them. They matched again in the second prone, but Vasnetcova now led by 11.6 seconds over Schwaiger and was 5 seconds more ahead of Bankes. In the last standing stage, both Vasnetcova had five misses and Schwaiger had a single penalty. Bankes however, shot with authority and cleaned to take the lead. While these three were finishing, Moshkova at number 59 in the field of 70, cleaned the first two stages to move into fourth position. She cleaned again to move into second; the Gold medal would be decided in her last standing stage. Moshkova had three penalties and fell out of contention; Bankes had claimed the Gold medal, with her 20-for-20 shooting.
Bankes commented on her shooting. “After the European Juniors a couple of weeks ago when I got second in the pursuit, I knew if I shot and skied well, I could get a medal here. I shot with a lot of confidence today; it came really easy…I was a bit nervous waiting for the other girls to finish; I kept peeking at the results.”
Schwaiger “Picked Myself Up”
Schwaiger admitted, “The individual is my favorite; I do not know why, but it is…I had a hard time last week in Hochfilzen; I was really down on the ground, but I knew I was shooting good, so I picked myself up and told myself I could do this.”
Junior Cup Individual Title to Weidel
Weidel, after winning IBU Junior Cup Individual title, said, “I only competed in two of the three races, so this was a big surprise!”