OECH Single Mix Relay Gold to Russia
Russia’s Evgeniy Garanichev and Daria Virolaynen combined to win the Gold medal in the single mixed relay today, with seven spare rounds, in 27:10.2. The Silver medal went to Norway also with seven spares, 6.3 seconds back. The home team, with the married duo of Krystyna and Grzegorz Guzik, won Poland’s first medal this week in the Bronze spot, with five spares, 13.9 seconds back.
Having been shut out of the medals in the three previous competitions, the Polish fans were thrilled and cheered loudly as the Guziks embraced at the finish line, Krystyna Guzik commented, “It is so nice to win a medal here in Poland…we were both very disappointed with all of our mistakes in the other competitions. So today, we were relaxed and laughing before the competition, hoping not to have those mistakes again. We did not…and now have a medal.”
Ukraine finished fourth, also with five spares, 20.9 seconds back. Austria was fifth, with a penalty and nine spares, 22.2 seconds back while Germany with eleven spares was sixth, 27.2 seconds back.
Tight Competition; Many Lead Changes
The best thing about the single mixed relay today was the many lead changes and the tight competition from start to finish between the top six teams. Czech Republic with Veronika Vitkova took the first lead with a clean first prone; Poland’s Krystyna Guzik took over to the first exchange by matching in standing. Then it was the Czech team again. By the half-way mark when the women were back on the track, the leader board read: Russia, Norway and Czech Republic and Sweden within 10 seconds.
Russia in Charge; Norway, Poland Battle
After the second women’s prone stage, Russia held just a 1.9 second margin over Czech Republic. Standing changed things again; Vitkova cleaned and Russia’ Virolaynen needed two spares. This was Virolaynen first single mixed relay, she commented, “I think the loops in this might be too short for me.”
At the final exchange, it was now the Czech team with a 21 second lead over Russia, followed closely by Norway and Poland. The order changed with the final prone stage. Last prone: Norway’s Christiansen cleaned; Garanichev needed two spares, while Guzik cleaned, setting up the top three for the final standing stage. Garanichev cleaned with one spare and was quickly gone. He commented, “Probably, I took some risk at the last standing; I wanted to shoot fast and clean, but missed with a last shot. But in general, I felt very comfortable; came and worked at the range in my rhythm.” Vetle Sjastad Christiansen needed three spares but shot fast, while Guzik used a single spare round and left in third position.
Christiansen admitted that he felt the pressure on the shooting range. “These are very short loops; you feel the pressure from the crowd and to shoot fast every time.”