Schempp Anchors Germany to Mixed Relay Gold
Germany with Vanessa Hinz, Laura Dahlmeier, Arnd Peiffer and Simon Schempp, with seven spare rounds. won the mixed relay Gold medal in 1:09:06.4 at IBU World Championships Biathlon today in Hochfilzen, Austria. The Silver medal went to the French team of Anais Chevalier, Marie Dorin Habert, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade, with one penalty and eight spares, 2.2 seconds back. Russia with Olga Podchufarova, Tatiana Akimova, Alexander Loginov and Anton Shipulin, with four spare rounds won the Bronze medal, 3.2 seconds back.
Fourth place went to the Italy, with six spares, 28.7 seconds back, while Ukraine was fifth, with eight spares, 35.6 seconds back. Sweden claimed sixth place, also with eight spares, 41.6 seconds back.
Good Start for Germany
Twenty-five nations lined up for the IBU World Championships-opening mixed relay on a sunny afternoon with the shooting range wind flags motionless. Hinz’s clean prone shooting gave Germany an early lead, but her two spares in standing allowed clean-shooting Italian Lisa Vittozzi to take the lead. Hinz tagged Dahlmeier in sixth; the German star struggled on the shooting range, using spares both in prone and standing. She compensated with fast skiing to tag Peiffer in first with France and Italy in second and third.
Peiffer Extends Lead
In the third leg, Peiffer’s clean shooting in both stages gave Germany an 11-second lead, with Fillon Maillet and Italy's Dominik Windisch in the chase. In standing, Fillon Maillet picked up a penalty, However with Fourcade as the anchor, the team still had a chance for Gold.
Schempp continued his teammate’s flawless performance in prone, but used one spare to clean standing, leaving with a 17-second lead. Shipulin and Fourcade closed the gap on Schempp, bug could not catch him. Schempp, however, crossed the finish line first. Fourcade and Shipulin battled back and forth over the last loop, with neither getting an advantage. Then in the final uphill finish stretch, Fourcade pulled away for the Silver medal, and Shipulin claimed the Bronze spot.
Germany was happy about the victory. Dahlmeier said, "“It is an amazing day for all of us. It’s great to win on the first day and have the pressure off.” Her teammate Peiffer, admitted there is always room for improvement."“You always have to improve, as if you think that you can relax, you lose it the next time. We are enjoying being on top today.” Schempp was pushed to the limit. "The first part of the last loop was tough, I gave all I had. I have to ski faster the next races.”
Fourcade was satisfied with Silver, “It was really good competition, I honestly thought I had no chance to beat Simon. When you look at the start list, I think might have gone for the first and have some regret, but I am happy to start the World Championships with Silver.”
Shipulin hoped to do better in the coming days, "Today is not the best example of a sprint finish battle that I could have done. I hope the rest of the World Championships it will be better.”