Lesiuk and Davidova Win SB WCH Gala Mass Starts

Ukraine’s Taras Lesiuk took control of the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships Men’s 12.5 km Gala Mass Start when he cleaned the first standing stage and never looked back on his way to winning the Gold medal in 32:34.3. The Ukrainian was the only man in the field to shoot clean on a windy afternoon. In the late afternoon, Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova after picking up her only penalty in prone, did the same as Lesiuk, taking control in the first standing stage and skiing unopposed to the Women’s 10 km Gala Mass Start Gold medal in 29:03.

“My first victory”

Lesiuk’s first clean-shooting day of his career made his win that much more special. “It is a really crazy day for me. It was my first victory in the high category. Today was a really hard day. I cannot believe that I did it. It was the first time that I raced without a penalty loop. Unbelievable… I cannot describe this (feeling).”

Davidova, “It was really hard for everyone”

2022 Gala Mass Start Bronze medalist Davidova was quite pleased with her shooting that keyed her victory but admitted it was a tough day for everyone. “I am happy especially with my shooting because I was struggling this whole summer with my shooting. I am happy to know that I can do it, but there is still a lot of work to do.” Regarding the conditions, she added, “I think it was really hard for everyone today. We just tried to survive this, but it is over!”

Header iconIBU Summer Biathlon World Championships 2023 Sunday Competitions

Men's Gala Mass Start

Romania’s Dmitrii Shamaev, with two penalties won the Silver medal, finishing 8.6 seconds back. Vytautas Strolia of Lithuania, with three penalties, won the Bronze medal, 16.7 seconds back after taking Sprint Silver yesterday. Andrejs Rastorgujevs of Latvia, with five penalties finished fourth, 30.5 seconds back. Germany’s Fabian Kaskel, with one penalty finished fifth, 33.9 seconds back. Belgium’s Thierry Langer, with three penalties finished sixth, 41.9 seconds back. A warm 29C degree afternoon set the stage for the final competitions in Osrblie, with the men taking center stage two hours before the women started. A dozen men, led by Jesper Nelin shot clean in the first prone stage, leaving the range within 19 seconds. Everything changed in the second prone stage, as Rastorgujevs cleaned after missing a shot in the first prone. Only two men remained perfect, Lesiuk and Andrzej Nedza-Kubinec, going out eight and thirteen seconds behind the Latvian.

Lesiuk Takes Control

After the second prone stage, Rastorgujevs pulled well ahead of his pursuers, putting 22 seconds between himself and his pursuers. Shooting all alone, he missed his last two shots. Behind him, Lesiuk cleaned to take a 14-second lead, with Strolia also clean, moving to third, 20 seconds back and 6 seconds behind Rastorgujevs in second position.

Strolia Moves Up

By the deciding last standing stage, the top three were separated by less than ten seconds. The trio shot side-by-side; the Ukrainian shot quickly and clean to seal the victory, while his rivals went to the penalty loop. Shamaev and Kaskel cleaned, leaving second and third but over 20 seconds off the lead, with Strolia just 3 seconds behind, battling to get on the podium. By the 11 km split, the Lithuanian was into the last podium spot which he held through the finish behind Gold medalist Lesiuk and Silver medalist Shamaev.

Women’s Gala Mass Start

Estonia’s Tuuli Tomingas, the Sprint Gold medalist with two penalties today won the Silver medal, 8.1 seconds behind the winner Davidova. Marion Wiesensarter of Germany, also with two penalties won the Bronze medal, 12.1 seconds back. Fourth place went to Ukraine’s Yulia Dzhima, with one penalty, 13.9 seconds back. Davidova’s teammates Tereza Vobornikova and Lucie Charvátová, with one and three penalties finished fifth and sixth, 23.9 and 34.1 seconds back, respectively.

The late afternoon women’s competition faced the same warm windy conditions as the men had earlier. As with the men, a big group cleaned the first prone stage, with Sidorowicz and Spark leading a pack of ten women back onto the tracks. The wind took over in the second prone stage with many of the early leading group heading to the penalty loop. The wind bothered Dzhima little as she cleaned fast, taking a 9.3-second lead over Czech teammate Jislova, Davidova, Charvátová, and Germany’s Braun, all of whom also cleaned.

Davidova Moves into lead

The Ukrainian missed one shot in the first standing stage, while Davidova cleaned with ease as did Sprint Gold medalist Tomingas who previously missed one shot in prone. Davidova’s fast clean stage gave her a 17-second lead over Tomingas and Dzhima who left the stadium side-by-side, with others following in a compact train.

Last Standing Secures Victory

Davidova sealed the victory, cleaning the last standing stage with ease. Tomingas and Dzhima matched, holding second and third positions, 12.2 and 17.9 seconds back, respectively. At the same time, Wiesensarter and Vobornikova also cleaned, leaving just meters behind Dzhima, with 2 km to the finish.

Davidova controlled the last loop, claiming the Gold medal, with Tomingas holding on to the Silver. By 9 km, the German with a one-meter lead over Dzhima in the battle for the Bronze medal gradually started to pull away, securing the last step on the podium.

Junior Pursuits

Hristova’s Hat Trick

Bulgaria’s Lora Hristova ended this year’s IBU SB WCH just like she did in the super sprint and sprint, with a Gold medal around her neck. Hristova, after a back and forth battle with Slovakia’s Ema Kapustova completed a Gold medal hat trick by winning the junior women’s 7.5 km pursuit, despite five penalties in 24:28.3. Kapustova, with one penalty won the Silver medal, as in yesterday’s sprint, 2 seconds back. Ukraine’s Olena Horodna, with four penalties won her second Bronze medal of the week, 56.5 seconds back.

Legovic Dominates Junior Men’s Pursuit

Matija Legovic missed one target in the first prone stage of the junior men’s 10 km pursuit, then closed fifteen consecutive targets in a 25:49.4 runaway to the Gold medal. The 17-year-old who won Silver and Bronze medals at this year’s IBU Youth World Championships ran the last loop unchallenged, finishing one minute ahead of Silver medalist Vitalii Mandzyn of Ukraine, with three penalties. Sprint Gold medalist Bohdan Borkovskyi also of Ukraine won the Bronze medal with five penalties, 1:01 back.

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni

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