Aleksander Fjeld Andersen and Johanna Skottheim take IBU Cup sprints
Aleksander Fjeld Andersen of Norway took the win in the men's sprint at IBU Cup 3 in Obertilliach, finishing in 25:45.8. Later in the day, Johanna Skottheim of Sweden finished first in the women's sprint, despite one penalty, in 21:12.0.
Russia’s Alexander Povarnitsyn also was accurate on the shooting range but slower on the track, finishing 11 seconds behind Nawrath. Bogdan Tsymbal of Ukraine shot clean to finish fifth, 54.8 seconds back, while Tomas Krupcik of Czech Republic took sixth place, despite a penalty, 1:05.5 behind.
Perfect shooting – perfect win
Light rain and cloudy skies greeted 127 men today this morning before the first competition. Taking into account the weather conditions, it was obvious that earlier start numbers would be an advantage in today’s sprint. Bib 18 Andersen, who was third in the Sjusjoen sprint despite three penalties, today was perfect on the range! Closing all targets at the prone, he left the stadium in first and kept the lead during the whole competition. This win became the first-ever for a young Norwegian, who was excited after the finish.
🇳🇴A.F.Andersen, "It was a good race. I had a bad shooting in the individual, but today I've got my 'revenge' with clean shooting and good skiing! And I also managed to take advantage of my early start number."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 20, 2019
📸: Evgeny Tumashov pic.twitter.com/XMB5cTVIqh
While Andersen took his first victory, Schommer had his first-ever podium. Starting with early number 5, the American took full advantage of his bib, having just a perfect competition from the beginning until the end. Due to accurate shooting and great speed, which Schommer managed to hold during the competition, he crossed the finish line in second. Like his rivals, Nawrath was also perfect at the shooting range, nevertheless, with the later number 36, he was slower on the track, which saw him taking third place.
Fourth place went to Merkushyna’s clean-shooting teammate Yuliia Zhuravok, who missed the podium by mere .1 second! The winner of the short individual Stefanie Scherer of Germany also shot perfect to become fifth, 27.7 seconds behind. Norway’s Ida Lien finished sixth with one penalty, 28.3 seconds back.
Starting the competition with early bib 7 and one prone penalty, Skottheim was only 12th with a 18.9-second gap to the leading Merkushyna, when she left the stadium. However, a clean standing stage moved her up to first position, which she held until the finish line, taking her second sprint win in a row. Unlike her rival, Merkushyna left one unhit target at the second shooting, which saw her dropping to third place.
🇸🇪@JSkottheim, "It feels really good to get a second sprint victory in a row. Last week, in Ridnaun, it was kind of a surprise, so this time it feels even better. It's also awesome to share a podium with @magnussonannaa, we are a great team, so it was fun!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 20, 2019
📸: Evgeny Tumashov pic.twitter.com/n8ctESzdCr
Just like her teammate, Magnusson also missed once in prone and was 14.7 seconds behind the leader. The standing stage saw her closing all the targets with just a few seconds gap to Skottheim. Having a later start number and knowing the leader's result, Magnusson gave it everything to try to catch her teammate, but could not reduce the gap and finished second.
Photos: Evgeny Tumashov