Alexander Loginov victorious in IBU WCH Sprint
Russia’s Alexander Loginov shot clean to win his first-ever IBU World Championship, taking the men’s sprint Gold medal this afternoon in Antholz in 22:48.1. France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet, with one penalty won the Silver medal, with one penalty, 6.5 seconds back. His teammate Martin Fourcade, shooting clean took the Bronze medal, 19.5 seconds back.
Tough Last Lap
The 2013 IBU Junior Sprint World Champion admitted that shooting and knowing his rival’s split timed were the keys to his first senior title. “The key point was the good shooting…I had an advantage because I knew exactly the timing of Martin and Quentin. But of course it is always very hard because the last lap is always very tough.”
Fourth and fifth places went to Norwegian brothers Tarjei and Johannes Thingnes Boe, 22.5 and 23.9 seconds back respectively; Tarjei shot clean while his brother had a single penalty. France added another athlete to the Flower Ceremony when Emilien Jacquelin, with one penalty finished sixth.
Perfect “Suntholz” Day: Top Men Clean Prone
Just another perfect day in “Suntholz” is all that can be said about this Saturday afternoon when Italy’s Lukas Hofer opened the competition wearing bib number 1 in his home stadium. The good weather led to many more clean prone stages than the women had in yesterday’s gusty sprint competition. However, the Italian missed his first prone shot as did number 3 Johannes. Fourcade came to the stadium a few seconds slower than Johannes, but as is his style, shot calmly and clean, leaving less than two seconds back. Dmytro Pidruchnyi matched Fourcade to slip into the second spot after prone. Tarjei set the field on its heels with a strong five shots to jump in front of both his brother and Fourcade. Then Loginov cleaned to move just 1 second behind Fourcade. Number 59 Jacquelin made his bid for a medal by cleaning prone to jump to the front of the whole field.
Loginov Takes Control
Johannes wasted no time in the standing stage, coming in fast, shooting fast and clean. However, Fillon Maillet, who also had a prone penalty, matched the Norwegian with his own shooting class, leaving just .6 seconds faster. Fourcade again shot very carefully, with about 2.5 seconds between shots, closing all five targets for a perfect shooting day, but left 4.9 seconds behind his teammate. Just a couple of minutes later, Tarjei matched his French rival but remained 4 seconds behind Fillon Maillet. Loginov upped the ante with a perfect, fast standing stage to leave with a 7.6 second lead over Fillon Maillet. Jacquelin missed a shot, but left just.3 seconds behind Fourcade.
Gold Medal Push
Fillon Maillet was on fire on the tracks, pulling 7 seconds ahead by 8.5 km, up to 12.3 seconds by 9.6 km stretching it to 17.4 seconds over Johannes. Fourcade closed the gap on Johannes to .6 seconds with 1500 meters to go, while Tarjei faded a bit but was holding second position. The Yellow Bib pushed hard to get 4 seconds ahead of Johannes by the finish, while Tarjei was unable to match either of his French rivals into the finish. However, after finishing in total exhaustion, he was 1.4 seconds ahead of his brother. Loginov continued his Gold medal push still in control at the 8.5 km split. He pushed with a fast tempo into the stadium, crossing the line 6.5 seconds faster than Fillon Maillet for his first IBU World Championship.
Happy with Silver
Fillon Maillet knew getting medal would be hard. “I had a lot of emotions during the race. After one miss in prone; I know that you can go on the podium with one miss, so I stayed very focused. My coach told me I was very fast. After I crossed the finish line I saw the other good athletes behind me, I thought about the win. After I saw the last shooting of Alexander, I was disappointed to miss the win by such a small amount but happy with this Silver.”
World Champs Podium; Big Difference
Fourcade was not disappointed with the Bronze medal, the 16th IBU WCH medal of his career. “I am really satisfied to be back on this podium after a difficult season and World champs last year. I am just glad to have this special feeling today. Of course, it is a World Champs podium and that makes a big difference to me; I am really glad.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Petr SlaviK