Anton Babikov and Victoria Slivko Take Gold Medals in IBU Cup Pursuits
Clean-shooting Anton Babikov of Russia won the men’s pursuit at IBU Cup 5 in Arber, finishing in 31:36.6. In the afternoon, Babikov’s teammate Victoria Slivko doubled up her sprint win by taking the women’s pursuit with two penalties in 30:14.4.
Fourth place went to yesterday’s Silver medalist Johannes Dale of Norway with three penalties, 58.7 seconds back. Russia’s Eduard Latypov moved from 14th place at the start to the fifth place at the finish with two penalties, 1:00.1 behind. His teammate, bib 8 Vadim Filimonov, in his first international event, finished sixth with two penalties, 1:40.7 back.
Only Clean Shooter
Perfect weather conditions with bright sun and no wind made a great set-up for the final competition day at IBU Cup 5. Despite the absence of the wind gusts at the shooting range, only Babikov managed to shoot clean in today’s men pursuit. Leaving the start gate two seconds apart, Begue and Dale came to the first prone stage together. Both shot clean, while Babikov, who followed this duo in 14 seconds, was also fast and perfect.
All three entered the second prone side-by-side. Dale missed once, going to the penalty loop, while Begue and the Russian cleaned again, increasing the lead to 13.4 seconds. The first standing saw Begue missing once, which gave the clean-shooting Babikov a 22.1 second advantage before the final shooting stage.
A.Babikov, "Sure, I'm happy right now, especially that Arber is a new experience for me, it's my first time here. I didn't have a good shape on the track but I shot clean and it was enough for the win."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 20, 2019
With no pressure, Babikov calmly closed all the targets at the last standing, leaving the stadium with a secure lead. Begue matched Babikov at the shooting range, keeping his second position, while the fate of third place was yet to be decided. Dale, Povarnitsyn, and Latypov entered the final standing side-by-side. Nevertheless, only Povarnitsyn cleaned, which gave him the last podium spot and first place in the IBU Cup Total Score.
Hoegberg’s teammate Felicia Lindqvist lost the third place she had after the last standing stage, crossing the finish line in fourth, 21.9 seconds back. Thekla Brun-Lie of Norway moved from ninth to fifth with two penalties, 34.4 seconds behind, while another German, bib 11 Marie Heinrich, finished sixth with one miss, 45.1 seconds back.
The women’s pursuit, the last competition in Arber, went under t he same perfect conditions as the men’s pursuit. Bib 1 Slivko left the starting gate with more than a 16-second advantage over her rivals. In the first prone she shot clean but slowly, which saw Femsteinevik, with the same perfect 5 shots, leaving the stadium together with the Russian. The Norwegian continued her perfect shooting in the second prone, while Slivko had to go for a penalty loop.
The third stage saw a change in the standings, where clean-shooting Lindqvist left in first, Horchler and Femsteinevik followed her within 2.7 seconds. Slivko, with one more collected penalty, was in fourth, 11.8 seconds behind the leader. The Norwegian, German, Swede and Russian arrived side by side to the final standing, setting up an exciting battle for the win.
V.Slivko, "Probably, it was possible to win in an easier way, without a penalty. But today I felt confident on the track and really glad that I cleaned the last standing, which was decisive."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 20, 2019
Among the four, Slivko was the only one who managed to close all the targets. She left for the final lap with a confident lead, while Horchler, Lindqvist and Hoegberg were within 5 seconds, battling for the last two podium spots. The Russian finished first, taking the second win in Arber. Horchler kept her second position, making the local fans ecstatic, while Hoegberg overcame her teammate in the final meters, taking third place.
Photos: IBU/Harald Deubert