Bakken and Bened Crowned IBU JOECH Sprint Champions
Host country Norway had a reason to celebrate when Sivert Guttorm Bakken was crowned Junior European Sprint Champion. Leading after the prone stage, Bakken continues to run hard and shoot clean, finishing in 24:48.1 for the Gold medal. Germany’s Tim Grotian also shooting clean won the Silver medal, 7.5 seconds back. Italy’s Tommaso Giacomel matched his rivals on the range to take the Bronze medal, 24.6 seconds back.
A few hours later it was women’s turn with France going 1-2. Camille Bened was crowned the Junior European Sprint Champion while teammate Gilonne Guigonnat claiming the Silver medal with both women shooting clean. Taking the lead from teammate Guigonnat after the standing stage, Bened finished 21.58, only 2.4 seconds ahead Guigonnat. Despite one penalty, Germany’s Juliane Fruehwirt claimed the Bronze with 15.1 seconds back.
First JOECH Gold for Bakken
Happy to win in his home stadium, Bakken commented, “It feels great to win at the stadium I train so much at. I know the tracks very well." With excellent shooting and fast running in the first loops, Bakken admitted to struggling a bit in the final loop. “I opened pretty hard on the first lap and tried to keep up the pace on the second. I got a little bit heavy on the last loop, but I think I managed to pull myself together and do okay at least. I am really happy.”
19th after clean shooting in prone, Grotian managed to find some speed on the tracks. “I started a little bit slow because I wanted to focus on the shooting range. In the last loop I run and run and run because I knew the gap with Sivert."
His runner-up spot today gave Grotian the Junior Cup Sprint Score Globe and put him atop the Junior Cup Total Score by 41 points the over Switzerland’s Sebastian Stalder.
On the podium for the second time this season, Italy’s Giacomel was utterly satisfied with the result. “I’m speechless, I don’t know what I can say. Today’s race was just incredible. Clean shooting for the second time in my life and I am really happy with the third place today.”
4th place went to Norway's Joergen Brendengen Krogsaeter, with one penalty, 28.2 seconds back. Russia’s Said Karimulla Khalili finished fifth, with one penalty, 29.8 seconds back. Norway’s Vebjoern Soerum finished sixth, with one penalty, 30.8 seconds back.
*France's Bened and Guigonnat 1-2 *
Wearing bib no 84, late starter Bened held the tension in the air for Guigonnat throughout the competition. “The last loop was very crazy because I was second behind Gilonne. I haven’t had the best year so is it crazy for me to win today.” Bened is also very happy for their 1-2 finish. “We cried after the competition. For me I’m youth and to win today is very good, but that we have two on the podium… It is a very good day for the team.”
A mere 2.4 seconds back, Guigonnat was happy with the Silver medal. “I watched Camille’s competition on my phone with my hands shaking,”Guigonnat, who led for the most of the competition admitted. “Would have been nice to win, but I was happy to be second and that Camille won."
Having felt ill in the morning, Fruehwirt is happy with the Bronze medal today. “I am so satisfied with today’s race because I felt so ill and I didn’t want to start in the morning. And big thanks to my coach and to my team who supported me on the tracks and said “Don’t give up.”
It was close call for Germany’s Sophia Schneider, in fourth place, with one penalty, 15,9 seconds back. Shooting clean, but losing time on the course, Russia’s Alina Klevtsova finished fifth, 26.6 seconds back. sixth place went to Germany’s Hanna-Michelle Hermann, with two penalties, 24.6 seconds back.
Germany’s Hanna Kebinger won the Junior Cup Sprint Cup Globe after finishing ninth today.
The IBU Junior European Championships close tomorrow with the Junior Men's 12.5K pursuit at 10:00 CET, followed by Junior Women's 10K pursuit at 13.00 CET.