Bekh and Cisar European Crowned Two Junior Sprint Champions

Bekh and Cisar European Crowned Two Junior Sprint Champions

Alex Cisar of Slovenia and Ekaterina Bekh of Ukraine won the Junior Open European Championships Sprint Gold medals in Hochfilzen. For Cisar it is the second medal in two competitions, Bekh won despite a penalty loop. Bright sunshine, a clear blue sky and almost no wind: were perfect external conditions for top-class performances but it still meant hard work for the athletes as the tracks were becoming increasingly wet, deeper and slower.

Bekh and Cisar European Crowned Two Junior Sprint Champions

Cisar takes JOECH sprint gold with 10/10

After his second place yesterday, Alex Cisar was crowned the new IBU Junior European Sprint Champion. One of only a few, he shot clean and was unbeatable on the tracks. Yesterday's winner, Vitezlav Hornig of Czech Republic, made the podium again today, swapping places with Cisar, with a penalty, 21.2 seconds back with the Silver medal.

Bronze went to the dominator of this year's IBU Junior Cup season. Niklas Hartweg of Switzerland also shooting clean; he has shot clean in every sprint this season. After the standing stage he still had a narrow lead over Cisar. But in the final lap he dropped back to third position. At the finish, he admitted, "I gave everything, but you could see that the track became softer and slower." He was loudly cheered by Cisar after standing.

Despite the fact that the eventual winner loudly cheered after the shooting. "First I cheered for Niklas. We are good friends and it is important to help each other. But secondly, I was already aware that I would probably be faster at the finish because the course was getting slower", said Cisar, proving true sportsmanship with his actions.

Bekh and Cisar European Crowned Two Junior Sprint Champions

Bekh wins despite a penalty

Ekaterina Bekh of Ukraine was in a class of her own in the deep snow on the tracks today Despite a missed shot and a penalty loop she won the Gold medal. "It was a tough race. I am even happier to have won the gold medal," she said proudly after tears of joy were shed at the victory ceremony.

Bekh's victory was determined relatively quickly. None of her competitors could keep up with the Ukrainian. Second and third places however, were hard fought. Again and again, a new athlete pushed her way up to the medal ranks during the competition.

In the meantime it looked like local hero Anna Gandler would take home another medal after her victory yesterday. She shot clean again, which gives her 30/30 in two days. This stellar shooting performance was enough for fifth place.

Laura Boucaud from France won the Silver medal 21.4 seconds back. The Bronze medal went to Anastasia Shevchenko of Russia, the top female performer a the IBU Junior World Championships in Lenzerheide, 33.5 seconds back. Both women shot clean.

Bekh and Cisar European Crowned Two Junior Sprint Champions

Hartweg and Spark win sprint score

There was tension until the end in the race for the small Crystal Globe in the Women's IBU Junior Cup Sprint Score. In the end, Lisa Maria Spark of Germany narrowly beat Switzerland's Amy Baserga. Spark finished 22nd today, after Baserga finished 39th place.

However, another Swiss athlete won a small Crystal Globe under the blue skies Niklas Hartweg won with 248 points, ahead of Guillaume Desmus (160 points). He finished in the top ten in every IBU Junior Cup Sprint this season, while not missing a single shot.

Photo: Harald Deubert