Grotian and Bened Win Individual Gold at IBU Junior Open European Championships
The IBU Junior Open European Championships kicked off in foggy Sjusjøen, Norway with Germany's Tim Grotian shooting clean to win the Gold medal in the junior men's 15K individual in 40:33.4. Camille Bened of France won the Gold medal in the junior women's 12.5K individual in 40:09.2 while matching her male counterpart on the shooting range.
Grotian Wins; Moves to Second in Total Score
Behind Grotian's victory, Norway's Vebjoern Soerum, with a single penalty in the final standing stage won the Silver medal, 23.4 seconds back. Slovenia's Alex Cisar, after wining two Gold medals at the IBU YJWCH last month also shot clean to win the Brionze medal today, 54.2 seconds back.
Norwegian teammates Sivert Bakken and Fredrik Grusd, both with two penalties, finished fourth and fifth, 1:05.6 and 1:55.8 back respectively. Germany's Darius Lodl finished sixth, with one penalty, 1:59.7 back.
The victory moved the German up to second in the Junior Cup Total Score, just six points behind the leader Sebastian Stalder. The upcoming competitions will decide who goes home with the Crystal Globe. Grotian was clearly happy with the today’s result. “I have never hit all the targets before! I don’t know what to say, its unbelievable." Despite the fog coming up during the competition, Grotian was stable and unfazed on the range. “The wind turned a little bit from left to right, but I stayed focused, hit all the targets and I’m very happy."
Silver medalist Soerum was especially satisfied after placing 49th in the same competition at the IBU YJWCH. “I think this is a huge step forward to be on the podium and I am satisfied." Today was first time the Norwegian 19 of 20 targets. That was the key to his podium result. complimenting the whole team, he added, “Now I got 19 of 20 for the first time. I am satisfied. Also I had really good skis today. The whole Norwegian team has done a good job with the ski testing and waxing and all that."
Regarding goals for the rest of these Championships, the two-time IBU YJWCH Gold medalist admitted more Gold medals are his focus.. “I have the sprint and the relay to catch that and I’m going for that.”
Bronze medalist Cisar admitted that the competition wasn’t easy, but he managed to handle the foggy conditions. “Today was quite challenging especially on my first prone and first standing shootings. I had to be really concentrated to hit the targets. It was quite hard to see them, but luckily I managed to cope quite well with the fog. It was a quite excellent competition for me because I shot four times zero in the shooting range which I managed to do second time in my career and the first time in individual. I guess the four zeroes came at the right time. My running wasn’t so fast as I wished so the perfect score at the shooting range was really pleasant for me."
* Bened Pushed Hard in Last Loops; Claims Gold *
Bened improved with each loop moving from 23rd after the first prone stage to the victory , overtaking early leader Sweden’s Amanda Lundstroem who also shot clean to take the Silver medal. Franziska Pfnuer of Germany, with a single penalty won the Bronze medal, 29,7 seconds back.
Russia's Alina Klevtsova finished fourth, with one penalty, 34 seconds back. Fifth went to Ukraine's Anna Kryvonos with two penalties, 58.3 seconds back while Norway's Marit Ishol Skogan finished sixth, shooting clean but 1:18.7 back.
Bened admitted that the Gold medal was very special. “It is incredible for me because at the World Championships I competed in the youth category and I didn’t take any medals there. But now here at the junior level I win. I’m so happy." She added that she wasn’t feeling that good before the competition which adds value to her victory.. “I’m very happy because I’m not in good shape today and I didn’t feel very good during the warm-up." Wearing a big smile, she explained what made her push so hard in the latter loops. “After the fourth shooting I was 9 seconds behind Amanda; the coach said 'Come on you can take the lead' . And then I finish 5 seconds before Amanda.”
Lundstroem pointed out that the fog complicated shooting. “Conditions were very difficult especially in the last standing where it was very foggy. I am very happy that I managed to take all the targets today." Although not winning the Gold medal, Lundstroem was satisfied. “There is nothing you can do about it. I was a little bit nervous and hoping that she would get a little bit tired in the end, but she was strong and I am satisfied with the second place. Now I’m looking forward to the single mixed tomorrow. I think that will be fun."
Pfnuer's third place guaranteed her the trophy in the Junior Cup Individual Score. “In the beginning of the season I didn’t expect that I can reach the globe and I am very happy about it,” The German didn’t expect to find herself on the podium today. “I didn’t expect that I could be on the podium with one mistake because on the track I’m not the best. The last two sprints were very hard, but today it was better."
The IBU Junior Open European Championships continue tomorrow with the single mixed relay at 10:00 CET and the mixed relay at 13:00 CET.