Gold for Ukraine in IBU OECH Mixed Relay
The Ukrainian team of Yulia Zhuravok, Irina Varvynets, Artem Pryma and Dmytro Pidruchnyi, using just six spare rounds won the final Gold medal at this year’s IBU OECH in 1:11:40.1. Pidruchnyi clinched the win with a single spare in the last standing to pull safely ahead of Silver medalists Russia, with nine spares, 11.7 seconds back. Norway won the Bronze medal, with only four spares, 33.2 seconds back.
France finished fourth, 39.6 seconds back. Fifth went to Czech Republic, 1:19.2 back. Early leader Sweden finished sixth, 1:24.8 back.
More of the Same Conditions: Good First Leg Shooting
The final competition of the week was simply more of the same, conditions-wise, mostly sunny with a few thin clouds over the mountains, fast tracks, windless shooting range and almost spring-like temperatures in the plus 6C range. Surprising Sweden with Johanna Skottheim led out of the stadium after both prone and standing. Italy’s Alexia Runggaldier was just a couple of seconds back after not using single spare round. By the time the field raced the first exchange, Germany’s Nadine Horchler was in front, tagging her sister Karolin, six seconds ahead of Russia and Sweden.
Quickly after the exchange, Russia and Sweden took charge once again, with Emma Nilsson and Anastasia Zagoruiko both cleaning prone. They skied together being chased by local hero Karin Oberhofer. In standing the two leaders both used a spare round, with the Swede getting a stride or two in front. Oberhofer made her day perfect with five more closed targets and flew out of the stadium. Nilsson tagged teammate Torstein Stenersen in first with Evgeniy Garanichev .7 seconds back. Oberhofer tagged Saverio Zini in third, but 19.5 seconds back. Second leg Chloe Chevalier now had her French team up to sixth, moving up from tenth.
Pryma Sets Up Ukraine Victory
Stenersen cleaned prone to hold the lead while Garanichev used two spares falling 14.8 seconds back. Fabien Claude with a single spare was now up to fourth. Standing changed the positions; Ukraine’s Pryma used a spare but left in the lead while Claude cleaned to move into second, 11.4 seconds back. Pryma held the lead while Garanichev put on a burst of speed to tag Alexander Loginov in second, 12.7 seconds ahead of France’s Simon Fourcade. Pidruchnyi cleaned prone quickly and was gone; Loginov matched. Fourcade needed a single spare but Gjesbakk went 5-for-5; they left for standing in lockstep. In standing the Ukrainian cleaned in six while Loginov needed three spares. Gjesbakk used one spare to Fourcade’s two to put Norway in third. The podium was set.
Critical Standing Stage
Pryma commented on his critical standing stage. “I did not think about it too much. I just tried to do my job and hit the targets. It worked out.”
Zhuravok who tagged Varvynets in 10th position admitted, “I was very worried before the race and even more after my two spare rounds in prone.”
Slivko with Silver for Russia was happy with her second medal after taking a Bronze in the 15K individual. “I am pleased with my race. I knew the Swedish girls were good, so it was no surprise that they were in the lead.”
Hit the Targets
Norway had the best shooting of the day with just four spares, executing the coaches’ plan perfectly. Haavard Gutuboe Bogetveit said, “We had a meeting about tactics yesterday and decided to not be so aggressive on the shooting range and just try to hit the targets.”
This was the final mixed relay of the IBU Cup season, with France winning the small Crystal Globe for the mixed relay.