IBU OECH Single Mixed Gold Medal to Norway; Mixed Relay Gold for Ukraine
The Norwegian duo of Endre Stroemsheim and Karoline Erdal, with 12 spare rounds won the IBU OECH Single Mixed Gold medal this afternoon in 47:12.2. Stroemsheim sealed the victory with his brilliant skiing and fast, clean final standing stage.
Germany, Ukraine Complete Single Mixed Relay Podium
Germany with Justus Strelow and Stephanie Scherer won the Silver medal, with five spare rounds, 11.5 seconds back. Ukraine, with Ruslan Tkalenko and Anastasiya Merkushyna won the Bronze medal, with seven spare rounds, 11.8 seconds back.
Good Skis; Aggressive Skiing
Stroemsheim commented on his anchor leg effort. “I was not too worried about the three spare rounds in prone; we had very good skis today.” Regarding his Gold-medal clinching standing stage, he added, “I tried to be aggressive; if you hesitate you will miss.”
Latvia finished fourth, 57.6 seconds back, with Austria in fifth, 57.6 seconds back and Russia in sixth, 1:34.2 back.
Austria and Ukraine
The sunshine that brightened the skies for yesterday’s super sprints was hidden under gray clouds today that kept the temperature at +3 for both competitions. The gusty wind crossing from left to right made shooting tricky all afternoon.
Austria led the first leg with Dunja Zdouc going 10-for 10 to tag Peter Brunner in first. Brunner held that lead with a clean prone stage, but slowed noticeably on the next loop, struggled in standing with two spare rounds, ceding control to Ukraine at the second exchange. Merkushyna cleaned prone to hold the lead while Erdal used her ski speed to stay close despite two spares in prone. Germany and Austria remained in the medal hunt. The Ukrainian came to standing with a nine second lead and used two spares while the Norwegian cleaned in five shots. That put Stroemsheim just .3 seconds back as he started the anchor leg, with Germany and Austria another 5 seconds back.
Stroemsheim Powers to Victory
The Norwegian leader proved much stronger than his rival in the first 1500 meter loop, grabbing a 15 second lead by prone. He needed three spares to clean while Strelow cleaned used none to move just front of the Norwegian with Tkalenko now four seconds back, heading to the deciding standing stage. The powerful Stroemsheim quickly moved back to the lead, pulling away from the field once again. Five quick standing shots gave the win to Norway; Strelow matched to leave in second, 10 seconds ahead of the Ukrainian. Tkalenko found some power and pushed hard closing the gap, but still missed the Silver medal by .3 seconds.
Mixed Relay Silver to Russia
Behind the winning Ukrainians, the Russian team fought back from fourth position after the last standing stage to claim the Silver medal, with nine spares, 32.2 seconds back. Norway, with three spares won the Bronze medal, 33.7 seconds back.
Belarus finished fourth. 40.4 seconds back. Poland finished fifth, 2:33.3 back with Estonia in sixth, 2:40.1 back.
Belarus, Ukraine and Estonia
Conditions remained the same for the early evening mixed relay with a steady strong wind cutting across the shooting range from left to right. Despite the wind, good shooting marked the opening women’s legs. Belarusian leadoff leg Dzinara Alimbekava led the field out of the first standing stage, but slowed dramatically to the exchange with Irina Kryuko. Semerenko tagged Dzhima in first, with Sweden next; the home team 11 seconds back. Kryuko cleaned her prone stage to retain the lead, but in standing Dzhima matched her 5-for-5 prone stage to leave 4 seconds in front. Yet by the second exchange, Belarus was on top with Ukraine 8 seconds back and surprising Estonia another second back.
Three Battle for Two Medals
Third leg Pryma cleaned his prone stage in five shots while Anton Smolski needed three spare rounds. The gap went up to nine seconds with Sivert Bakken bringing Norway up to third heading to the standing stage. Smolski and Pryma shot side-by-side in standing; Smolski cleaned in five to retake the lead; Bakken was perfect but lagged 27 seconds behind the leaders. Pryma battled in the deep soft snow to tag Pidruchnyi 1 second before Super Sprint Gold Medalist Bocharnikov. Bocharnikov cleaned prone in six shots opening up a 4 second gap on Pidruchnyi who needed seven. Aleksander Fjeld Andersen and Said Karimulla Khalili both cleaned in five to stay together, fighting for the podium. The Ukrainian cleaned standing in five to secure the Gold medal; Bocharnikov went for a penalty loop. Khalili moved past his rivals with a kilometer to go, ensuring the Silver medal. Norway hung on for the Bronze.
After finishing 4th in the mixed relay, Belarus made a protest. By the Jury of Competition it was decided to DSQ team Norway, therefore the Norwegian team appealed the final results at the Jury of Appeal, which will gather for decision later tonight.— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) February 27, 2020
After receiving the 🇧🇻 protest, the Jury of Appeal reviewed the complete situation once more. By taking into a count visual material as well as witness reports, the Jury of Appeal finally decided to accept the 🇧🇻 protest and to uphold the results as in finish: 🇧🇻 3rd, 🇧🇾 4th.— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) February 27, 2020
Last Loop Battle
Pidruchnyi commented on his last loop battle with Bocharnikov. “The conditions were tough and I did not feel that good. I was battling with Bocharnikov; I understood that he is fast and strong. When we came to the final shooting, I knew that I had to shoot clean in the battle for the medal. He gave me this chance, so I took it.” Regarding his flag-waving finish, he added, “It was really nice to finish with the flag. You do not get that chance very often…Today, I was very happy to do it today.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni