IBU OECH Super Sprint Gold to Sergey Bocharnikov and Evgeniya Pavlova
Sergey Bocharnikov of Belarus, using just three spare rounds to shoot clean, thrilled the home crowd by winning the Gold medal in the IBU Open European Championships Men’s Super Sprint this evening in 14:12.8. Thirty minutes later, Russia’s Evgeniya Pavlova went 20-for-20 to win the Women’s Super Sprint Gold medal in 16:31.8.
Men’s Super Sprint
The Silver medal in the men’s competition went to Adam Vaclavik of Czech Republic, with three spares, .4 seconds back for his first-ever podium and medal. Vaclavik, 2019 IBU Pursuit World Champion Dmytro Pidruchnyi of Ukraine with two spares won the Bronze medal, .5 seconds back.
Tactics like Johannes, Fourcade and Jacquelin
The top three men sprinted down the last hill to the finish, meters apart. Bocharnikov commented on the sprint finish. “I am not so good on the finish. I tried to go left to get a better position, so that Adam could not make a move. I watched Johannes, Fourcade and Emilien Jacquelin in Antholz make this move. It is a good tactic to get first on the finish line.”
The IBU OECH-opening super sprints featured one large fields, large fields with 120 men and 105 women, all vying for the first medals of the week. The 1 km loop covered with trucked in snow was soft and deep after a rainy night and mid-day sunshine pushed start time temperatures up to +6C.
Home Team Dominates; Anton Smolski Wins Qualifying Round
A moderate breeze crossing the shooting range from left to right resulted in plenty of missed shots and tours of the 75-meter penalty loop in the qualifying round. When the dust settled, three men, familiar with Raubichi filled the top three spots. Anton Smolski of Belarus and his teammate Viktar Kryuko were first and third while Russia’s Eduard Latypov, who won the Super Sprint Bronze medal at last summer’s IBU SBWCH here finished between the two Belarusians.
Never in the Lead
Bocharnikov won his title in the final standing stage, after being in contention (11th, 7th and 5th) but never in the lead until he closed the last five standing targets in five quick shots. Russia’s Eduard Latypov and Pidruchnyi both led at one point, with the Russian cleaning the first prone stage and the first standing stages. Pidruchnyi took his turn in front after the second prone stage. Coming to the final standing stage, Latypov had a 20 meter lead on the field, but ended up with two penalty loops that put out of podium contention. Meanwhile, the Belarusian in fifth position went 5-for-5 and was gone with Vaclavik and Pidruchnyi just a few meters behind after each used one spare round.
Emilien Claude of France finished fourth, 10 seconds back, Sturla Holm Laegreid of Norway finished fifth, 13.7 seconds back while Kirill Streltsov of Russia finished sixth, 25.6 seconds back.
Women’s Super Sprint
Valja Semerenko of Ukraine finished fourth, 8.4 seconds back, with Sweden’s Emma Nilsson in fifth place, 14.3 seconds back. Anastasiya Merkushyna of Ukraine finished sixth, 15.2 seconds back.
Olympic Women’s Relay Gold Medalists 1-2
As in the men’s qualifying, a local hero, Dzinara Alimbekava, with one spare topped the women’s qualifying round in 9:42. The 2018 Olympic Relay Gold medalist topped 2014 Olympic Relay Gold medalist, Ukraine’s Valja Semerenko, also with one spare round, but 2.3 seconds back. Third went to Sweden’s Elisabeth Hoegberg who won both the sprint and pursuit at the last IBU Cup in Martell, Italy. Hoegberg only needed 10 shots to clean but finished 12 seconds back. Ukraine led all teams with five qualifiers with three of them finishing in the top six in the final.
Pavlova Second until Last Standing
In the final, top qualifier Alimbekava led going into the last standing stage after Semerenko had earlier led. Pavlova was consistent throughout the competition, going 5-for-5 in every shooting stage while sitting in second position every time she left the shooting range. In the final standing stage, the Belarusian used all three spare rounds and went to the penalty loop, opening the door for Pavlova. With her rivals several seconds back, she was never challenged in the last loop, crossing the finish line waving to the crowd.
Chevalier “Lots of Fun”
Bronze medalist Chevalier who has been on the World Cup circuit had her best result of the season in not her favorite competition. “I am very happy because this is not my favorite race. It is a little bit too short for me, but today I had a lot of fun and I am super happy…the skiing was most important today because the track is very hard, the snow not so good, but sometimes in hard conditions I feel good. That was the case today so I am happy.”
Photos: Christian Manzoni