Johannes Dale and Olga Abramova Take IBU Cup Sprints
Johannes Dale of Norway won the men’s sprint at IBU Cup 8 in Martell by finishing first with one penalty in 24:50.7. Later in the day, Ukraine’s clean-shooting Olga Abramova won the women’s sprint in 23:14.7.
Dale’s teammate Endre Stroemsheim, the super sprint winner in Otepää, was one of only two clean shooters of the day but crossed the line in second place, 6.3 seconds behind. Another Norwegian junior Aleksandr Fjeld Andersen finished third with one penalty, 15 seconds back.
Fourth place went to Fredrik Gjesbakk of Norway with one penalty, 37.4 seconds behind. Aristide Begue of France went for a penalty loop after each stage and finished fifth, 48.7 seconds back. Italy’s Patrick Braunhofer with one penalty and Germany’s Lucas Fratzscher with two penalties shared the sixth place, 51 seconds back.
On a sunny but windy morning, 64 men started the first competition of final IBU Cup 8 in Martell. Due to the strong wind gusts that crossed the range from time to time, not many athletes managed to shoot well, especially in standing. Being one of the accurate prone shooters, Dale left the stadium in first, just 1.1 seconds ahead of Germany’s David Zobel and 1.7 seconds of the current IBU Cup Total and Sprint Scores leader Anton Babikov of Russia.
Unlike his rivals, who made two and three mistakes respectively, Dale missed just once at the standing, which still dropped him to third position, 14.7-seconds from the leader. He pushed very hard on the final lap, regaining the time with every meter. The young Norwegian crossed the finish line in first, taking his eighth podium in his first senior season!
J.Dale, "I didn't think I'm going to win, especially that on the altitude you don't feel so strong. I always had good last lap and I knew that, so just tried to push all I had. On the last uphill I thought my legs were going to 'fall off' because it was hard!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) March 14, 2019
Three Juniors on Podium
With the clean prone, Stroemsheim, who started the competition 30 seconds behind Dale, was only ninth when he left the stadium. The same perfect standing stage moved him up to first place after standing. Giving everything on the final loop, Stroemsheim could not hold the lead and finished second. While his teammates were perfect in prone, another Norwegian junior Andersen missed once, leaving 25.8 seconds behind Dale. Nevertheless, he shot clean in standing, which allowed him to grab the third place, taking his first senior podium.
France’s Myrtille Begue finished fourth despite two penalties, 40.8 seconds behind. Norway’s Karoline Offigstad Knotten finished fifth with one penalty, 44 seconds back, while the current leader of the IBU Cup Total Score Russia's Victoria Slivko strengthened her position by finishing sixth with two standing penalties, 44.4 seconds behind.
The wind gusts calmed down before the women’s competition but still were blowing from time to time, causing some problems for the ladies. Cleaning the first shooting, Abramova left just 1.4 seconds behind leading Knotten. Unlike her Norwegian rival, the Ukrainian was also perfect in standing, taking the lead. Her advantage over the second place was 12.6 seconds, which she doubled by the finish line, taking her first-ever win.
🇺🇦O.Abramova, "This season was very hard for me with a lot of health issues and this win, the first in my career and in such a tough year, means so much for me. I am so happy!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) March 14, 2019
One prone penalty saw Reztsova in only 27th place with a 41-second gap to the leader. With a second clean shooting she improved her position but still was just 6th, 16 seconds behind second place. She pushed hard on the final lap, overtaking the rivals and finishing second. After two accurate bouts, Skottheim left the stadium in second but could not keep it until the finish, taking third.
After the medal ceremonies, the first globes of this season were awarded. Russia’s Anton Babikov and Victoria Slivko won the IBU Cup Pursuit Scores.
Photos: IBU/Harald Deubert