Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

Missing just once in very moody and windy conditions  and skiing with a solid speed proved to be the winning formula for Krasimir Anev of Bulgaria in men's 20K individual at the IBU Open European Championships Anev finished in 53:18.1, 3.7 seconds faster  than Norway's Tarjei Boe, fastest on the tracks but three penalties doomed him to the Silver medal. The Bronze medal went to Boe’s teammate Endre Stroemsheim who kept his composure throughout the competition, shooting with great authority on both prone stages while missing once at each standing. Hana Oeberg of Sweden with three penalties and fast skiing earned her a hard won Gold medal in women's 15K individual in 48:13. with Silver medalist Yuliia Zhuravok of Ukraine, with one penalty, 32.1 seconds back securing Women’s IBU Cup Individual Score title. Bronze medalist Iryna Kryuko  of Belarus,  with two penalties,  41.5 seconds started these home championships well at the Winter Olympic Sport Center in Raubichi - Minsk.

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

Quietly Finding His Way To A Win

Anev started his competition in a measured style, shooting clean at the first prone and trailing highly motivated leading Boe by 41.5 seconds. He missed once in the first standing but wind played tricks with so many other athletes that he still managed to clock the fifth fastest time going into third lap.

With Boe cleaning targets 6,7,8,9 and 10, the competition looked set for one and one question only: will the great Norwegian miss and will he miss more than once; his speed on the tracks was such that no one could match it?

Boe admitted, “I have today’s race really strong. I felt good on the skis but I need to admit I was a bit lucky at the first standing shooting. The wind was strong and very unpredictable. I spent a lot of time at the shooting range. From my experience I know how windy Östersund normally is so this was a really good test for me. I will have to be more aggressive in the sprint competition.”

One Miss Too Many For Boe

Boe missed for the first time in the second prone. He  left the shooting range as the fastest on the day with only his young teammate Stroemsheim trailing him by less than a minute. Anev’s calm mind, sharp eye and firm finger on the trigger allowed him to shoot clean again and move into fourth place, still a minute behind Boe. The  two-time world champion came to this year’s IBU Open European Championships with a clear aim to prepare himself for a medal hunt at the IBU World Championships next month. He knew for he said so a day ago that winning at the IBU Cup level demands Top 5 IBU World Cup performance. His two penalties in the last standing proved to be one miss too many. Anev who started his last loop with a 37.3-second advantage over Boe.

The winner commented, “I knew I was first after the last shooting. I also knew that Tarjei is much faster on the skis than me. I fought to the end and managed to bring some advantage over the finish line. For us Bulgarians success here is of great importance. We prepared for these Championships at home in Belmeken where winds are also strong. It obviously helped.”

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

Just Qualifying For Norwegian Team Is Hard

Bronze medalist Stroemsheim proved how deep the talent pool is in Norway and how difficult is to qualify for any international competition. He  competed only in Idre, Sweden at the IBU Cup 1 outside of Norway this season, yet he won a Bronze medal here.

Stroemsheim said, “I am happy to be here. To win a medal is even better. It is great to be in the same hotel with somebody like Tarjei and see firsthand how true champion goes about his business. I have learnt here that should not stress himself more than absolutely necessary to be successful.”

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

Grossegger Wins Individual Title

In the fight for Men's IBU Cup Individual Score Sven Grossegger of Austria proved to be stronger than Fredrik Gjesbakk of Norway collecting 99 points to Gjesbakk's 95. Grossegger finished 14th today and Gjesbakk 29th.

Oeberg Labours Hard For Gold Medal

Hana Oeberg,  the Olympic Women's 15K Individual Gold Medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games and Sweden’s greatest hope for IBU World Championships in Östersund worked extremely hard to win the Gold medal today.

“It really wasn’t easy,” commented Oeberg who skipped BMW IBU World Cups 7 and 8 choosing these Championships as her last test before Östersund. “I started really fast. After first shooting I felt I am in control of the conditions but winds proved more tricky than I thought. I missed at first standing and second prone and wasn’t too happy about that.”

Oeberg started with clean shooting and then wavered at the last shot in both the second and third stages. With her main rival Iryna Kryuko of Belarus performing at a similar pace the competition stayed wide open with Zhuravok entering the winning equation with just one penalty.

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

The Swedish champion looked vulnerable at the last standing, missing the first shot but then her intrinsic mantra ‘one shot at the time’ kicked in; she cleaned the last four targets, starting the last lap 11 seconds behind Zhuravok but 22 seconds ahead of Kryuko. Knowing Kryuko finished 9.2 seconds behind Zhuravok Oeberg controlled her own destiny. At the end she was one minute and 14 seconds faster than Kryuko on the tracks and strong three minutes faster than Zhuravok.

“I was fast today,” she said. “My form is still not peaking and therefore I am really satisfied with this win.”

Zhuravok Wins IBU Cup Individual Score

The Ukrainian admitted, “The individual is my competition. I am a very good shooter and not fast enough skier to reach podium in other disciplines. I was also fighting for the Women's IBU Cup Individual Score win today and my legs went all soft at the last shooting. Luckily I kept my nerves and managed to finish ahead of my competitors. I am really happy.”

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

Kryuko Stronger Than Illness

After being sick after Trimester 2, Kryuko started training only few days before these home competitions . So she did not exactly know how strong she would be.

Anev and Oeberg Win Individual Gold in Raubichi - Minsk

“My coaches were asking me in today’s warm-up whether I felt good enough to compete,” said Kryuko. “I felt okay and I gave it all today. A medal is a medal and it is a good start for me at this championships. Although I don’t feel like a new Belarus star at all; I do feel the great support of my people. It gives me a lot of energy and I am thankful for that.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni