Laura Dahlmeier Wins Individual; Gold Medal Number Three
Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier won her third Gold medal of these 2017 IBU World Championships today, claiming the women's 15K individual, with one penalty in 41:30.1. Gabriela Koukalová of Czech Republic matched the German on the shooting range, but not on the tracks, finishing 24.7 seconds back for the Silver medal. Italy’s Alexia Runggaldier, shooting clean equaled her career best result with third place and the Bronze medal, 1:45.6 seconds back.
Finland's Mari Laukkanen had a season best in fourth place, with one penalty, 1;56.8 back. Fifth went to Korea's Ekaterina Avvakumova, shooting clean, 2:03.6 back. Susan Dunklee of the USA finished sixth, with two penalties, 2:06.8 back.
Hot Competition Day in Hochfilzen
Today was the warmest day of the IBU WCH, with temperatures going up to +12C and the snow getting very soft on the top. Most of the favorites started in the final group, which resulted in a lot of drama in the closing minutes of the competition.
Laukkanen Leads Early
Laukkanen took an unexpected lead early in competition, showing her best shooting this season, with just a single penalty in the second prone. She set the time to beat. Germany's Maren Hammerschmidt looked like she might challenge, cleaning the first two stages, but her two penalties in the second prone ended her chances, eventually finishing seventh.
Dahlmeier vs Koukalova
Instead, it was Koukalova who beat Laukkanen’s time despite her one penalty in the first prone. Runggaldier repeated her clean shooting performance from her personal best third place in the Antholz 15K and she moved into second behind Koukalová .
It was then Dahlmeier's turn, Dahlmeier missed one prone shot like her rival, leaving in 34th position. she then hit the next 15 targets, while picking up the pace on the tracks. With phenomenal ski speed on the last loop, she stretched her lead after the last standing, to claim her third Gold medal and fourth medal of the Championships.
Really Warm, but Special Day
Dahlmeier pushed so hard on the final loop that she felt ill for a bit after the finish. "It was a really warm day and I had to drink a lot...From the front of the race I felt very good. After the miss, I knew I must go faster, but in the last part I felt good. At the finish, I felt a little bad, but now I am okay. "
Winning Gold medal number three pleased the modest German star. "This is a very special moment for me. It is amazing that I can continue to show my best performances."
Admiration from Koukalová
Koukalová now has a complete set of 2017 WCH medals after today, with her sprint Gold and pursuit Bronze. Despite finishing one spot ahead of the German in the sprint, Koukalová admitted that beating Dahlmeier was close to impossible now. "Laura is in amazing shape and it is difficult to beat her, She is stronger, faster, has better concentration; there is no chance."
Confidence after Pursuit
Runggaldier was a bit overwhelmed with her accomplishment that she thought needed a perfect day. "I thought it was possible if I shot clean. I am really happy that I shot four times zero. I also shot clean in the pursuit. that gave me some confidence for this."