Marte Olsbu Roeiseland Anchors Norway to Mixed Relay Gold
Marte Olsbu Roeiseland anchored Norway to the Gold medal in this afternoon’s mixed relay at the IBU World Championships at Pokljuka, giving the Norwegian squad their third consecutive mixed relay title. Olsbu Roeiseland, and her teammates, Tiril Eckhoff, Johannes Thingnes Boe, and Sturla Holm Laegreid used eleven spare rounds in their 1:20:19.3 winning effort. Austrian won the Silver medal, using just two spares, 27 seconds back. Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg took the Bronze medal for her team in sprint finish over Ukraine’s Olena Pidhrushna. Sweden and Ukraine both used eight spares, finishing 30.6 and 31.1 seconds back, respectively.
Standing Stage, “Not so much fun”
Olsbu Roeiseland explained what happened in her standing stage, when she missed three shots by a wide margin. “I do not know what happened. After I shot, I saw that I had three mistakes and went, ‘Whoa!’ I only had three extra shots and knew I had to be really concentrated on these three. It was not so much fun, but am happy that I made it. I have amazing teammates. They made it easy for me, so I am happy that I did not ruin everything today.”
Same Start as Last Year
Regarding starting the 2021 IBU WCH with a Gold medal just like last year in Antholz where she went on to a medal in every competition, she added, “I am really glad. I think that how we succeeded last year; we started with the Gold in the mixed relay so I really wanted the same start this year. I am so happy we made it!”
Ukraine in fourth place was followed by France with one penalty and ten spares in fifth place, 46.2 seconds back and Italy, with six spare rounds in sixth place, 58.9 seconds back.
Twenty-seven teams toed the starting line for this afternoon’s mixed relay with light rain which turned to heavy snowfall, the temperature at +1C and virtually no wind on the shooting range. Despite the rain, Pokljuka was buried in snow form the previous weeks, making for excellent conditions overall. Emilien Jacquelin led the pack into the range for the first prone stage. However, Laegreid cleaned in five shots to go out first with local hero Jakov Fak and Sebastian Samuelsson just behind. In standing, Laegreid need a spare round allowing Belarusian Anton Smolski and Jacquelin to head out in front; the top five teams were separated by 11 seconds as they went towards the first exchange. Jacquelin took control but fell just before the exchange. Belarus tagged first with Johannes taking over for Norway and Quentin Fillon Maillet on his shoulder, all within four seconds.
Johannes Pushes the Pace
Johannes quickly powered to the front with his French rival on his shoulder. The Norwegian needed a spare to clean while Fillon Maillet used two. That opened the door for Canada’s Scott Gow to go out between the two with Slovenia and Ukraine next, but a dozen seconds back. Johannes extended his lead to almost 20 seconds despite breaking a pole midway through the loop. He shot fast in standing, cleaning in six shots; Fillon Maillet did the same with the gap up to 22.5 seconds between the top two. The Norwegian put the hammer down stretching the gap to 39.2 seconds by the time he tagged Eckhoff ahead of Anais Chevalier-Bouchet. Canada and Ukraine tagged third and fourth, 55 seconds back.
Austria and Ukraine Move Up
Eckhoff needed two spares to clean while Chevalier-Bouchet used one to close the gap down to 29 seconds. Yulia Dzhima also needed a spare to go out in third with Canada, Sweden’s Linn Persson, Austria Dunja Zdouc and RBU all from 52-58 seconds back. The leader again used two spares while Chevalier-Bouchet ended up with a penalty. Dzhima and Zdouc cleaned in five to go out next, but 37 and 39 seconds back respectively, with Persson next at 45 seconds back. Eckhoff like Johannes pushed the last loop to again stretch Norway’s lead out to 39.3 seconds by the time she tagged Olsbu Roeiseland ahead of Olena Pidhrushna. Hanna Oeberg and Lisa Theresa Hauser left in a tight battle for third position, 57 seconds off the pace.
Three Spare Rounds
The Norwegian star shot calmly with a good cadence, cleaning prone in six shots. Pidhrushna went 5-for-5, as did Hauser, 41 and 45 seconds back. Oeberg needed two spare rounds thus falling to 1:05 back. Olsbu Roeiseland was now in total control coming to standing with a 51-second lead. The usually unflappable Olsbu Roeiseland missed three times before closing the last target with her last spare round. Hauser used a single spare to get away clearly in second, while Oeberg went 5-for-5 to move into the third spot, 10 seconds ahead of Pidhrushna.
The last loop was a mere formality with Olsbu Roeiseland crossing the finish line comfortably ahead of second place Austria with its first-ever IBU WCH mixed relay medal. A big battle ensued between Oeberg and Pidhrushna for the Bronze medal with the Ukrainian veteran coming back to her Swedish foe midway through the last loop. In the last downhill to the finish, Oeberg slipped just ahead to claim the Bronze.