Emilien Jacquelin’s Shooting Seals French Single Mixed Relay Victory

Emilien Jacquelin’s Shooting Seals French Single Mixed Relay Victory

Emilien Jacquelin’s brilliant 10-for-10 shooting in his last leg of this afternoon’s Oberhof Single Mixed Relay sealed a comfortable victory for him and teammate Julia Simon. The duo used just three spare rounds to top second place Sweden with Hanna Oeberg and Sebastian Samuelsson, with five spare rounds, by 38.7 seconds. Norway with Tiril Eckhoff and Johannes Thingnes Boe, with three penalties and eight spare rounds finished third, 43,9 seconds back after Johannes battled back from sixth after Eckhoff’s three standing penalties and his three spare rounds in prone.

Happy with Shooting

The two French teammates both emphasized their shooting as the key to their success. Simon said, “It was very important for me to be a good partner for Emilien who did a very good job. I am really happy with my race. It was quite good…I am really happy with my shooting because I know that my shape is really good but I had some problems in the pursuit but today it was perfect on the first leg. On the next I was a little nervous but it was okay.”

Fear as Strength

Jacquelin who struggled immensely with multiple standing stage penalties in both men’s relays this season was determined to chase away his fears. “Sometimes we say our fear can be a strength. It was like this today for me. I was stressed this morning because my last relays were so bad. This is not who I am; not what I am in biathlon. So, I am proud of Julia and what I made today. It was a good biathlon.”

Germany with six spare rounds finished fourth, 1:02 back. Belarus, also with six spares finished fifth, 1:13.8 back, while Canada, with just four spares finished sixth, 1:17.6 back.

Blue Skies, at Last

By the time that the first single mixed relay of the season started, the sky over Oberhof was mostly brilliant blue with a few passing clouds, making a perfect background for the last competition of this BMW IBU World Cup 2021 opening weekend. Tiril Eckhoff set the pace in the first short 1500 meter loop and cleaned in five shots. However, Oeberg and Julia Simon were a touch faster, taking the lead with 7 teams leaving tightly bunched within 5 seconds. Simon was fast and clean in standing as was Eckhoff, but Simon tagged Emilien Jacquelin 3.7 seconds before Johannes got his tag. Oeberg after a single spare round sent Samuelsson out 10 seconds back.

Johannes and Emilien

Johannes immediately jumped up to Jacquelin’s shoulder as they toured the first loop. Samuelsson was closely shadowed by Hofer. The Norwegian and French rivals both cleaned prone with five shots with Johannes getting away a second faster and Samuelsson now 7 seconds back with Canada’s Christian Gow in fourth ahead of Hofer. The two leaders hammered the next loop into the standing stage. Jacquelin dropped the five targets in rapid succession while Johannes needed three spares to clean, giving Simon a 16-second lead at the exchange. Lesser also cleaned in five shots to give Janina Hettich a one-second lead over Oeberg at the exchange.

Emilien Jacquelin’s Shooting Seals French Single Mixed Relay Victory

Eckhoff Penalties

Simon led into her second prone stage, followed by Eckhoff. The Norwegian threw down five perfect shots while Simon used two spare rounds, putting Eckhoff back in front. Oeberg was also clean in five but 18 seconds back, while Hettich dropped to fourth, 32 seconds back. Simon sat on Eckhoff’s ski tails the whole next loop until the stadium when she moved in front. They shot together but Simon shooting very fast cleaned with a single spare round while Eckhoff went to the penalty loop for three tours to fall back to fifth at the exchange. Samuelsson left in second, 30 seconds back after Oeberg used a spare round to clean with Gow heading out next 42 seconds from the front.

Emilien Jacquelin’s Shooting Seals French Single Mixed Relay Victory

Five Perfect Shots Seal Victory

All alone, Jacquelin took his time setting up and easily closed all five prone targets; Samuelsson did the same. Johannes after a furious loop used all three spares and fell back again, allowing Gow with a clean stage to retain third position, 45 seconds back with Erik Lesser another five seconds down in fourth. With on one else on the range, the young French star calmly fired five perfect shots to seal the victory. Samuelsson used a spare to leave in second but 44 seconds back. After another sterling loop, Johannes went 5-for-5 trying to close the 16 seconds to the Swede.

Emilien Jacquelin’s Shooting Seals French Single Mixed Relay Victory

Cruising and High Fives

Jacquelin cruised the last loop, enjoying his substantial lead, with plenty of time to almost stop as he high-fived teammates lined up as he entered the stadium celebrating the second win of the season for the French squad. Samuelsson followed in second with Johannes bringing Norway home in third.

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni