Ondrej Moravec and Viacheslav Maleev Take Final Gold Medals at Nove Mesto na Moravě
Ondrej Moravec gave the adoring Czech fans a perfect present by taking the final Gold medal at the 2018 IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in Nove Mesto na Moravě. He confidently won in the men’s pursuit with just a single penalty in 33:52.9. Earlier in the day, Viacheslav Maleev of Russia won the Gold medal in the junior men's pursuit with two penalties in 35:00.
Second place and the Silver medal, to the joy of a crowded stadium, went to his teammate, sprint Gold medalist Michal Krcmar with two penalties, 33.7 seconds back. Ukraine’s Artem Pryma took the Bronze medal with two misses, 43.0 seconds behind.
Patrick Jakob of Austria lost a chance for the medal in the final loop to finish fourth with two penalties, 49.1 seconds back. Fifth went to the mixed relay Gold medalist Nikita Porshnev of Russia who moved from 14th position with just two penalties, 56.3 seconds behind. Pryma’s teammate Vitaly Kilchytskyy with four penalties finished sixth, 1:02.6 back.
Change in the Field
At the first prone, where many athletes shot clean, Moravec took the lead over Krcmar with bib 1, leaving with a 5.3 second advantage. The Czech duo cleaned the second prone stage as well, but this time Krcmar left first; Moravec was 2.5 seconds behind. The first standing saw a change in the field with Moravec leading the pack. With 15 downed targets, the Czech veteran was followed by Kilchytskyy 49 seconds back, Jakob at 49.3 seconds and Krcmar, with three penalties, at 49.7 seconds. Bib 7 Pryma, who matched Krcmar at shooting, had a 1:19.2 gap.
As the Ukrainian commented after the competition, nothing was lost and everything had to be decided on the final standing. And it was! Moravec, despite one penalty, left the stadium with a confident lead, while the fate of the two last medals was in the hands of a few athletes. Krcmar shot fast and clean, leaving in second, Jakub missed once and was third, while Pryma shot clean and was fourth, 6 seconds behind the Austrian. Moravec finished waving the flag, Krcmar was second. The Ukrainian gave it his all and was closing the gap on Jakub with every meter, finally overtaking him on the finish.
Moravec commented on his third medal of these SBWCH. “It’s amazing to finish the weekend with this win and I have to admit I didn’t expect to win three medals. Today I had an almost-perfect race and even that last miss cannot make me change my mind.” He added, “Every time you challenge yourself at home it gives you special motivations, but I know that the winter competitions are a bit different, so I don’t know... But these results show that the changes in the coaches are proving successful.”
Junior Men’s Pursuit
In the junior competition, Bogdan Tsymbal of Ukraine won Silver, with 2 penalties and 21.3 seconds behind, securing the first medal for his nation at the event. Czech’s Vitezslav Hornig kept the Bronze position winning a medal in all three competitions at the Championships.
Maleev, who started in second position, took the lead with a clean first prone, while sprint winner Jakub Strvtecky of Czech Republic had two penalties. Third-placed Hornig used a clean second prone stage to close the gap to the Russian, who missed once. Stvrtecky left the stadium third, 21 seconds behind, followed closely by Tsymbal.
Maleev and Tsymbal Remain Calmest
At the third shooting, all four top-ranked athletes missed once, leaving the penalty loop within just 20 seconds. The Czech duo chased the Russian leader; Stvrtecky overtook Maleev just before the stadium. The Czech athlete paid for this chase during the final standing where he missed four shots, throwing away a medal. Meanwhile, Maleev had an outstanding final shooting, taking a comfortable lead. Tsymbal also had a clean fourth stage and left the stadium in second place, while the other Czech hope Hornig managed to keep in third place with one missed target.
Maleev was very excited about his win. “I even did not think everything would work out this way! Yesterday I had some problems with the prone shooting, so today I wanted to fix them. On the last standing, I saw that the Czech guy made mistakes and that others just came to the range when I was leaving. At this moment, I understood that I would leave with a gap and was just trying to keep it until the finish line.
Stvrtecky explained his four misses on the final shooting, “I did not have any problems with my rifle, I was just tired and my legs were shaking. That was a reason for my mistakes.”
It was an exciting weeknd at the 2018 IBU Summer World Championships in Czech Republic. You can enjoy the highlights of the competitions in our video.
Photos: Petr Slavik