Czech Republic's Krcmar, Davidova Thrill with Pursuit Gold
Marketa Davidova of Czech Republic gave the local fans another thrill when she outsprinted Ukraine’s Yulia Dzhima after a last loop battle to claim the Women’s 7.5 km Pursuit Gold medal this afternoon at the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in Nove Mesto na Moravě. Davidova had three penalties in her 20:57.3 victory. Just after Davidova’s stirring win, Michal Krcmar matched his teammate, taking the Men’s 10 km Pursuit Gold medal, and giving the home team Czech Republic a sweep of the senior titles just hours after their junior men won all pursuit three medals. Krcmar, brilliant on the shooting range, had a single penalty in his runaway 27:01.5 win.
Ski Fast; Shoot Fast
Davidova emphasized how the short 1500 meter loop made this pursuit so hard. “Today’s competition was hard because it is such a short loop; you have to ski fast every time and shoot fast and clean because it is so short and tight. It was fun in the end…I had to shoot fast, but I still was so slow!”
Thanks to Fans
Regarding the last standing stage, she added, “I was just concentrating on my shooting and what I know to do. The last loop was same as Friday so we knew what we had to do…It was really nice today with the fans, especially when they all sang the national anthem. It was really good. Thanks to all of them.”
Krcmar, breathless at the finish was tired but elated. “I am tired today. It was a very hard race for me. I was tired on the track, but I concentrated on shooting and I did it…I am happy with my shooting…The last loop, I enjoyed the amazing spectators. I tapped hands with my friends on the track. It is nice. It is very helpful to have spectators.”
Dzhima, with one penalty crossed the finish line just .8 seconds back, won the Silver medal. RBU’s Tamara Derbusheva shot clean, taking the Bronze medal, 8.4 seconds back.
Poland’s Monika Hojnisz-Starega, the Sprint Gold medalist, with five penalties finished fourth, 20.6 seconds back. Paulina Fialkova of Slovakia, with two penalties finished fifth, 22 seconds back. Derbusheva’s teammate Svetlana Mironova, with three penalties finished sixth, 22.8 seconds back.
The good conditions continued for the senior pursuits this afternoon. Hojnisz-Starega and Davidova skied together into the first prone stage; both picked up two penalties. Polona Klemencic missed once to leave the stadium in first position, with the sprint winner 3 seconds back, with Dzhima the only clean shooter in the top group a step behind. Seven women came to the second prone stage in a tight pack. Paulina Fialkova remained clean to take the lead with Derbusheva matching in second position. The Ukrainian missed a shot but remained in third, 8 seconds back with Hojnisz-Starega on her shoulder.
Davidova and Dzhima Duel
By the first standing stage, a pack of five were in front with the RBU athlete pushing the pace. Davidova cleaned as did Dzhima and Derbusheva to go out within four seconds while Fialkova with a single penalty followed two seconds back. The local hero and her Ukrainian rival came to the last standing together. They dueled shot-for-shot until all 10 targets were closed. Dzhima left with a one second lead over Davidova with Derbusheva four seconds back.
Last Loop Battle for Gold
The duo battled full gas with neither giving a meter. On the last uphill, Dzhima got alongside Davidova but the Czech star sprinted the last 100 meters to claim the Gold medal by less than a second. Derbusheva, after starting 16th, finished third.
Florent Claude, overcame four penalties with a blazing last loop taking the Silver medal, 15.7 seconds back. RBU’s Yaroslav Kostyukov, with one penalty won the Bronze medal, 15.9 seconds back.
Kazakhstan’s alexander Mukhin, also with one penalty finished fourth, 17.2 seconds back. Mikulas Karlik of Czech Republic, with two penalties finished fifth, 18.4 seconds back. Cornel Puchianu of Romania, with five penalties finished sixth, 19.5 seconds back.
High Hopes for Krcmar
Fittingly, the sun came peeking through the clouds as a pleasant sendoff for the Men’s 10 km Pursuit, the final competition at this year’s IBU SB WCH. The many Czech fans in the stadium had high hopes as 2018 and 2021 SB WCH Sprint Gold medalist Michal Krcmar left the starting gate wearing number 1; he did not disappoint them. Krcmar quickly and confidently cleaned the first prone stage, leaving with an 11 second bulge over Jakub Stvrtecky and Puchianu who were also perfect. By the second prone, the trio was together. The sprint winner blew through his five targets with ease to take an undisputed lead of 15 seconds over the Romanian and Stvrtecky, each with a penalty.
The two chasers did not gain any time over the next 2 km, coming into the first standing stage. Krcmar again closed his five targets with ease, pushing his lead to 36 seconds as Jaakko Ranta and Matej Baloga moved into second and third, with five more men within 10 seconds.
The Czech star had plenty of time for his last five standing shots with no one closer than 30 seconds. He again shot aggressively, missing one shot, but sealing the victory. Alexander Mukhin and Ranta came out of the pack with clean stages to leave in the Silver and Bronze spots.
Claude Skis to Silver
Krcmar enjoyed the last loop, tapping teammate’s fists and even stopping once to look back before sprinting the last 50 meters to seal his sprint/pursuit double. Claude was on fire in the last loop after leaving in fifth. He skied furiously passing three men to take the Silver medal with Kostyukov just behind in third.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni