Super sprint wins to Ingela Andersson and Lars Helge Birkeland
Ingela Andersson of Sweden won the women’s super sprint at IBU Cup 2 in Ridnaun with three spares in 16:26.1. In the men’s competition, Norway’s Lars Helge Birkeland finished first despite a penalty loop and two spare rounds in 14:39.6.
The women started the first competition day in Ridnaun with the 3 km super sprint qualification, where Ukraine’s Anastasia Merkushyna finished first in 9:06.7. Joanna Jakiela of Poland was second, 1.8 seconds behind, while Norway’s Karoline Erdal was third, 4.3 seconds back.
In the men’s qualification, Martin Jaeger of Switzerland took first place, followed by France’s Martin Perrillat Bottonet 3.3 seconds behind, while third place went to Roman Rees of Germany, 8.2 seconds back.
Super sprint women
Second place in the women’s super sprint went to Ukraine’s Anastasiya Merkushyna with three spares, 1.7 seconds back. French junior Lou Jeanmonnot finished third with a single spare round, 5.9 seconds behind.
Fourth place went to Andersson’s teammate Anna Magnusson with two spares, 11.3 seconds back. Russian Polina Shevnina used three spares on her way to fifth place, 12.1 seconds behind, while Erdal finished sixth with a single spare round, 12.5 seconds back.
First IBU Cup podium
In the afternoon, the 30 best women from the qualification started simultaneously competing for a win in a super-fast and exciting competition. Andersson took the lead after the first clean prone, leading the pack that stayed very tight. After using one spare at each of next bouts, she lost her first position, leaving just a few seconds behind Merkushyna, who kept the lead after the final standing. Catching the Ukrainian in the middle of the last loop, the Swede added another win into her profile. Merkushyna, bib #1 after the qualification, crossed the finish line just behind Andersson. Unlike her rivals, young Jeanmonnot used just one spare on the final standing and was fast enough to take her first-ever senior individual podium.
🇸🇪I.Andersson, "It's always hard with the altitude here for us and before the start, I felt that my breathing and heart rate were a little heavier than normal. Plus, SSP is more of shooting competition, but today I felt confident on the range."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 12, 2019
📸: @foto_deubert pic.twitter.com/175ZsOcBmQ
Super sprint men
In the men’s super sprint final, second place went to Italy’s Rudy Zini, who used just one spare and finished 7.5 seconds behind the leader. Martin Perrillat Bottonet took the final podium spot with three spares, 8.5 seconds back.
Sergii Semenov of Ukraine lost his podium chance in the final meters, finishing fourth with a single spare, 9.0 seconds back. German Justus Strelow became fifth with one penalty and one used spare round, 10.8 seconds behind. Another Ukrainian Bogdan Tsymbal was sixth with a single penalty and spare, 12.4 seconds back.
Ten minutes after the women finished their competition, the men stepped on the track to battle for a win in a first season’s super sprint. Perrillat Bottonet was leading the group after the first prone stage, however, on the next two stages, Strelow overtook the lead due to an accurate shooting and good speed. Nevertheless, the final shooting saw changes in the standings. Birkeland, who had a penalty after the third stage, was fast and accurate, leaving the stadium in first. The Norwegian securely took the win, while Zini and Perrillat Bottonet overcame Semenov, who was second after the last standing, finishing second and third, respectively. Unlike his rivals, for Zini this was the first-ever podium in his career.
🇳🇴L.H.Birkeland, "It was my first SSP ever and I must say that I liked it with the action all the way. Before the last shooting, I was a bit behind, but I took some risk and luckily it paid off!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 12, 2019
📸: @foto_deubert pic.twitter.com/lqfkz67cpz
Photo: Harald Deubert