Comeback 15km Individual Victory for Hanna Oeberg; 1-2 for Sweden

Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg, after a first-prone penalty that dropped her to 33rd position, cleaned the next three stages, leaving in second after the last standing stage, skied a very quick last loop winning the Gold medal in the women’s 15 km individual at the BMW IBU World Championships this afternoon in Oberhof. Today’s victory comes on the fifth anniversary of Oeberg’s 2018 Olympic Gold medal in the same competition. Oeberg who finished in 43:36.1, also previously won the IBU WCH 15 km individual Gold medal in 2019 at home in Oestersund. Her teammate Linn Persson shot clean, taking the Silver medal, 10.3 seconds back. The duo jumped up a notch to Gold and Silver after winning Silver and Bronze in last week’s sprint.

After prone miss, “I kept my focus”

Hanna was quite emotional after her third major Championship in the 15 km individual, with a win on such a fortuitous anniversary. “I really cannot believe it. Before the competition today. I felt like it would be a really hard day. I will probably suffer a lot. I did not know like I felt really fast in my legs. I kept my focus after the first miss in the first prone, but I still felt pretty confident. I did a really good job on the range after that. It is special to be able to do this on the day five years since the first Gold in Pyeongchang!”

Individual “suits me”

Hanna expounded on her multiple successes in the individual, “The individual competition in Championships is something special for me. It is a race that suits me with a longer distance in the skiing and that you have to do all the work on your own to keep the focus on the shooting range throughout that long competition.”

Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, with one penalty won the Bronze medal, 28 seconds back. Her teammate, Samuela Comola, shot clean in a career-best fourth place, 48.5 seconds back. France’s Julia Simon, with three penalties, finished fifth, 1:21.7 back. Estonia’s Tuuli Tomingas, with two penalties finished in a career-best sixth place, 2:23.3 back.

“Aware of the (windy) conditions”

The women had a warm sunny day for their individual competition just as the men had, with again soft snow conditions, but the wind flags on the shooting range were whipping back and forth viciously, unlike yesterday, hampering shooting right from the start. The Yellow Bib started the day with a single penalty, as did Hanna who commented, “Even though I missed one…I adjusted my sight a bit for the second prone and I think it was the right decision. It also shows that I was very aware of the conditions and I had the focus on the right thing on the range.”

Vittozzi was the first of the favorites to shoot clean, taking the initial lead; Persson matched, just 4.3 seconds slower.

Header iconBMW IBU World Championships Oberhof Women's 15 km Individual

Vittozzi and Persson Duel

Simon cleaned the first standing stage to stay in the mix. Vittozzi, coming to standing in the lead easily cleaned as did Persson. The duo remained at the top of the leaderboard, with the Italian maintaining a small 5.8 second gap. Comola followed after going to 10-for-10, 15 seconds further back.

The Italian/Swedish rivals continued their head-to-head battle in the second prone with both perfect for the third time and Persson moving to just .6 seconds behind her rival as they left the stadium. Hanna, after missing a first prone shot, cleaned her second consecutive stage, trailing the leading duo by 44 seconds, but up to fifth position.

Last standing, Persson “did what I should do”

In the last standing stage showdown, Vittozzi came to the stadium in the lead, but missed her first shot of the day. Persson followed a minute later, shooting clean, giving her four times zero for the day, putting her in first, 41 seconds up on her Italian rival. Persson had not regrets about her performance. “I did a perfect race today. I could not have done anything better… (in the last standing stage) I did what I should do, today it felt quite easy.” Just after, Hanna, skiing fast all afternoon, added her third 5-for-5 to move into second, 14.8 seconds behind her teammate.

Hanna wins Last Loop, Gold medal

Persson slowed in the last loop, but still led Vittozzi by 22 seconds with 1100 meters to go, crossing the line 18 seconds faster. Following them on the tracks, Hanna was on fire, closing the gap and going ahead of her teammate by 4 seconds at the same split. The 2018 Olympic 15 km Individual Gold medalist continued to fly, sprinting down the home stretch, winning the last loop battle, finishing 10.3 seconds faster than Persson to claim the Gold medal, setting the podium.

“I really want this Gold!”

Regarding her furiously fast last loop and the push to Gold, “I heard the times…I was 14 seconds behind out from the range. I felt I had a little bit left in the legs for the last loop. I also heard that I was taking seconds on Linn and then I was thinking, ‘I really want this Gold!’ I was so close in the sprint and I really wanted it!”

Lisa, “do your best”

Vittozzi, after being sick over the weekend rebounded, taking the Bronze medal. “If I think about Saturday, I did not expect to be on the podium today. I really trusted in myself today. I managed all the energy I had in a good way… I tried to not think about my shape. I just wanted to be there today. I had spent a lot of energy to get here. Today I was really relaxed before the start, just thinking, ‘do your best;’ that’s it…so I am really proud of this result.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Björn Reichert

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