Hanna Oeberg Storms to Women’s Mass Start Gold

Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg never leading before she cleaned the final standing stage, stormed through the last loop, unchallenged to win the Women’s 12.5 km Mass Start Gold medal in the closing competition at the BMW IBU World Championships in 36:48. Hanna, with two penalties on the day moved into the top spot when the two leaders, Julia Simon and Anais Chevalier-Bouchet each picked up a last standing stage penalty, ceding the lead to the Swede. Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, with one penalty left the range in third, but pushing hard, attempting to catch Hanna moved up to take the Silver medal, 4.8 seconds back. Simon, with three penalties, won the Bronze medal, 20.8 seconds back.

Second Gold; fifth medal

Hanna, smiling from ear-to-ear was over the moon with her second Gold medal and her fifth of the Championships. “It is like a dream. I am just enjoying this so, so much. I thought it would be hard after two penalties in the first two prone. But my standing shooting has been working so well and I was so inspired by the boys earlier. It is unbelievable!” Last loop, “I was just going and going”

Her amazing gutsy and strong last loop was, “a fight. I really felt hunted from the other girls. I was just going and going and going when I had those seconds. I felt I just needed to go. I am so happy I made it!”

Chevalier-Bouchet with one penalty finished fourth, 34.7 seconds back. Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova, with one penalty finished fifth, 51.4 seconds back. Tandrevold’s teammate Karoline Offigstad Knotten, with one penalty finished with an IBU WCH personal best sixth place, 57.7 seconds back.

Header iconBMW IBU World Championships Oberhof Women's 12.5 km Mass Start

Rain; Persson leads

Light rain continued to fall and the wind stayed calm as the women lined up for the last competition of this year’s BMW IBU World Championships. The calm wind allowed the women to shoot even better than the men in the first prone with the top twenty all shooting zero, led by Linn Persson, with Dorothea Wierer and Chevalier-Bouchet on her shoulder and a dozen other chasing hard.

Chevalier-Bouchet led the pack into the second prone stage, but Persson again shot faster and clean, moving back in front of her French rival. The second prone thinned out the tightly packed field. Lisa Theresa Hauser shot clean to join the top two in front with seven seconds to the next group.

Simon's Prone troubles

Simon thought her prone shooting that put her far back after the second stage, “was not so good today. It, one and one was too much at the beginning of the race. Then I had to push to cone back into the front of the race. Still, I am happy with my shape at the end of the Championship.”

Chevalier-Bouchet leads

The top three shot together in the first standing stage, but only Chevalier-Bouchet escaped penalty-free; Hauser and Persson went to the loop for one tour. That opened the door for the hard-charging Simon and Hanna, both with two previous penalties. The duo cleaned the standing stage, going out second and third, 7 and 17 seconds back, while Tandrevold moved up to fourth, a couple of seconds back.

Hanna leads four-woman battle

Simon took control into the last standing stage, shooting alongside her teammate. Both missed a shot. Hanna shot fast and clean; Tandrevold matched a few seconds slower. It suddenly became a four-woman battle for three medals; Hanna leading with the other three all within nine seconds.

Tandrevold’s last loop, “tried to stay calm”

With 1400 meters to go, Hanna led Simon and Tandrevold by just five seconds. With 800 meters to the finish, Tandrevold was coming up hard trying to catch Hanna. The Swede powered up the last uphill, with her Norwegian rival still battling, as Simon, filled with fatigue fell back barely upright on her skis. Tandrevold commented on her effort to move up, “I tried to stay calm in the Birxsteig because I had some other races here when I went 100% there and regretted it the rest of the loop. I tried to stay calm and do some good downhill skiing. Then I felt I had a lot of power left, but Julia is a very tactical smart girl; hard to pass her. When I finally tried to go and catch Hanna it was not so far to the finish line.”

Powerful last loop…and Gold Hanna pushed hard down the last few hundred meters through the sloppy snow, sealing her second Gold medal, with Tandrevold taking Silver and Simon the Bronze.

The winner admitted, “It was a really tough last lap. I had some seconds out from the last shooting. Then it was just for me to go as fast as I could…The crowd was so loud, but I really felt them (my coaches) cheering me on. That is what is important: for me to be able to put everything out there.”

Photos; IBU/Christian Manzoni, Bjorn Reichert

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