Kruchinkina and Andersen Win NMNM IBU Cup Sprints

The competition in Nove Mesto na Morave started in warm sunshine, but by the start of the prone stage in the women’s 7.5 km sprint, the wind picked up and sunshine had gone at the Vysočina Arena. Irina Kruchinkina of Belarus, one of the few women to shoot clean won the women's 7.5 km sprint in 19:03.6 for her first ever win. In the men’s 10 km sprint, Norway’s Alexander Fjeld Andersen won in 23:40.3, with one penalty. 

Women’s sprint

13.4 seconds behind the winning Kruchinkina, Janina Hettich of Germany missed once in prone claiming the second place. Norway’s clean-shooting Marthe Krakstad Johansen closed the podium, 17.1 seconds behind the winner. 

First-ever win

The luck was today seemed to be with those those who started in the second half of the field. Hettich, the first starter, came to prone when the wind was picking up. Collecting a penalty, it seemed that the competition was over for her. Yet, as others started picking up penalties as well, she still needed to push hard to redeem herself. Kruchinkina, however, managed to clean the prone stage leaving in fourth, 7.2 seconds behind the leading Elisabeth Hoegberg of Sweden. Marthe Krakstad Johansen, clean as well, was seventh, 9.9 seconds behind. 

Hettich was the first one to shoot standing, closed all five targets, hoped that would be enough and went to the last loop not knowing what her competitors were up to. Hoegberg then missed once, losing the lead. Showing good speed, Hettich managed to keep the lead after the second shooting until Kruchinkina (bib 50) and Johansen (bib 51) both cleaned standing round moving to first and second place respectively pushing the German to third, 19.2 seconds back.

Once again, Hettich showed great speed on the track pushing Johansen to the third place by the finish line. Kruchinkina, despite losing seconds on the last loop, claimed the win. 

Kruchinkina on her perfect shooting performance: “I don’t know how I managed to shoot, because it was difficult today - it was windy and unstable and I’m very glad that I managed to cope with that. The two zeros are the first two zeros for me in this season.

Germany’s Juliane Fruehwirt, with one penalty finished fourth, 28 seconds back. Sweden’s Ingela Andersson missing once as well, finished fifth, 30.5 seconds back. Russia's Natalia Gerbulova, with one penalty took sixth place, 34.6 seconds back. 

Men’s sprint

After earning a penalty as well and only a .5 seconds behind Andersen, Justus Strelow of Germany finished second, also with a penalty, just .5 seconds behind Andersen. Sverre Dahlen Aspenes with two penalties, took the last podium spot of the podium in third place, 2.8 seconds back. 

Competition of equals 

From the start of the competition, the Norwegians showed their dominance with Johannes Dale and Aspenes in first and second position just before the prone stage. Dale managed to close all five targets taking the precious lead. Aspenes, however, putting him 20.8 seconds behind Dale after prone. An early starter with bib number 2, Strelow missed once. Haavard Gutuboe Bogetveit was second, just 1.7 seconds behind his teammate. Andersen, despite closing all five targets, was eighth, 12.4 seconds behind Dale. 

Known for his incredible speed, Dale did not disappoint on the second loop. He arrived to the standing stage still in the lead with high hopes for the rest of the competition. Andersen had climbed ton fifth, Aspenes to seventh, Strelow was far back in 19th. 

As often is the case, the tables turned were once again in standing. Dale collected three penalties and Bogetveit two, the door opened for all of the others to take back some positions. Strelow showed a steady hand closing all five standing targets. That pushed him to the first place. Andersen, clean as well, placed second, just 2 seconds behind Strelow. Russia’s Tomshin was third, 2.7 seconds back, Aspenes fourth, 2.9 seconds back. 

The gaps being so small it really was a competition of equals. The odds were now in the favour of the athletes who could ski the fastest last loop. Slightly faster on the skis, Andersen who took a very close, only .5 second win over Strelow while Aspenes claimed third place. 

Aleksander Fjeld Andersen was happy to win: “I’m incredibly happy today because after the bad European Championships for me, I was very disappointed with bad shooting. I was in good shape, but I didn’t get the results I wanted. To come here and to turn things around and then win today with a half of a second - it is incredible. 

Lucas Fratzscher of Germany, after cleaning prone, missed twice in standing to finish in fourth place, 3.9 seconds back. Vasilii Tomshin of Russia, with one penalty was fifth, 4.9 seconds back. Haavard Gutuboe Bogetveit was the third Norwegian in the flower ceremony, with two penalties, in the sixth place, 5.1 seconds back. 

Header iconIBU Cup 6 Nove Mesto na Morave Sprint 2

Photos: Igor Stancik/IBU

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