Spark and Marecek win Junior Individual Gold

Czech Republic’s Jonas Marecek, never closer than 58 seconds to the leader during the IBU Junior World Championship men’s 15 km individual, cleaned the last standing stage, moved to second and then flew around the last 3 km loop to win the Gold medal in 43:19.8. In mid-afternoon, Germany’s Lisa Maria Spark, never in the lead until she cleaned the last standing stage won the Gold medal in the Junior Women’s 12.5 km individual, with one penalty, in 39:53.4.

Header icon2022 IBU YJWCH Junior Individuals

Marecek: “Did not think I would win…with two mistakes”

Marecek did not think he would win when he came to the last standing stage in 8th position, 1:29 back. “No, I did not think I would win. I thought one mistake would be enough; I had two mistakes and it would be impossible to win. But the others made mistakes and I had the chance.” As for nerves and the Gold medal effort, he added, “I was very nervous but our coach told us there were no other guys coming from behind so I was pretty happy…I knew I could do it (win the Gold medal) if I shot well but so many things can go wrong that you can never know.”

Spark: “Focused on my race”

Spark in second position before the last standing stage knew she had to stay focused to have a chance for the Gold medal. “I only focused on my race. I went shot-for-shot in the last standing. I was just happy to not miss a shot and know I was fighting for a medal. (On the last loop), the coaches said to run as fast as I could because it could be a medal but I did not know how many would come after me since I was the fourth starter. I had to wait and now I am so happy that it was first place!” She added, “I knew before the race that if I did it like I do it in training, I knew I could reach a medal, but I did not think of a Gold medal.”

Junior Women’s Individual

Behind Spark, Oceane Michelon of France, with two penalties, won the Silver medal, 47 seconds back. Tereza Vobornikova of Czech Republic, also with two penalties won the Bronze medal, 53.7 seconds back.

Mareike Braun of Germany, with one penalty finished fourth, 1:36.8 back. Maren Bakken of Norway, with one penalty finished fifth, 1:36.8 back. Sixth place went to Austria’s Lea Rothschopf, with two penalties finished sixth, 1:48.9 back.

Eventual Medalists Clean first prone stage

The Junior women had the best conditions of the week so far with the thermometer jumping up to -8C and continued light winds just fluttering the flags on the shooting range. The good conditions saw many women shooting clean in the first prone stage, with Canada’s Pascal Paradis setting the pace, followed by Spark and Vobornikova, less than two seconds back. Michelon was just 4.8 seconds back in fifth after also closing all five targets.

Vobornikova Leads

Vobornikova went to the top of the leaderboard when she cleaned the first standing stage with ease. Aasne Skrede also cleaned but was 24 seconds back. Spark, Michelon, with single penalties and the clean-shooting Slettemark were still in the mix, just over 15 seconds farther back. By this point the number of clean shooter had dropped from just under half the 59-women field to five.

The Czech leader slipped a bit with a penalty in the second prone stage, but still held on with a 7-second lead, now over Spark and Michelon. Beatrice Trabucchi moved up to fifth with a clean stage.

Podium Battle Heats up

The podium battle heated up in the last standing stage. Spark cleaned to take the lead while Michelon missed a shot, but held on to second position, but just a couple of seconds ahead of Vobornikova who also had a penalty. The duo left within seconds of each other with medals at stake.

Michelon Holds on; wins Silver medal

Spark was totally in control over the last loop, skiing with a lead of over 50 seconds and easily taking the Gold medal. The battle was for the Silver medal between the French and Czech rivals. At the 11.6 km split, Michelon had a lead of less than three seconds over Vobornikova. However, in the final 900 meters, Michelon grabbed a few more seconds to secure the Silver, leaving her Czech foe in the Bronze spot.

Braun wins IBU Junior Cup Women’s Individual Score

Mareike Braun with her fourth-place finish today won the IBU Junior Cup Individual Score crystal globe, putting the German team atop the podium twice in the women’s competition today.

Junior Men’s Individual

Behind Marecek’s Gold medal, Vetle Paulsen of Norway, won the Silver medal, 17 seconds back. His teammate Martin Uldal, won the Bronze medal,31.7 seconds back. All three had two penalties.

Aleksei Zubarev of Russia finished fourth with two penalties, 32.3 seconds back. Otto Invenius of Finland, also with two penalties, finished fifth, 47.9 seconds back. New Zealand’s Campbell Wright, with two penalties finished sixth, 48 seconds back.

Clear day; fast tracks

The heavy snow and winds that buffeted the Youth individuals yesterday moved on overnight giving way to partly cloudy skies, light winds, but still a quite cold -14 temperature for the Junior men. The very cold night made the tracks quite fast, although still a challenge at the close to 1700-meter altitude. Despite the good conditions, clean shooting was hard to come by. Starter 1 Wright set the tone by cleaning the first prone stage, but less than a dozen others matched. Wright’s perfect prone put him 6.9 seconds in front of the also clean Uldal.

Adding to the lead

The New Zealander extended his lead with another 5-for-5 in the first standing, making him one of just two clean shots after two stages. Marecek after a prone miss, cleaned his standing stage to move into second but 58 seconds back and a dozen seconds ahead of Uldal who also missed a standing shot. Mid-field starter Invenius did the same, moving to second position and closing down. the gap to Wright to just 15 seconds. Fatigue started to show up by the time the field reached the second prone stage, and the penalties started to add up for everyone except Wright who cleaned again upping his lead once again to 1:13 over Uldal. Invenius missed a shot but moved into second position, but 1:10 back, while Marecek also cleaned going into fifth position.

Marecek cleans last standing

Wright’s perfect day ended and his podium chance disappeared in the last standing stage with two penalties. That opened the door for Uldal who had a single miss, leaving for the last 3 km loop, just 3 seconds out of the top spot. Marecek suddenly became the spoiler when he did something his rivals could not do, clean the last standing stage. That propelled him into a 27-second lead over Wright and Uldal. Invenius missed a shot but still left in fourth with a chance for the podium. Paulsen, with two penalties in the first standing stage that dropped him almost two minutes back, in 19th position cleaned the second prone and then did the same in the last standing. Continuing his comeback, he went to the top of the leaderboard, but just 1.3 seconds faster than his Czech rival.

Gold for Marecek; Silver and Bronze for Norway

Uldal continued his drive to the podium with a fast last loop, moving into first position at the 14.1 km split. Adding a couple more seconds in the last 900 meters, Uldal crossed the line 16.3 seconds ahead of the fading Wright. Marecek with a steady last loop, stayed ahead of the field, securing the Gold medal spot at the finish. Paulsen slowed on the last loop but held on for the Silver, just ahead of his teammate Uldal.

IBU Junior Cup Individual Score to Todev

Blagoy Todev of Bulgaria, who competed in Beijing and was the IBU Junior European 15 km Individual Champion secured the IBU Junior Cup Individual Score Globe with his 16th place finish today.

Photos: IBU/Bjorn Reichert

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