JOECH 2022: Sprint wins for Grotian & Mareček

Today’s program of the Junior Open European Championships 2022 in Pokljuka consisted of Sprint competitions. More than 200 athletes were competing not only for new sets of medals, but also spots in Sunday’s Pursuit. It was Selina Grotian of Germany and Jonáš Mareček of the Czech Republic, who managed to deal best with the difficult windy conditions.

Lucky late starters

The wind played a major role in the women sprint this morning. Noora Kaisa Keranen of Finland opened the competition with bib #1 and managed to clear all 10 targets in 54 seconds, the fastest of all athletes. She took the lead in the finish and stayed there most of the race. Germany’s Selina Grotian (bib #87) showed the fastest ski time and despite one miss in standing, crossed the finish line 41.3 seconds ahead of Keranen to win the gold medal.

After the ceremony she said: "First I saw the wind was very strong and I thought it's gonna be difficult. But then I was a bit lucky with my standing and I was very glad that I only missed one shot. It was the last one, but I am happy that I shot 9/10."

The competition was not decided until the last moment. Last one to start, Chloe Bened of France, shot 9/10 and left the shooting range in fourth position, 1.9 seconds behind the podium. In what looked like a fight for the third place at first, Bened managed to speed up in the final loop and finish second with an advantage of just 0.6 seconds to Keranen.

Mareček confirms being one of the favourites

After the first and second place from last week’s Sprints, Jonáš Mareček of the Czech Republic added onto the success with a gold medal in today’s competition. He missed one target in each shooting, but with the second fastest ski time, 12.5 seconds behind his well-known rival Kornev, he crossed the finish line 8.8 seconds ahead of Otto Invenius.

"I think today's race was very different with these difficult windy conditions. It was necessary to also have a bit of luck," the young Czech said after the competition.

Invenius followed up on Keranen’s success and won the second medal for Finland. Bronze went to Italy’s Iacopo Leonesio, who was one of the fastest on the shooting range. With a 10/10 shooting score, he stayed 9.3 seconds behind the winner.

Tomorrow marks the final day of the Junior Open European Championships Pokljuka 2022. The Top 60 junior men and women athletes will be competing in Pursuit competitions.

Photos: Reichert/IBU

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