Kaja Zorc and Benjamin Menz take Junior Individuals

Kaja Zorc of Slovenia won junior women individual and her first title today in Shchuchinsk with three penalties in 42:37.3. Later in the day, Benjamin Menz of Germany took the Gold medal in the junior men individual with the same shooting result in 43:12.3.

First Individual Podium

In the junior women's competition, Jeanne Richard of France took the Silver medal with four mistakes, 34.9 seconds back, while her teammate Leonie Jeanniere, with the same shooting, took the Bronze medal, 36.3 seconds behind.

Windy conditions greeted all the athletes today in the afternoon and resulted in many mistakes at the shooting range. Zorc started her competition with perfect shooting, followed by three mistakes at the first standing. After such a performance, which dropped her to 18th place, she managed to keep calm and closed all the targets at the second shooting and moved to sixth place. The perfect final stage saw her leaving the stadium in first with an advantage, which she only increased until the finish line, taking her first-ever individual podium.

I really was not expecting it, so I am really happy and satisfied with the race. My first standing was quite hard today but in the end, I managed to have only three mistakes, so it was ok.

Like Zorc, Richard had a clean prone shooting, however, missed twice at the next stage. One more penalty at the second prone still allowed the French to keep a high fourth position, while a perfect standing moved her up to the third. Leaving the stadium in third, 28.0 seconds behind the leader, Richard pushed hard on the last lap and crossed the finish line in second, winning the second Silver medal in Shchuchinsk.

Jeannier, unlike the rivals, left the first shooting only with two closed targets in the 60th position! The next stage saw her missing once again, however, she climbed to 31st place. The French was perfect at the last two stages and left for the final loop in fourth position, 30.8 seconds behind the leader. With a strong last lap, she overcame Andrea Mezdrea of Romania and took the last medal, her second at these Junior World Championships.

Besides the Bronze medal, Jeannier won the IBU Junior Cup Individual Score and was awarded a small Globe.

I am really happy to win this Globe, I really did not expect it as I missed some competitions this season and it was a big surprise for me!

Second Gold for Menz

In the men's junior competition, two Norwegians finished behind Menz. Einar Hedegart took the Silver medal in his first-ever international competition with two mistakes, 7.0 seconds behind, while Isak Frey won the Bronze medal with three misses, 26.0 seconds back.

When I left from the shooting range, I saw that I was only 1.4 seconds behind, I knew it is going to be a pretty hard lap but I went all in. I had a great day and I am so happy!

The same strong wind gusts remained during the second competition of the day, which did not allow any of the 91 starters to shoot clean. Menz missed once at each of the first two shootings and was clean at the third one, taking the fourth position before the final standing. Coming to the last stage, he added one more penalty, however, was only 1.4 seconds behind Hedegart. Having all the information about the gap from the leader, who started earlier, Menz pushed it hard on the final lap and took his second Gold in two competitions.

In his first-ever international competition, Hedegart was one of the best shooters, missing only once at every standing. For the final lap, early bib 18, left in the lead, but only 1.4 seconds ahead of Menz. Giving his all, after the race the Norwegian still admitted that on the track he did not have the best day and felt it would not be enough to keep the win.

Frey, who brought the Bronze medal to his team in the mixed relay, added one more award to his case. He had one miss at every shooting except for the final standing, which allowed him to move up to third place and keep it until the finish line.

After the medal ceremony, the winner of the IBU Junior Cup Individual Score, Hans Koellner of Germany, was awarded.

I am very happy to win the Globe and to be good throughout the season. Today during the competition, I did not really think about it, I just wanted to show a good result because it is a World Champs. It did not really work out but I am still glad to win in the Individual Score.

Photos: IBU/Yevenko

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