Mikyska “a little nervous”
Sprint Silver medalist Mikyska admitted the competition among he and Marecek was hard; it was also fun. “I like this race. We could go at our own tempo, but it was hard, It was much better than the super sprint (6th place), so I am really happy. It was a race so we both had to go hard. On the last lap I was a little nervous about Jonas catching me.”
“Great day for the Czech team”
Marecek added, “It was a great day for the Czech team today. I felt so bad that I am glad my friend took the win. The guys behind me were not that far, so I was worried about making mistakes (on the shooting range) and losing some places but thankfully the shooting was good.”
Silver medalist Marecek, also with one penalty finished 21.8 seconds back. Ukraine’s Vitalii Mandzyn won the Bronze medal, with one penalty, 53.1 seconds back. Mikyska and Marecek’s teammate Ondřej Manek shot clean but finished fourth, 55.8 seconds back. Maxime Germain of the USA, with four penalties, finished fifth, 1:00.2 back while Lithuania’s Maksim Fomin, with three penalties finished sixth, 1:01.1 back.
This 10 km pursuit, held under cloudy skies and windless conditions was basically a two-man affair. The Czech teammates skied meters apart from the start, trading shots on the range, with Marecek missing his only shot in the second prone stage and Mikyska doing the same in the first standing. Both blew through the last standing stage with ease, but Mikyska’s faster cadence put him 8.2 seconds up, and Marecek with his power fading had no chance to challenge in the last loop, hanging on for the Silver.
The battle was for the Bronze medal. Germain was solidly in third coming into the last standing, but two penalties knocked him from contention. Manek cleaned for the fourth time, going out third, with the also clean Ukrainian matching, just over seven seconds back. Mandzyn ran an inspired last loop, overtaking Manek to claim the Bronze medal, Ukraine’s first medal of these Championships.
Behind Kastl’s Gold medal, teammate Johanna Puff, with two penalties won the Silver medal, 14.4 seconds back. Tereza Vobornikova of Czech Republic, also with two penalties, won the Bronze medal, 23.6 seconds back.
“Zero and now run”
Kastl’s win made her the top junior woman with Super Sprint Gold medal and Sprint Silver. She was incredulous at her good fortune. “It is fantastic. I cannot believe it.” As for the last standing stage, she was doing a lot of self-talk and encouragement. “My trainer told me World Meister or…, so I thought, ‘okay, come on now zero and then run and it worked out! It is very cool!”
Kastl’s teammate Selina Grotian, with four penalties finished fourth, 35.1 seconds back. Valentina Dimitrova of Bulgaria, with three penalties finished fifth, 1:08.4 back. Ema Kapustova of Slovakia, with two penalties finished sixth, 1:25.6 back.
Like the earlier men’s pursuit, this competition looked at times like German team training session. Kastl, Grotian and Puff traded shots on lanes one two and three in the prone stages, separated by no more than 16 seconds. In the first standing stage, Vobornikova broke up the party, jumping into second position between Kastl and her teammates. In the final standing stage, Kastl cleaned and was gone 15 seconds before Puff and Grotian with Vobornikova just two seconds behind Grotian battling for the Bronze medal. The Czech IBU Junior Sprint/Pursuit World Champion closed the gap in the first 500 meters, moving to third, holding on for her first medal of the week.
Kastl and Puff’s medals upped Germany’s SBWCH leading total to eleven, with four Gold, five Silver and two Bronze. Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni