Germany and Norway win Junior Relay Gold

The German Women continue to turn the stadium in Shchuchinsk into their goldmine. Just like the Youth Women yesterday, the German Junior Women crowned themselves World Champions in convincing fashion. On the Junior Men side, Norway triumphed after a dramatic last-loop battle with Germany.

While the skies of Shchuchinsk cleared up for the Junior Relays, the wind continued to be a strong factor in the competitions. In the end, the German Women and Norwegian Men proved to be strongest.

German Women dominate again

Selina Marie Kastl got her team off to a strong start, handing over to Johanna Puff in first position. Puff's penalty loop in the prone is the prone was the only time Germany lost the lead during the 4x6km relay but they quickly return to the first position after the standing shooting. Even though Marlene Fichtner and Selina Grotian used 11/12 available spare rounds across the final two legs, the pair avoid the penalty loop and kept Germany almost a minute in front of the closest competitors.

"I didn't think before the race that it would be so clear for us to win because other nations are also very strong - but it's always so much better to win as a team, I think!" (Selina Grotian, anchor leg Germany)

Team France also overcame a penalty loop on the second leg to finish in silver position while Norway added another relay bronze medal after taking third place in both Youth Relays on Tuesday.

Norway defeats Germany in final loop battle

The Junior Men Relay proved to be a much more closely contested competition. Neither the Norwegian nor the German team got off to perfect starts. Germany's Franz Schaser exchanged with a 50-second deficit to the leaders after the first leg and Norway's Einar Hedegart dropped all the way down to 6th position after 3 penalty loops on the second leg.

Both teams recovered from the early setback, with Germany leading again at the halfway stage. Martin Nevland helped Norway return to the medal positions but it was Isak Frey's risky gamble on the final leg that eventually secured Norway's gold medal chances. Frey rushed through his last standing in windy conditions, accepting one penalty loop while Germany's Hans Koellner waited to hit all targets with his three spares. Koellner left the range with a 7-second advantage over Frey but the Norwegian proved to be too strong on the last loop.

"It was really exciting - I came a bit from behind to the last shooting and when I hit the penalty loop I thought it was over. On the last uphill; I saw he was tired and I had one last push and then I took it in the sprint." (Isak Frey, Anchor Leg Norway)

Italy surged past the USA on the final loop to claim bronze with Marco Barale holding steady at the range.

Photos: Yevenko/IBU

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