Para Biathlon World Championships: Sprint Pursuits

On the penultimate day of the 2024 Para Biathlon World Championships, Mark Arendz and Linn Kazmaier each won their third consecutive gold, this time in the sprint pursuit competition.

In the final, Arendz improved his shooting, missing no targets compared to qualification, where he missed one. For Arendz, it has been great being able to compete in front of his family. “Oh, it’s fantastic. Only earlier this year was the first time I've ever been able to do the triple at a venue, and that was pretty special. And to do it here, my first time at a world championships, on home soil with my brother here, my parents watching, that's–it's unbelievable.”

Joining Arendz on the men’s standing podium was Serhii Romaniuk of Ukraine in second, and Benjamin Daviet of France in third.

Over in the women’s standing class, Ukraine swept the podium. Bohdana Konashuk claimed the gold, with no errors in her shooting, and crossed the finish line in 12 minutes and 26.5 seconds. Liudmyla Liashenko won the silver, also making no mistakes on the range. She finished with a time of 12 minutes and 41.9 seconds. Oleksandra Kononova won the bronze, her first medal of the World Championships. She finished just off the podium in fourth place in the 7.5k sprint.

In the women’s sitting class, American Kendall Gretsch won the pursuit, securing another gold medal, after winning the 12.5k individual event earlier this week. While she was third to start the race, her clean shooting helped her push past Korean Yunji Kim and Germany’s Anja Wicker to cross the finish line first. Wicker completed the race in second, followed by Gretsch’s teammate Oksana Masters.

The men’s sitting class saw Taras Rad of Ukraine win his second gold medal, and third overall at this World Championships. He crossed the finish line in 11 minutes and 11.8 seconds, a minute and 12 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Yerbol Khamitov of Kazakstan. Aaron Pike of the United States was sixth to start the race, but managed to shoot clean, and won the bronze.

To start the vision impaired races, the women were up first. Kazmaier said of her victory, “I’m very happy to win my third gold medal because it was a very good race and I think I gave everything I could, so it was good.” Her guide Florian Baumann added, “It’s very amazing to win the third time. I think we do our best and everything works how we wanted, and yeah we are super happy with the result.”

In second place was Leoine Maria Walter with guide Christian Krasman, followed by Johanna Recktenwald with guide Pirmin Strecker.

Ahead of the men’s vision impaired pursuit, it began to rain, shaping it up to be a challenging race. Ukranian Oleksandr Kazik and guide Serhii Kucheriavyi landed on the top spot of the podium. It was a battle for second place, between Iaroslav Reshetynskyi and Anthony Chalencon. In the end, Reshetynskyi

crossed the finish line with his guide Dmytro Drahun first, and 1.9 seconds later was Chalencon and guide Florian Michelon.

On Sunday the final competition will take place – the team sprint.

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