A beautiful late summer day, with light clouds crossing the bluebird skies greeted the junior super sprints set up the four days of competition at the 2022 IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships. Light winds barely moved the shooting range flags early but later the wind picked up, continuing to go up and down throughout the day into the late afternoon finals.
Fomin became the first Gold medalist this week with a sterling clean-shooting performance, covering the Men’s 7.5 km in 18:00.9. The Silver medal went to Fabian Kaskel of Germany, with three penalties, 21.3 seconds back. Maxime Germain of the USA, with five penalties won the Bronze medal.
Fomin: “Super, super happy”
Fomin was beyond excited, with his win, first-ever podium and medal. “I am super, super happy. At the final standing stage, I was not nervous; very calm because I did just like my coach told me to do. Just focus on the black dot over there; do not pay any attention to anyone else and what is going on around you. I am just super excited…”
Fomin was pretty much in control of the whole competition, cleaning the first prone, doing the same in the second prone although he fell a couple of second behind Czech Republic’s Tomas Mikyska. Once the Lithuanian came to the standing stages, there was little doubt that he would win. He cleaned the standing stages with confidence and authority. Kaskel did the same but was not close enough to challenge. Out of the last standing Germain was in a close battle with Mikyska and Ukraine’s Dmytrii Hrushchak. Coming down the last 100 meters, Germain powered past his rivals to give the USA its first-ever IBU SBWCH medal.
Germain admitted it was a tough battle. “The last loop hurt. It was really hot there. The Czech guys were right with me. I just tried to keep up the pace and push every hill. It was super fun! It is awesome to win a medal; always fun to win a medal!”
Kastl, with three penalties delighted the crowd at the Chiemgau Arena by taking control after the first standing stage and going on to victory in 20:30.3. Slovenia’s Lena Repinc, with two penalties, won the Silver medal, 23.6 seconds back. Lora Hristova of Bulgaria with five penalties won the Bronze medal, 38.1 seconds back.
Kastl wearing number 1 after the qualifying heats was as thrilled with her win as Fomin was a few minutes earlier. “It is so cool; just crazy.” As for the last standing stage, when she missed one shot, she added, “That was a bit strange because I never had that many people cheering in the Junior Cup. On the last loop, all I could think was…run!”
Kastl’s road to victory might have been the road to Silver; she was behind Slovakia’s Julia Machyniakova after the Slovak easily the two prone stages. In the first standing, Kastl cleaned while her rival missed a single shot. Disaster struck as Machyniakova crashed hard on the penalty loop, falling over a minute back and never recovering. All alone, Kastl came to the last standing stage with 17-second lead over Repinc. The German shot fast but missed once, while Repinc cleaned but was slower on the range. Kastl padded her lead in the last 1.5 km to secure the Gold medal.
Germany’s Fabian Kaskel took the first qualifying heat; Czech Republic dominated the next three spots with Tomas Mikyska, Josef Kabrda and Ondřej Manek. Heat Two saw Fomin, with a single penalty take the top spot. Kazakhstan’s Nicolai Akimov shot clean, pulling away from the field in the last loop to claim the third qualifying heat. Finland’s Otto Invenius, with two penalties won the final heat by 24 seconds, the biggest margin of victory in the four junior men’s heats.
Kastl won the first of the four women’s qualifying heats with Slovenia’s Lena Repinc shooting clean to take the second qualifying heat. Johanna Puff, with two penalties took the third qualifier, giving the home team’s women a second qualifying win. Julia Machyniakova of Slovakia shot clean to win the final women’s qualifying round.
The competitions continue on Friday with the Senior Men’s and Women’s Super Sprints, starting with qualifications at 10:30 CET. The finals at 15:10 and 16:25 will be livestreamed.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni