Although the weather threatened rain all afternoon, it never arrived, leaving cool partly cloudy conditions for the two late afternoon senior sprint competitions.
Femling, also with one penalty won the Silver medal, 8.3 seconds back. 22-year-old Niklas Hartweg of Switzerland, with one penalty won the Bronze medal, 27.2 seconds back.
Femling Focused on Shooting
Femling was more than pleased with his second podium and medal in two days. “I did not expect this really. We had the Swedish Championships last week and I was three and four and I did not expect to perform like this here. My shooting here was really good. That was the most important thing for me in coming here, to make really good shooting. I think I am in a really good way…I am motivated and looking forward to the season.”
Samuelsson, wearing bib number two cleaned prone, but was .8 seconds behind teammate Martin Ponsiluoma. In standing, the eventual winner shot with authority but missed a shot, while Ponsiluoma had four penalties, falling from contention. The two Germans stayed in the mix, but penalties kept them from challenging. Mid-field starter Femling was equally good in prone, but 8.2 seconds back. However, after a standing miss, he was just 3 seconds behind Samuelsson and maintained his spot over the last loop. Hartweg was 14 seconds out after standing and despite slowing some in the last loop, held onto third for his first senior podium and medal.
Czech Republic’s Michal Krcmar, also with one penalty finished fourth, 28.7 seconds back. Germany’s Lukas Fratzscher, with two penalties finished fifth, 30.4 seconds back. His teammate Johannes Kuehn, with two penalties finished sixth, 32.5 seconds back.
Behind Vittozzi’s one-penalty Gold medal performance, Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova shot clean, winning the Silver medal, 2.4 seconds back. Dual Bronze medals went to Slovakia’s Paulina Fialkova and Switzerland’s Lena Haecki Gross. Both shot clean, finishing in the same 23.9 seconds back.
Vittozzi’s Last Loop, “Pushing every minute”
Vittozzi’s performance was her best in two years. She beamed at the finish, commenting, “I am really, really happy. Finally, I had a good race. I believe in myself. For now, I am satisfied and will keep pushing.” Regarding her last loop, she added, “It was really fun because I had the good sensations. I tried to keep pushing every minute and it worked.”
The Silver medalist was not disappointed with her performance. “I felt very good on the tracks and am especially happy with my shooting. That was my focus, so I am satisfied.”
Davidova controlled the early stages of the competition, until the last 1 km, cleaning both stages with ease and leaving the standing stage with an 11.3 second gap on Vittozzi and the rest of the field. However, Vittozzi was on fire on the tracks. By th e5 km split, the Italian was a mere .6 seconds behind the Czech star. Coming down the finishing stretch, Vittozzi was full gas, having run the last 2.5 km loop 13,7 seconds faster than Davidova to take the Gold medal. Fialkova and Haecki Gross started with bibs 19 and 15, matching each other on the range and separated by just 2.2 seconds after standing. The Slovak had a four second bulge at the 5 km split, but Haecki Gross used the long downhill to the finish to claw back, finishing in a tie with Fialkova.
Elvira Oeberg of Sweden, with two penalties, finished fifth, 39.6 seconds back. Germany’s Denise Herrmann, also with two penalties, finished sixth, 39.9 seconds back.
The 2022 IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships conclude tomorrow with pursuit competitions for juniors and the Gala Mass starts for the Seniors. The Gala Mass Starts will be livestreamed with the women at 1300 CET and the men at 15:05.
Photos; IBU/Christian Manzoni