Horn and Wierer Win Super Sprint Gold

Germany’s Philipp Horn, after two early penalties, cleaned the final standing stage of this afternoon’s IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships Men’s Super Sprint and proceeded to out sprint five rivals in the last 20 meters to claim the Gold medal in 16:55.4. Just over an hour later, Italy’s Dorothea Wierer took the lead after the first prone stage and went unchallenged, despite two penalties to win the Women’s Super Sprint Gold medal in 19:05.7.

Header iconIBU Summer Biathlon World Championships Senior Super Sprints 22

Horn Sprints to Title

The afternoon remained comfortably warm and sunny for the afternoon finals with the wind going remaining variable from light to strong on the normally calm Chiemgau Arena shooting range. Behind Horn’s SBWCH title, Swedish teammates Sebastian Samuelsson and Peppe Femling, both with three penalties won the Silver and Bronze medals, .2 and .7 seconds back.

Horn, “Confident in my sprinting skills”

Horn came out of the last standing in second position in a group of seven men. “I looked back and saw eight or ten behind me and knew it would be a hard last loop. Everyone was fighting on the teeth already. I knew I could sprint, so I was confident in my sprinting skills and I won.” Wearing ear plugs during the competition, he added, “I wore them to try to block the sounds (from the big boisterous home crowd) and keep them from distracting me. But in the last stage, It was hard to not hear them, but I was still happy because it helped me push and clean the last standing.”

Teammates battle for medals

Second place also Samuelsson knew it would be a big battle with his teammate for the podium. “It was inspiring, I said before the race that the only one I did not want to sprint against was Peppe. But I think I had some more energy left, so it ended up good for me.” Femling leaving the last standing stage in first, admitted, “The last loop was crazy hard. I was really fast in the last shooting and was trying to save some energy when I was in front. But half way through the last loop, it was just go…so hard especially in this heat.”

Everything that happened before the last standing seemed meaningless. Early penalties meant little with the short penalty loop and fast track. Samuelsson fell as far back as 25th after the first prone stage but climbed back into position. On the other hand, Horn was in the top group throughout the whole 7.5 km affair. It all came down to a last standing stage and last loop battle where Horn came out on top and carried two teammates into the top six, making it a very good day for the home team.

Fourth place went to Horn’s teammate Justus Strelow with three penalties, .9 seconds back. Heikki Laitinen of Finland, with one penalty finished fifth, 1.3 seconds back with Germany’s Philipp Nawrath in sixth with three penalties, 1.5 seconds back.

1-2 for Italy in Women’s Super Sprint

Behind Wierer, teammate Lisa Vittozzi, with three penalties, won the Silver medal, 5.5 seconds back. Finland’s Nastassia Kinnunen shot clean, winning the Bronze medal, 13.9 seconds back. The Bronze medal was the first-ever podium and medal for the 37-year-old veteran.

Wierer wins

“Not easy training with the men”

Despite being unchallenged and winning Gold, Wierer said that she was not in her best shape. “It was not bad, but I am in not the best shape. I competed in the uphills, but we trained a lot last week. It is not easy training with the men! But I am happy about my shooting except for the two stupid mistakes.”

“In the winter, I prefer normal races!”

As for the super sprint format, she prefers the regular sprint when the snow flies. “It is not bad, but from the qualification to the real race is not enough time. It is like 3 hours and you do not know whether to go to the hotel or what to do. It is good in the summer, but in the winter I prefer the normal races!”

Marketa Davidova who won the qualifying round, finished fourth with four penalties, 23 seconds back. Anastasiya Merkushyna of Ukraine shot clean in fifth place, 30.1 seconds back. Sixth place went to Sweden’s Linn Persson, with five penalties, 34.2 seconds back.

Fast Clean Prone Stages

Wierer started the day with two typically fast clean prone stages. Vittozzi matched in the first but missed a shot in the second, dropping to fourth position. In the first standing stage, both Italians missed a shot, but jumped into the top two positions. Kinnunen’s steady clean stages took her from seventh to fifth to third after the first standing stage. In the last stage, both Italians missed a shot but had a big enough margin to keep the 20-for-20 Finn in third position, setting the podium.

Road to the Finals

Friday started with sunshine and the same shifting winds for the men’s and women’s super sprint qualifiers. Unlike the juniors yesterday with multiple heats, today there was a single qualifying round for the men and women, set up similar to a regular sprint, but with 15-second starting intervals. The men’s qualifying round up first, was as expected for the short 4.5 km, simply fast and furious. Fast loops with equally fast shooting meant that just two men shot clean, winner Thierry Langer of Belgium and fourth place Vitezslav Hornig of Czech Republic. Langer finished in 9:56.2, 8.2 seconds of Sweden’s Peppe Femling with one penalty. Third went to Italy’s Tommaso Giacomel, with two penalties, 9.4 seconds back. The women’s qualifying quickly turned into a one-woman show. Marketa Davidova took charge after cleaning the prone stage, never looked back or was challenged, added a single standing penalty, flying to an 11:14.3 win over Germany’s clean-shooting Anna Weidel. Blinkfestivalen mass start winner Linn Persson of Sweden, with one penalty finished third, 7.9 seconds back, .6 seconds behind Weidel. Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni

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