German and Czech Youth Relays win gold

The Youth Junior World Championships in Shchuchinsk continued on Tuesday with the Youth Relays - snowfall and wind making the athletes work extra hard to finish on the podium. In the Youth Women, Germany continued to dominate while the Czech team battled past Germany in the Youth Men Relay.

After claiming silver in the Youth Mixed Relay, the German team added two further Relay Medals in the Youth category, taking gold in the 3x6km Youth Women Relay and silver in the 3x7.5km Youth Men Relay. Only the Czech team managed to get the better of the German Men, taking the gold medal at the last standing stage and the subsequent 2.5km loop.

Silver in the Youth Women Relay went to Italy and Norway secured bronze medals in both competitions.

Dominating victory for Zimmermann, Tannheimer and Kink

Right from the start, the German trio of Lea Zimmermann, Julia Tannheimer and Julia Kink were always within touching distance of the podium positions - Zimmermann handed over in second position to teammate Tannheim who recovered from a penalty loop in prone to deliver a strong standing shooting. Individual gold medalist Kink carried the victory home and sealed the deal with a 5/5 standing shooting in challenging conditions.

"It was so so special, the Lea and Julia did such a good job and gave me over a minute advantage. I tried to look at it as a sprint, not a relay. I have no idea where my mistakes went in the prone but I tried to avoid the penalty loop and then pull myself together and go shot by shot." (Julia Kink, Anchor Leg Germany)

Italy got off to a strong start with Astrid Plosch and Fabiana Carpella yet both Carpella and anchor leg Carlotta Gautero found themselves circling the penalty loop after the standing stages, leaving them with no chance to close in on the German team. Team Norway completed the podium in third position.

Czech Men surge past Germany in the last loop

For almost the entirety of the Youth Men Relay, a three-way battle between Germany, Norway and the Czech Republic unfolded, with the lead changing multiple times. In the end, the superb shooting performance by the Czech trio made the difference in challenging conditions in Shchuchinsk. With three spare rounds only, Jonas Kabrda, Daniel Malusek and Ferdinand Jansa secured gold.

Elias Seidl and Erik Hafenmair managed to navigate the German team through the opening two legs without any penalty loops: While Albert Engelmann built a comfortable lead after the prone on the anchor leg, he had to circle the penalty loop twice after the standing stage. Engelmann closed in on Jansa again on the last loop but hit the wall physically on the last kilometre, losing over 20 seconds.

"I was first after the last shooting, and Engelmann closed in very very fast but I knew that we can win it still. I beat him on the top of the hill and went fast to the finish line." (Ferdinand Jansa, Czech Anchor Leg)

Team Norway moved from potential gold to the bronze position after three penalty loops in the final prone position by Sivert Gerhardsen.

Pictures: Yevenko/IBU

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