Sweden Roars to Men’s Relay Gold medal

Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson roared from second place before the final standing stage by calmly cleaning after Norwegian Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen picked up three penalties, to win the IBU World Championships Men’s 4 X 7.5 km Relay Gold medal in 1:16:22.6. The Swedish squad of Viktor Brandt, Jesper Nelin and Martin Ponsiluoma used just nine spare rounds in claiming Sweden’s first-ever IBU WCH Men’s Relay title. Nelin, Ponsiluoma and Samuelsson were also members of Sweden’s 2018 Olympic Relay Gold medal team while Brandt won his first-ever Championship medal after spending much of this season on the IBU Cup circuit.

“I have to take a chance”

Samuelsson was confident Sweden would win well before the competition started. “Yesterday I said we won the 2018 Olympic Relay and I think we have a better team today. It is amazing, I mean I am so happy. We all did four good legs. When I saw Vetle with three penalty loops, I thought, ‘now I have to take a chance.’”

“Best Day”

After a just missing the podium in the individual competitions, Samuelsson was elated with this Gold medal, exclaiming, “It is the best day of my life!”

Christiansen outsprinted France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet in the last 300 meters, giving Norway, with four penalties and eleven spare rounds the Silver medal, 11.8 seconds back. Defending Champions France, with three penalties and thirteen spares won the Bronze medal.

Germany with one penalty and eight spare rounds, finished fourth, 51.6 seconds back. USA with eight spare rounds finished fifth, 1:22.1 back. Italy with a penalty and eleven spares finished sixth, 1:44.1 back.

Eventual Medalists Trail

The warm afternoon remained, but the wind calmed a bit for the 24 men’s relay teams. Germany’s Justus Strelow dominated the shooting range in the first leg, going 10-for-10. Yet at the first exchange, surprising Estonia led with Sweden sixth, France eighth. Norway’s Sturla Holm Laegreid after a penalty, tagged Tarjei Boe 12th, 44 seconds back.

Tarjei Takes Over

Tarjei moved Norway to sixth with his clean stage, 19 seconds back. By the second exchange, Tarjei tagged JT Boe with a 5-second advantage with Sweden second, 18.6 seconds back.

JT used two spares in prone, then cleaning standing easily. Ponsiluoma used three in his two stages, holding second but tagging Samuelsson thirty seconds behind Christiansen.

Samuelsson’s Standing Stage Secures Win

Christiansen made quick work of prone, extending Norway’s lead to 59 seconds over the two-spare Samuelsson. Fillon Maillet brought France into third, 12 seconds behind Sweden. Seemingly unstressed as her came to the standing stage, Christiansen ended up with three penalty loops. Samuelsson calmly but aggressively cleaned in five shots for a 19-second lead and the win. Fillon Maillet followed with the Norwegian 25 seconds back.

Header icon2024 BMW IBU World Championships Nove mesto na Morave Men's 4 X 7,5 km Relay

Samuelsson assured of victory grabbed the Swedish flag just before the stadium, waving it triumphantly and pounding his chest in victory. Christiansen battled back outsprinting Fillon Maillet for the Silver medal.

Photos: IBU/Vianney Thibaut, Nordic Focus

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