Nevland’s four medals: “Now I have a whole collection”
Nevland was quite happy with the decision to start in the last group that gave him his fourth IBU YJWCH Gold medal. “My coach picked the last group…I had to take the chance and shoot ten…I was really happy because I knew all of the times on the last loop. It was quite hard, but I am really happy to be World Champion.” Regarding adding to his medal collection from two years ago (Individual, Pursuit and Relay Gold), “Now I have a whole collection. It means a lot to be back here. I was not able to compete last year, so to come back here and win Gold is amazing!”
Vobornikova: “I did not think I would win”
Vobornikova, who won the Bronze medal in the Junior Individual two days ago admitted she did not feel that good after the prone penalty until the Gold medal was withing sight. “I did not think I would win, because I was not feeling that strong today on the track, I was suffering a little on these tracks. It was a big shame that I missed the first shot, but luckily it turned out good. In the last loop, I was trying to do my best. I knew I had to ski fast because of my mistake.”
Junior Women’s Sprint
Just .4 seconds behind Vobornikova, Italy’s Rebecca Passler shot clean, winning the Silver medal. The Italian also was the Sprint Silver medalist at last year’s IBU YJWCH. 2022 Individual Gold medalist Lisa Maria Spark of Germany, with one penalty won the Bronze medal, 4.5 seconds back.
Norway’s Frida Dokken, with one penalty finished fourth, 17.7 seconds back. Passler’s teammate Beatrice Trabucchi shot clean in fifth place, 21 seconds back. Norway’s Aasne Skrede, with one penalty finished sixth, 23.2 seconds back.
Italy’s Sara Scattolo who competed in the Youth sprint yesterday won the season-ending IBU Junior Cup Sprint Score Crystal Globe.
The mid-afternoon Junior women’s sprint was conducted under just as glorious conditions as the men had earlier, with the wind still not a factor on the range. The German and Italian ladies set the bar high early in the prone stage, with Germans Spark and Mareike Braun shooting clean in first and second positions ahead of Italians Passler, Trabucchi and Hannah Auchentaller, all of whom matched with perfect stages. Vobornikova missed one shot, dropping 38 seconds behind the leaders. Towards the end of the field, Meier jumped ahead of the five by less than a second.
In the standing stage, the podium battle heated up further, when Vobornikova cleaned very carefully, reducing her deficit to 14 seconds. Passler shot very fast and confidently, closing her five targets with ease, taking the lead. Spark ended up with one penalty loop, falling 11 seconds back to second. Trabucchi cleaned, leaving in fourth, one spot behind Vobornikova. Meier came to standing with a small lead, hit three shots, missed one and hit the last. That dropped her into third position, 17 seconds back with 2.5 km to go.
Vobornikova continued to gain ground on Passler in the last loop, closing to less than two seconds back at the 6.6 km split. The Czech athlete was in full gas mode coming into the stadium sprinting with every bit of energy and finished just .4 ahead of Passler. Spark, the Junior Individual Go0ld medalist held on for the Bronze medal, as Meier faded in the last loop, dropping to seventh place.
Behind Nevland, Finland’s Otto Invenius, won the Silver medal, 11.9 seconds back. Nevland’s teammate Martin Uldal took the Bronze medal, 20.8 seconds back.
Blagoy Todev of Bulgaria shot clean in fourth place, 21.7 seconds back. Neutral athlete from Russia Aleksandr Kornev, with two penalties, finished fifth, 48.1 seconds back which gave him the IBU Junior Cup Sprint score title. Norway’s Mats Overby also shot clean in sixth place, 48.1 seconds back, giving his nation three of the top six spots.
Another very cold night gave way to a cold but spectacular day for the Junior sprints. Although the thermometer read -10C at the start; the backdrop was a cloudless bluebird sky with the shooting range wind flags motionless, a perfect late winter day for biathlon. Towards the end of the first start group, things got hot in the prone stage, with Todev the fastest, Campbell Wright just 2 seconds slower and two Norwegians Overby and Uldal and Lovro Planko all clean. The top five were in a tight battle early, separated by just seven seconds. The 76th starter out of the field of 79, Nevland cleaned prone but was a dozen seconds off the lead.
Overby was the first of the top group to clean the standing stage, taking the early lead. Uldal and then Todev less than a minute later matched, moving to 1-2, just a second apart. Lombardot, also 10-for-10 left the range in fourth, but 30.5 seconds from the top spot. Starter number 60 Invenius took his shot at the top group, coming into standing nine seconds back, cleaning and going out 10.5 back. Then Nevland approached standing in the lead, cleaned very quickly, leaving 4 seconds faster than his teammate Uldal did early in the competition.
Uldal and Todev were locked in a tight battle on the last loop, both vying for the podium. Todev had the advantage by 9 km with a single second lead. However he faded slightly, Norwegian crossed first and Todev followed battling for every meter, but finished .9 seconds back. Invenius had a 7.4 second lead with 1 km to go, but Nevland was still on the tracks behind him, with both going for Gold. Nevland was flying after his perfect shooting day, overtaking the Finn at the same split, going up by 14.5 seconds, The Norwegian streaked into the finish, winning the Gold medal by over 11 seconds, leaving the Finn in the Silver spot and pushing Uldal to the Bronze medal.
Photos: IBU/Bjorn Reichert