Martin Fourcade secured the seventh world title of his career after the Frenchman shot clear to claim the men’s 10 kilometre sprint title at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships in Oslo.
The overall World Cup leader had proved crucial to France’s victory in the mixed team relay on the opening day of the Championships, but sought to claim individual honours today.
Russia’s Evgeniy Garanichev made a strong impression in the early stages of the event, as he shot clear during the first prone stage, with his time three seconds quicker than Fourcade.
The gap remained ahead of the third loop, however Fourcade was able to take control as he rapidly hit each of the standings target, while his Russian rival picked up his first penalty.
Fourcade pressed home his advantage during the closing stages to eventually cross the line in a winning time of 25min 35.3sec.
By contrast, Garanichev’s challenge faltered and he was eventually forced to settle for sixth place in the standings, with home favourite Ole Einar Bjørndalen securing the silver medal by finishing 26.9 seconds behind the winner.
The result was extremely well received by the Norwegian crowd, as their eight-time Olympic gold medallist is expected to retire at the conclusion of the Championships.
Ukraine’s Sergey Semenov was just 0.7 seconds adrift of Bjørndalen’s time to take bronze.
“I was satisfied that I gave all I had, when I crossed the finish line, I knew there was a chance to be beaten,” Fourcade said afterwards.
“Now, I am just really happy, I am enjoying this time.
“This is my first World Championships sprint win since 2012 in Ruhpolding.”
While the home crowd were delighted by Bjørndalen’s silver, the mood was lifted even further when Tiril Eckhoff shot clean to claim the women’s sprint crown, with the race contested over 7.5km.
The 25-year-old shot rapidly and accurately throughout the event, resulting in her securing a maiden world title in a time of 21:10.8.
Defending champion Marie Dorin Habert secured silver after the Frenchwoman finished 15 seconds adrift.
Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier was a further four seconds further back to win bronze.
- By Michael Pavitt
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz