Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier won her third gold medal of the 2017 International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships today after claiming the women’s 15 kilometer individual crown in Austrian town Hochfilzen.
The 23-year-old triumphed with one penalty in 41min 30.1sec to add to the women’s pursuit and mixed relay titles she already had to her name.
Gabriela Koukalová of Czech Republic matched Dahlmeier on the shooting range, but not on the tracks, finishing 24.7 seconds back for the silver medal.
Italy’s Alexia Runggaldier shot clean on her way to equalling her career-best result with third place, 1:45.6 behind.
Finland’s Mari Laukkanen took an unexpected lead early in the competition, held on what was the warmest day of the Championships.
She showed her best shooting this season with just a single penalty in the second prone to set the time to beat.
Germany’s Maren Hammerschmidt looked like she might challenge after cleaning the first two stages, but her two penalties in the second prone ended her chances and she eventually finished seventh.
Instead, it was Koukalová who beat Laukkanen’s time despite her one penalty in the first prone.
Runggaldier, meanwhile, repeated her clean shooting performance from her personal-best third place in the 15km in Antholz, Italy last month and she moved into the silver medal position behind Koukalová.
It was then the turn of Dahlmeier, who missed one prone shot to leave in 34th position before hitting the next 15 targets and picking up the pace on the tracks.
Showing exceptional ski speed on the last loop, she stretched her lead after the last standing to make it a hat-trick of gold medals at the Championships.
“It was a really warm day and I had to drink a lot,” Dahlmeier said.
“From the front of the race I felt very good.
“After the miss, I knew I must go faster, but in the last part I felt good.
“At the finish, I felt a little bad, but now I am okay.
“This is a very special moment for me.
“It is amazing that I can continue to show my best performances.”
Koukalová now has a complete set of medals at this year’s Championships, with her silver going alongside sprint gold and pursuit bronze.
Despite finishing one place ahead of Dahlmeier in the sprint, Koukalová said that beating Dahlmeier is “difficult.”
“She is stronger, faster, has better concentration; there is no chance,” she added.
Laukkanen had a season’s best finish in fourth place, 1;56.8 back with one penalty.
Fifth went to South Korea’s Ekaterina Avvakumova, 2:03.6 behind having shot clean, while the United States’ Susan Dunklee came sixth, 2:06.8 back with two penalties.
Action in Hochfilzen is due to continue tomorrow with the men’s 20km individual competition.
By Daniel Etchells
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.