Frenchman Martin Fourcade and Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier successfully defended their International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championship pursuit titles by winning the men’s and women’s races respectively in Hochfilzen.
Double Olympic champion Fourcade got his hands on his first title of the event in the Austrian resort as he finished the 12.5 kilometer course in 30min 16.9sec.
Johannes Thingnes Bø of Norway claimed silver, while his 43-year-old team-mate Ole Einar Bjørndalen added a 45th World Championships medal to his extensive collection by securing bronze.
“I took so much pleasure today on the track,” said Fourcade, who was videoed yesterday resolving his row with Russian team member Anton Shipulin.
“I was satisfied with so many spectators.
“It’s one of those days where you can just thank your parents who bought you your first pair of skies when you were nine years old.”
Bjørndalen, the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 13 medals, said he had been given extra motivation by Belarusian wife Darya Domracheva, who had claimed silver in the women’s race before he lined up for the men’s competition.
“It’s like a victory for me,” he said.
“It’s the first podium for me this year.
“Of course, she was so strong today, and I got a lot of motivation from her.”
Dahlmeier is fast becoming the star of this World Championships as the 10km pursuit title marked her second gold medal of the event so far.
The 23-year-old, who was third overall on last year’s World Cup circuit, already had the mixed relay crown to her name before she won the pursuit in 28:02.3.
Domracheva, who made her first competitive appearance for nearly two years in January after she missed the entirety of last season due to recovering from mononucleosis before she had a baby in October, secured a welcome silver, 11.6 seconds adrift.
It proved to be a somewhat remarkable performance from the three-time Olympic gold medalist, who is married to Bjørndalen, as she appeared out of medal contention when she languished down in 27th but surged through the field to finish behind Dahlmeier.
Gabriela Koukalová of the Czech Republic, winner of the sprint event earlier on at the Championships, earned bronze.
“It’s like a dream; pursuit is my favorite discipline,” Dahlmeier said.
“After the first miss I knew I had to hit all the targets; the big fight took place in the last shooting.
“Two gold medals and one silver is like a dream.
“I think with relay we have a chance to win.”
Athletes will now be given a two-day rest before competition in Hochfilzen resumes on Wednesday (February 15) with the women’s individual event.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.