Viktar Kryuko and Lena Arnaud Take JOECH Sprint Title
|19.03.2016, Pokljuka / IBU Info/ MO|
|Second Gold for Belarus|
|Viktar Kryuko of Belarus won his second title at IBU Junior Cup 4 & Junior Open European Championships with two penalties in 25:08.0. Later in the afternoon, clean-shooting Lena Arnaud of France won the women’s sprint in 23:02.2.
Second went to clean shooting Dominic Reiter of Germany, 2.6 seconds back. His teammate David Zobel matched Kryuko on the shooting range and finished third, 12.3 seconds behind.
Ukraine's Anton Dudchenko, who was second in the individual competition, could not keep the second place which he had after standing and with one prone penalty finished fourth, 14.4 seconds back. Emilien Jacquelin of France with two penalties matched his result in the15K, finishing fifth, 35.2 seconds behind. Russia's Nikita Porshnev was sixth with one standing penalty, 39.1 seconds back.
Clear and Sunny Day
On a clear and sunny day with light winds on the shooting range 94 junior men lined up for the final sprint competition of the Junior Cup season.
Despite a penalty loop after each stage, Kryuko with early number 7 was fast on the tracks and took his second Gold of this JOECH. After the standing stage, he was only third, 17.2 seconds behind the leader, but with a strong last leg the Belarusian overcame that gap and finished first. Reiter, who was the only athlete to hit all the targets in the individual competition, today shot clean again, but still it did not allow him to become the champion. After prone, he was 1.5 seconds behind the clean-shooting leader Zobel. After cleaning standing, he left the stadium 15.1 seconds ahead of second place Dudchenko with one prone penalty. Despite this gap on his rivals, he could not hold it and crossed the finish line 2.6 seconds behind Kryuko. Nevertheless, due to the second place today he won the men's IBU Junior Cup Sprint Score and strengthened the leadership in the total score. His teammate Zobel, whose strongest side is definitely speed, with two penalties was only fifth after standing, 33.9 seconds out of first. But due to a strong last lap he moved up and crossed the finish line, taking the last podium spot. The young German was second in Martell, third in Cheile Gradistei and today he scored his third podium in sprint competitions this season.
Everything Went Black
Kryuko could not believe he picked up his second win, admitting that it was really hard today, "That competition was difficult and I was lying at the finish for a long time, everything went black, so this Gold gives me even more happiness. Yes, I was fast on the final loop today, but usually I am always strong on the last lap. I think that the early start number gave me an advantage because even for the end of my start, the track became much softer."
Reiter commented on his Sprint Score title, "Of course it is very nice, but it is just a result of a very consistent season. I think that my worst place in sprint was 7th, so I am pretty happy about that title and the season in general." Regarding his leading in the total score and tomorrow's pursuit, he added, "I am already a little bit nervous about it, because even if there are few points between me and Kirill now, who knows how it can go. But I am really looking forward for the last fight of that season."
France 1-2 in Women's Sprint
Arnaud's teammate Chloe Chevalier, despite two penalties finished second, 23.4 seconds back. Germany's Christin Maier shot clean to take the last podium spot, 29.4 seconds behind.
Like in the men's sprint, fourth place also went to Ukraine. The winner of the individual competition Anastasiya Merkushyna shot clean again, continuing to match Maier and Reiter that this JOECH. But it was not enough to be on the podium, 34.8 seconds back. Julia Simon of France matched Chevalier on the shooting range, but was slower on the tracks and finished fifth, 34.8 seconds behind. The last place in top 6 went to Kamila Zuk of Poland, who missed once, 40.4 seconds back.
Lucky Number 7
Under the same clear skies as the men, but harder track conditions, 76 junior women left the start gates to compete in the sprint competition.
From the beginning and until the finish line, Arnaud was perfect not only on the shooting range, but also on her skis. After the prone stage she was only .9 seconds behind her teammate Simon. But unlike Simon, who missed twice at the standing, she cleaned it again and left the stadium as a leader with a confident lead of 14.4 seconds over the closest rival. Arnaud, who stopped just one step short of the podium two times at the Junior World Championships in Cheile Gradistei, today made it up for those fourth places. With the same lucky number 7, as the winner of the men's sprint Kryuko, Arnaud became a champion. Despite two misses and fifth place with a 25.6 seconds gap after the standing, Chevalier, who had podiums only in pursuits this season, was really strong on the last lap and finished second. Maier, the silver medalist of the individual competition, with only fifteenth result after the prone, hit all the targets at the second shooting and moved to the fourth place, just 5 seconds gap from the third. On the last loop the rookie of this season gave it all and took the last podium spot, moving Merkushyna on fourth.
Despite the fact that Darya Blashko of Belarus finished only 12th today, the gap she had on the rivals in the women's IBU Junior Cup Sprint Score, allowed her easily take the title with a 59 point advantage!
The happy sprint winner Arnaud admitted, "Conditions today were very hard and the snow was really soft, but nevertheless, in skiing today I felt much better. I stayed focused on the shooting and happy that could keep the speed on the last lag. Of course my early start number became an advantage today with such tough conditions."
Blashko who is currently also leading in the Total Score, commented, "Honestly, I still have not realized what happened and now all I have is a fatigue after the competition. That is the end of the season there is not much power left. Anyway, I have to battle and try to take a higher place tomorrow. It would be great to score the top spot, but for now it is hard to do. Before the individual competition I was nervous and could not handle it, but before the tomorrow's start I think everything will be okay."