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28 January 2015 | in Universiade 2015, Winter Universiade, Biathlon

Avalanche of Medals for Russian Biathletes

Men's pursuit podium

OSRBLIE – Today, 28 January, the women's (10km) and men’s (12.5km) pursuit competitions in biathlon took place. The pursuit race was created in the mid-nineties to make biathlon more entertaining and spectacular. Indeed, the pursuit directly pitted biathletes on the track and so it is a race against other athletes and not against time. At the Universiade, only the first 60 ranked in Sprint are allowed to participate in this event and the final classification of the qualifying event serves as the starting order for this race. The gap at the sprint finish also determines the time differences to start the pursuit. So this is an exciting race with a lot at stake, as with 4 sessions of programmed shots (2 shots lying followed by two shots standing), athletes can lose a lot of time when they miss. The race is also the most mentally challenging test for biathletes.

And the least we can say is that the men's race was a genuine thriller to the end. Yaroslav Ivanov, who won the sprint, sprang ahead of his two compatriots Maksim Burtasov and Yuri Shopin, respectively silver and bronze medallists in the sprint. Still in the lead after the third round of shots, Ivanov was ahead of Shopin and Burtasov, the latter being penalized for 3 missed shots. The positions would remain unchanged until the last series of shots, in which Ivanov was going to miss the target once. Yuri Shopin took advantage of this error and captured the gold, leaving silver to Ivanov while Burtasov had to settle for the bronze. Once more Russia.


Women's pursuit podium


In the women’s competition, the local biathlete Paulina Fialkova began the worst of ways by receiving two penalties in the first shooting session. Russian Evgeniia Pavlova did not let the opportunity pass to take the lead of the race. In the end she would win the gold medal despite two penalties received in the 3rd and 4th shooting sessions. Despite a cheering home crowd, Paulina Fialkova ends on the second step of the podium in front of the Russian Kristina Smirnova, who made a fabulous comeback after starting the race in 9th place.

Tomorrow, the biathletes will enjoy a well-deserved rest day before heading back to Osrblie Biathlon Stadium for the women’s mixed relay (2x6km) and men’s mixed relay (2x7.5km) to be held on Friday, 30 January.


David Vandenplas, Media Assistant