Dominant Ukraine make double sweep in Para Biathlon
Ukraine’s Vitalii Lukianenko becomes the most successful Para Biathlete
08 Mar 2022
Ukraine's silver medalist Oleksandra Kononova and gold medalist Iryna Bui react after finishing the Para Biathlon Women's Middle Distance Standing.
ⒸMichael Steele/Getty Images
By ND Prashant | For the IPC
Ukranians were once again at their dominant best in Para Biathlon at the ongoing Beijing 2022 Winter Games. The men and women, both, swept the Middle Distance Vision Impaired and Standing categories, respectively.
Such authoritative was their showing in the men’s action that all the top five positions belonged to Ukraine. This was their third clean sweep at the Games; earlier their men had also swept the Sprint Vision Impaired category.
Ukraine has, so far, bagged 17 medals in Nordic Skiing. From the six gold they have bagged, five have come in Para Biathlon and one in Cross-Country skiing. The remaining seven silver and three bronze too have come in Para Biathlon.
It all started with Iryna Bui, Oleksandra Kononova and Liudmyla Liashenko destroying the rest of the field in the Women's Middle Distance Standing. Bui clocked 38:14.9 to claim gold while compatriot Kononova another +13.3 seconds behind took sliver and Liashenko (+14.4sec) settled for the bronze.
"I was preparing for this special moment for 12 years. It was my aim and I've been training really hard all of this time. But I came here with another thought. I know that I have a mission here. I represent the whole country. The whole country is behind me and with this medal,” said a thrilled Bui, who had two fourth place finishes in PyeongChang 2018.
Later, Vitalii Lukianenko, Kovalevskyi Anatolii and Dmytro Suiarko, taking cue from their women counterparts, put up another power-packed performance to claim the top three spots, respectively. The fourth and fifth positions were also occupied by Ukrainian athletes - laroslav Reshetynskyi and Oleksandr Kazik.
At 43, Lukianenko is now the most successful male Para Biathlete of all time. He has so far won 14 medals including, six gold in Para Biathlon since making his debut at the Salt Lake 2002 Games.
Ukraine also bagged a silver in the Men’s Middle Distance standing when Vovchynskyi Grygorii split Canada’s gold medallist Mark Arendz and Kazakistan’s Alexandr Gerlits.
The tally for the day for the Ukrainians was completed by Taras Rad, who settled for the bronze in the Men’s Middle Distance Sitting behind China’s Liu Mengtao and Germany’s Martin Fleig.