Kaufman, Polukhin and Budaleeva lead World Cup standings

The conclusion of the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup shows competition is fierce heading into final two competitions in Germany before Sochi 2014. 12 Jan 2014 By IPC

The final two World Cups before Sochi 2014 take place in Oberstdorf from 17-19 January and Oberried from 23-26 January.

World and Paralympic champions have continued their great form at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland, in the biathlon pursuit events, but the overall rankings show that the competition is wide open heading into Sochi 2014.

Triple Russian biathlon world champion Mikhalina Lysova and guide Alexey Ivanov (32:46.9) claimed first in the women’s visually impaired over 10km, finishing ahead of current world number one Iuliia Budaleeva guided by Tatiana Maltseva (33:12.9). Budaleeva and Maltseva have 420 points heading into the second half of the World Cup competitions in Germany next week, 40 ahead of their team-mates. Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova and guide Lada Nesterenko (36:23.0) finished third.

Russia’s short distance world champion Grigory Murygin shot clean in the men’s sitting race (42:11.1), claiming victory over 12.5km in the absence of compatriot Roman Petushkov who did not start but still retains top spot in the standings. Aliaksandr Davidovich (43:22.8) and Japan’s national hero Kozo Kubo (44:19.1) completed the podium.

Oleksandra Kononova (33:22.8) and Iuliia Batenkova (36:47.4) completed a Ukranian one-two in the women’s standing on a cold, cloudy and snowy day, but it is third place Russian Alena Kaufman (37:29.9) who leads the rankings heading into the last two World Cups with 385 points.

Russian Azat Karachurin followed up his short distance win from yesterday (11 December) with another first place (38:54.2) in the men’s standing to add to his to lead in the rankings with 405 points. Middle distance biathlon world champion Ihor Reptyukh, still just 19, claimed second (39:50.6) to lead third placed Norwegian Nils-Erik Ulset (40:05.3).

Russia’s five-time world champion and double Paralympic relay gold medallist Nikolay Polukhin, who leads the men’s biathlon visually impaired rankings with 500 points, secured yet another 2013-14 season first place (38:55.2) with guide Andrey Tokarev, leading Ukrainian Anatolli Kovalevskyi (39:08.6) guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn. Team-mate Vitaliy Lukyanenko and guide Borys Babar followed closely behind in third (39:51.9).

Polukhin’s team-mate Svetlana Konovalova increased her World Cup points haul to 375 in the women’s sitting 10km event (39:31.3). Following very closely behind was fellow Russian Marta Zaynullina (39:40.5) who is just five points behind Konovalova, and Andrea Eskau (39:41.3), who herself enjoyed a great week in Vuokatti in the cross-country.

Three Russian men lead the cross-country World Cup rankings – Irek Zaripov (sitting - 317 points), Rushan Minnegulov (standing – 380 points) and Stanislav Chokhlaev (visually impaired – 410 points).

Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen leads the women’s sitting (410 points), whilst Russia’s Alena Kaufman (430 points) and Elena Remizova (460 points) lead the standing and visually impaired rankings respectively.

The final two World Cups before Sochi 2014 take place in Oberstdorf from 17-19 January and Oberried from 23-26 January.