Kendall Getsch gets the better of Oksana Masters for gold
‘I haven't really been feeling that confident the past couple of races so I didn't really know what to expect today, but I felt really good all the way through’08 Mar 2022
GOLDEN RUN: Kendall Gretsch of United States reacts after winning the Para Biathlon Women's Middle Distance Sitting at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics.
ⒸMichael Steele/Getty Images
By ND Prashant | For the IPC
Kendall Gretsch is back to her gold medal winning way. The American ace may have failed to defend her title and settled for bronze in the Para Biathlon Women’s Sprint Sitting but she compensated for that by clinching gold in the Women's Middle Distance Sitting at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon on Tuesday.
Gretsch won the 10km event, edged countrymate Oksana Masters by 8.7 seconds, taking a sweet revenge over the latter, who had won the Women’s Sprint Sitting earlier in the week. Germany’s Anja Wicker claimed bronze.
Gretsch’s success comes a little over six months after winning a Paralympic triathlon gold medal in Tokyo. At PyeongChang 2018, she had finished fourth in the same event but she came into the Beijing Winter Games as firm favourite having won the title in the same event at 2021 World Championship.
"I haven't really been feeling that confident the past couple of races so I didn't really know what to expect today, but I felt really good all the way through.
“The altitude here and the dry air really gets you, so I'm proud I was able to stay strong throughout the whole race,” said Gretsch, who had three Paralympic golds to her name before this.
STAYING CALM AND COMPOSED
Gretsch, who had one shooting miss to Masters’ none over 20 shots, revealed that she tried to stay calm after she missed her first shot.
“Knowing there were a lot more shots to go, I was really focussing on every single shot and taking my time today.
“We practise it so much. Going into the range, I'm just telling myself to focus on my process over and over again, and stay calm and try to block everything else off,” said Gretsch, who also revealed that both she and Masters know each other’s strengths and weaknesses like the back of their hand and there is very little to choose between the too.
"I've skied so many times with Oksana and I know she can really turn it on in the last lap. You have to push her every second.
"She's so strong. I just tried to hold it together on the last lap. I just keep pushing. It was so close that you couldn't let up a little bit. You had to keep pushing throughout the whole thing. I was so excited, and I'm so excited to have Oksana on the podium with me."
MASTERS DELIGHTED WITH HER SHOWING
Following the win in the Sprint Sitting, Masters had revealed that she wants to be absolutely sure that her shooting had improved and it wasn’t a fluke. With all 20 shots bang on target, she was elated with her second-place effort.
"I was not expecting it. On the last stage you're not supposed to think, 'Don't miss the shot, don't miss the shot', but I was totally thinking, 'Don't miss the shot'.
"I know I'm not a fast shooter and I'm not a consistently accurate shooter, so I knew I had to just take a good shot and make it count every time. That also means I'm in the range for about a minute at a time, which is where the time went.
"I know my teammate (gold medallist Kendall) is an incredible shooter, she's a fast shooter, and in the past I've tried to keep up with that,” said Masters.