Kozo Kubo of Japan, three time silver medallist at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, won the gold medal in the men’s sitting biathlon long distance race on Sunday, 3 March, in Solleftea, Sweden.
The IPC’s athlete of the month in January Kubo did not miss a single target and finished in a time of 44:04.0, which put him 35 seconds ahead of triple World Champion Roman Petushkov from Russia. Starting this race once again as the favourite, Petushkov missed one target in his third shooting round, which resulted in a one minute penalty. The Russian could not make up the full minute on the slope and thus finished in second place.
The bronze medal went to Petushkov’s compatriot and Sochi 2014 ambassador Irek Zaripov. The multiple Paralympic champion from Vancouver has had a tough time so far at these World Championships, but put in all his efforts to keep a clean sheet in the shooting range and bring home his first medal of the event. Zaripov clocked a time of 45:48.2.
After two difficult biathlon races including a crash, Andrea Eskau of Germany gave an impressive comeback and went for gold in the women’s sitting category. The 41-year-old German laid the base for her victory with a perfect performance in the shooting range not missing one target. Eskau finished in a time of 45:10.6, more than 1:30 ahead of second place finisher Marta Zaynullina from Russia, who had missed two targets in the range.
The Russian skier bagged her second medal in Solleftea, after having already won a bronze in the biathlon short distance race.
Double world champion Olena Iurkovska had a difficult day in the shooting range, collecting two penalty minutes by missing two targets. Due to an impressive performance on the course, the Paralympic champion could still save the bronze medal in a final time of 47:02.0.
Norway’s Nils Erik Ulset finished top of the podium in the men’s standing race. The Paralympic champion missed one target but dominated the race on the slope finishing in a time of 38:19.6, more than 1:40 ahead of second place Yannick Bourseaux.
The French silver medallist showed a perfect performance in the shooting range, but could not keep up with Ulset’s pace on the course. It was Bourseaux’s first medal of these World Championships, with a finishing time of 40:01.5.
After winning gold in the biathlon short distance race, Canada’s Mark Arendz this time had to settle for bronze, collecting a one minute penalty and clocking a time of 40:16.5, just 15 seconds behind Bourseaux.
In the women’s standing race Russia’s Anna Milenina added a gold medal to her personal tally of these World Championships, that already included two silver and a bronze medal.
The 26-year-old missed only one targets and finished in a time of 43:43.9. Almost 45 seconds behind was Ukraine’s young hopeful Iryna Bui, who had won the biathlon middle distance race on Friday, 1 March.
The 17-year-old Bui did not have her best day in the shooting range, collecting two penalty minutes, but could hold off Finland’s Maja Jarvela by 5 seconds, who finished in third place and took home the bronze medal. It was Jarvenla’s first medal of the championships.
In the men’s visually impaired category, Nikolay Polukhin (guide Andrey Tokarev) proved his outstanding biathlon form, winning his third gold medal, after already topping the podium in the short and middle distance races on Thursday and Friday respectively. With a clean sheet in the range, Polukhin was unbeatable in a final time of 37:32.2.
The silver medal went again to Ukraine’s Vitaliy Lukyanenko (guide Borys Babar), who had already placed second in the biathlon middle distance race, behind Polukhin. Even though Lukyanenko also hit all 20 targets, he could not keep up with Polukhin on the slope.
Germany’s Wilhelm Brehm and his guide Florian Grimm picked up their first medal of the World Championships, finishing 25 seconds behind Lukyanenko in a time of 40:04.7 and one missed target.
The queen of these World Championships so far is Russia’s Mikhailina Lysova (guide Alexey Ivanov). The visually impaired Russian won her fourth gold medal, again keeping a clean sheet in the shooting range and crossing the finish line in a time of 41:03.1.
One of her toughest competitors, Iulia Budaleeva (guide Tatiana Maltseva), collected three penalty minutes for missed targets but still finished in second place in a time of 43:25.1.
The bronze medal in this category also went to the Russian team, with Elena Remizova (guide Natalia Yakimova) also missing three targets and finishing in a time of 45:14.6.
All events from the Championships will be streamed live on the IPC’s YouTube channel.
For more information on the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, please visit the event website at www.ipcnordicskiingworlds.org.
You can also follow the action on Twitter @IPCNordic and like the IPC Nordic Skiing Facebook page.