No misses for the best in Ostersund

Clean shooting key for gold in tough individual biathlon race 19 Jan 2019
A man in a sitting ski competing in a biathlon race

USA's Daniel Cnossen took gold in the individual biathlon race in the 2019 World Cup in Ostersund

ⒸKarl Nilsson/Parasport Sverige
By Louise Wood | For World Para Nordic Skiing

"I was really just trying to focus on the shooting because the one minute penalty is so much so [I was] just trying to focus on that and pace the skiing part"

The individual is considered the toughest race in biathlon. It takes place over the longest distance with four shoots and a one minute time penalty for each miss. Minimising your misses is the key to this race and USA’s Kendall Grescht showed exactly how it is done on Friday (18 January) at the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Ostersund.

Perfect shooting

Grestch won the women's sitting individual with fantastic shooting. Hitting all twenty targets meant she was able to stay ahead of teammate Oksana Masters who missed two targets in second and German Andrea Eskau who missed one in third. Gretsch has now won all five biathlon races so far on the World Cup.

"It was really good. That's my first biathlon race where we have had four stages and I have cleaned them all," explained Gretsch." A lot of work is going into the shooting so it's exciting going into the rest of the races for the season."

"I was really just trying to focus on the shooting because the one minute penalty is so much so [I was] just trying to focus on that and pace the skiing part."

Her teammate Daniel Cnossen shot impeccably too making it five wins in a row for him in Ostersund.

Cnossen was the only man to hit all 20 targets in the men's sitting which made him impossible to beat. Ukraine's Taras Rad took silver with one miss and Germany's Martin Fleig, who is the Paralympic champion in this event, was third with three misses costing him dearly.

The men's standing was also won by clean shooting with France's Benjamin Daviet taking his third victory this season in biathlon. Germany's Alexander Ehler followed up his bronze medal in the biathlon sprint with a silver in the individual.

He also shot clean meaning he was able to finish ahead of Norway's Nils-Erik Ulset who missed three shots and took the third place.

German Clara Klug with guide Martin Hartl and Ukrainian Oksana Shyshkova and guide Vitalii Kazakov battled it out for the gold medal in the women's vision impaired.

The shooting definitely decided this one with Klug shooting clean to win giving her a double biathlon victory in Ostersund. Shyshkova missed five targets in total leaving her with no hope of the win.

Fast skiing

France's Anthony Chalencon took his first gold medal on the World Cup winning the men's vision impaired race. Along with guide Simon Valverde he managed to break the Ukrainian stranglehold in biathlon despite three misses on the range.

He out-skied both Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn who missed only one target for silver and Vitaliy Luk'yanenko who shot clean with guide Borys Babar for bronze.

The women's standing went to Ukrainian Oleksandra Kononova who despite missing one shot skied fast enough to take her fifth biathlon gold this season.

Second place went to her teammate Iryna Bui who shot clean. There was another Ukrainian in third with Liudmyla Liashenko who missed four shots but made up a lot of time on the tracks.

The final event in Ostersund, the biathlon relay, takes place on Saturday (19).