Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Polukhin enjoys colder temperatures at Vuokatti biathlon

First day of biathlon races in IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup take place in -12 degrees Celcius, with Russians winning all six races. 11 Jan 2014 By IPC

”It felt really nice today, because the weather got colder. It was pretty hard for shooting, because the fingers get cold easily, but in general, shape was good”

Russia’s reigning world champion Nikolay Polukhin has once again shown why he will be the man to beat in biathlon at Sochi 2014, winning the short distance visually impaired race in Vuokatti, Finland, today (11 December).

The colder temperatures, which plunged to -12 degrees Celsius, played perfectly into Polukhin's hands over the 7.5km course allowing him and guide Andrey Tokarev to beat a clean shoot from Ukraine’s Vitaliy Lukyanenko and guide Borys Babar (20:03.2) in 20:02.7. Polukhin missed one shot on his first loop but despite the resulting penalty, still managed to lead Lukyanenko and compatriot Anatolli Kovalevskyi, guided by Oleksandr Mukshin who finished third.

”It felt really nice today, because the weather got colder. It was pretty hard for shooting, because the fingers get cold easily, but in general, shape was good”, 31-year-old Polukhin said.

"For me, it doesn’t matter whether the Paralympic Games are in Russia or Germany, the pressure is huge and spectators expect some great results.”

When asked why Russia are so strong in Nordic skiing following another clean-sweep in the other short distance races today, the double cross-country relay Paralympic champion said simply: “Tradition. It is a Russian national sport.”

In the sitting race, Roman Petushkov (21:29.6) improved on his fourth place from the last World Cup in Canmore, Canada, to beat team-mates Aliaksandr Davidovich (21:39.2) and reigning world champion Grigory Murygin (21:50.1).

Mikhalina Lysova, guided by Alexey Ivanov, continues her form from last season as world champion in the women’s visually impaired over 6km, winning in 17:45.3 and shooting clean. Her rivalry with fellow Russians Elena Remizova (18:21.6) and guide Tatiana Maltseva, and Iuliia Budaleeva (19:11.9) guided by Natalia Yakimova has also been carried forward, with the three appearing to be the ones to beat again with less than 60 days to go until Sochi 2014.

The women’s standing saw Ukraine’s short distance world champion Iuliia Batenkova (18:59.5) beaten by Anna Milenina (17:40.6) and Oleksandr Kononova (18:11.3). Milenina, a biathlon gold medallist from Vancouver 2010, has not left the podium since making her debut in 2003.

Canada’s Mark Arendz is not enjoying success in Vuokatti and was outdone in the men’s standing by Azat Karachurin (19:13.9). The world champion was also foiled by middle distance biathlon champion Ihor Reptyukh in second (19:16.7) and Norwegian Nils-Erik Ulset (19:27.1) to finish an eventual seventh.

Maria Iovleva won the women’s sitting race (20:10.7), ahead of Ukrainian Lyudmyla Pavlenko (20:35.2) and Russia’s Nadezdha Fedorova (20:51.0) with clean shoot for all three athletes.

Biathlon races in Vuokatti continue tomorrow (Sunday) with pursuit events, before athletes move to Oberstdorf from 17-19 January for the next IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup.

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