PyeongChang 2018: Benjamin Daviet targets biathlon sweep
NPA athlete Rumyantseva going for gold on final day of competition16 Mar 2018
Benjamin Daviet is favourite for gold in the final biathlon event at PyeongChang 2018
Friday (16 March) sees the final biathlon competition of the PyeongChang Paralympic Games take place.
Frenchman Benjamin Daviet has already won both the sprint and middle distance biathlon standing races here in PyeongChang and now has the chance to win a third. The long distance race over 15km, in which he is World Champion, will be his toughest test so far but he will be confident heading to the start line.
"I'm very strong so when I want something I work a lot. There's a lot of expectation from sponsors and family but I'm doing a super season so it's normal,” said Daviet.
“Now I'm happy but I have more races to do and I want to get more medals.”
His two great rivals Canada’s Mark Arendz and Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh will both be out to stop him. All three have appeared on the podium in every biathlon standing race so far and any one of the three could leave with the gold medal.
The women’s standing 12.5km race could also see Neutral Paralympic Athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva win all three biathlon races. However she looked tired in the cross country sprints on Wednesday which could allow one of her rivals to triumph. Ukrainian Luidmyla Liashenko is the world champion in this event and Neutral Paralympic athlete Anna Milenina, fresh from her cross country sprint win, will be looking for another gold.
Ukraine’s Vitaliy Luk’yanenko and Yury Holub of Belarus will go head to head in the vision impaired 15km race after winning the sprint and middle distance races respectively. They will be hoping to hold off the challenge from the Ukrainian trio of Anatolii Kovalevskyi, Iurii Utkin and Oleksandr Kazik. The World Champion from Belarus Vasili Shaptsiaboi is also here but has not shown great form so far.
The women’s vision impaired race will also be a showdown between Neutral Paralympic Athletes Mikhalina Lysova and Oksana Shyshkova who have taken one victory each in the biathlon races. Shyshkova is the World Champion over the 12.5 km and won the 10km race here on Tuesday while Lysova took the title in the 6km sprint.
The sitting races will see two German World Champions try to add the Paralympic title to their collections. Anja Wicker and Martin Fleig will go for gold but neither has looked in top shape over the last week.
That leaves biathletes like America’s Kendall Gretsch and Oksana Masters to vie for the title along with another German Andrea Eskau. With three medals already she is starting to worry about her baggage allowance for the trip home.
"It's so many medals. I'm close to having to pay overweight on the baggage when I fly back,” joked Eskau.
In the men’s 15km race there will be chances for even more American success with gold medal winners Andy Soule and Daniel Cnossen taking to the start line. They will have to contend with Dzmitry Loban of Belarus and another gold medal winner from the biathlon 12.5km Taras Rad from the Ukrainian.
Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine will also start but does not seem very confident.
"I will compete in the 15km biathlon. My shooting is not going so well now. It's some psychological issue there.”