First Nordic medals will be contested on the shooting range10 Mar 2018
Oksana Masters is a favourite to win biathlon gold at PyeongChang 2018
By Louise Wood | For the IPC
The biathlon sprint will kick start the Nordic events at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games on Saturday and could provide some of the most exciting action of the day. Just ten targets and three laps of the Alpensia track separate the biathletes from the Paralympic podium.
The racing gets underway in the morning with the sitting events. There will be a lot of interest surrounding the men’s race with South Korea flag bearer Eui Hyun Sin carrying the medal hopes for the home nation. He will be hoping to finish ahead of the likes of world champion Maksym Yarovyi and Germany’s Martin Fleig to secure a fantastic start to the Games for the hosts.
The women’s race will also be hotly contested with the vastly experienced German Andrea Eskau trying to repeat her gold medal winning performance from Sochi. It will not be easy for her however with strong opposition in the form of Oksana Masters, compatriot Anja Wicker, Irina Guliaeva and Marta Zainullina.
In the afternoon the standing and vision impaired competitors take centre stage. The men’s standing event has the potential to provide fireworks with a very open race in prospect. With the Paralympic champion from Sochi absent the tag of favourite falls to Mark Arendz. As World Champion in this event from Finsterau 2017 he will be the one to beat but will be pushed all the way by Benjamin Daviet, Ihor Reptyukh, Grygorii Vovchynskyi and Nils-Erik Ulset.
A new champion will also be crowned in the women’s standing. Having dominated the World Cup season together it could come down to a straight fight between Anna Milenina and Ekaterina Rumyantseva. Trying to stop them will be the Ukrainian trio of Liudmila Liashenko, Olha Prylutska and Yuliia Batenkova-Bauman.
The vision impaired races should provide the best chance of gold medal success for the Ukrainian team. They will field the current world champions in both the men’s and women’s races with Anatolii Kovalevskyi and Olga Shyshkova.
The German duo of Vivian Hoesch and Clara Klug will provide the main opposition to Shyshkova. Kovalevskyi however will have to beat his own teammate and Paralympic champion Vitaliy Luk’yanenko if he wants to win the gold medal.