"Fans at the stadium shouted, 'Roman, we want a fifth gold medal.' That's why I had to take first place. My mental training is easy. I just tell myself, 'I must.'”
Russia’s Roman Petushkov continues to prove unstoppable in the Nordic skiing events at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, winning his fifth gold medal of the Games in the men’s 15km sitting biathlon on Friday (14 March).
The 36-year-old, named the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athlete of the Month at least once each of the past two seasons, clocked in at 42:20.8, ahead of teammates Grigory Murygin (44:25.7) and Aleksandr Davidovich (44:46.2).
"Fans at the stadium shouted, 'Roman, we want a fifth gold medal.' That's why I had to take first place," Petushkov said. "My mental training is easy. I just tell myself, 'I must.'”
After racking up two Paralympic silvers already this week, Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin (36:42.9) finally got his first Sochi 2014 gold in the men’s 15km visually impaired biathlon with guide Andrey Tokarev with a time of 36:42.9. Ukrainians Anatolii Kovalevskyi (38:18.2) and Vitaliy Lukyanenko (38.21.6) finished with the silver and bronze, respectively.
"Yes, it finally happened - my first Paralympic individual gold medal,” Polukhin said. “I'd promised four years ago in Vancouver that I would win Paralympic gold in the individual race in Sochi."
"My federation and trainers have been waiting for me to win a gold since 8 March, but there were some imperfections and mistakes. Today, I tried to do everything without them, to shoot restrained and in cold blood. Everything turned out as I wished."
Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi won gold in the men’s 12.5km standing in a time of 37:41.1 to clinch his first medal of the Games, beating Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset (37:44.2) by just one-tenth of a second. Russia’s top finisher in the event was Kirill Mikhaylov (37:45.6), who took the bronze.
Russian 24-year-old Svetlana Konovalova continued her Paralympic medal streak by winning the women’s 12.5km sitting biathlon in 40:44.0 – putting on a very impressive performance after finishing in seventh place in the event at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships.
Germany’s Anja Wicker (41:27.1) and Ukraine’s Olena Iurkovska (41:30.8) completed the podium, finishing second and third.
There was more Russia and Ukraine dominance in the women’s 12.5km standing biathlon, with Ukrainian Oleksandra Kononova grabbing gold in 40:30.6 ahead of two Russians – Alena Kaufman (40:32.7) and Natalia Bratiuk (41:00.9).
Iuliia Budaleeva took the gold in the women’s 12.5km visually impaired event in 35:25.9, defeating favourite and compatriot Mikhalina Lysova (37:21.0), who took silver. Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova (37:48.8) finished in third place.