A silver in the sitting biathlon sprint and a bronze in the individual were not enough to satisfy 18-year-old Taras Rad at the World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Oberried, Germany.
Despite his young age, Rad is already on the way to becoming one of the best Nordic skiers in the world and he is wasting no time to prove it. The Ukrainian athlete overcame the fatigue of competing in six races in nine days to take the gold in the final event in Oberried, middle distance biathlon.
It was foggy and wet as Rad made his way through the course. The youngster took the lead from the start of the race and shot cleanly in the range to maintain his lead.
But he had strong competition from Sin Eui Hyun of Korea, who is more than double his age. Sin showed that he is in top shape ahead of his home Paralympic Games in PyeongChang as he pursued Rad in a close second place throughout the race and matched Rad’s perfect shooting in the range.
In the end, Sin was just under a minute behind the Ukrainian to take second spot - his first podium at the World Cup in Oberried.
Neutral athlete Aleksandr Davidovich came third. Meanwhile, his teammate Ivan Golubkov, who was the athlete to beat in the men’s sitting races, came fourth after a frustrating time in the shooting range where he missed five shots and had to make up for them with penalty loops.
In the women’s sitting race, Oksana Masters showed that she’s not one to dwell on poor results when she bounced back from her ninth place in the biathlon individual on Saturday (27 January) to first place in the middle distance.
Weak shooting was her downfall in the individual race, but just one day later Masters was in champion form again and shot cleanly except for one missed shot on the final lap. But by this point, her closest challenger, neutral athlete Irina Guliaeva, was too far back and Masters crossed the finish line with a 1.44-minute lead.
Neutral athlete Nadezhda Fedorova rounded off the top three.
Mikhalina Lysova took yet another gold medal in Oberried in the women’s vision impaired class. The neutral athlete won five out of six races on the German course, where she showed to be outstanding in both her skiing speed and shooting precision.
Lysova took the lead from the start of the middle distance race and didn’t make any mistakes in the range.
Two Ukrainian athletes, Oksana Shyshkova and Natalia Rubanovska, came second and third. The more experienced of the two, Paralympic medallist Shyshkova, had a challenging start after missing five shots in the first two laps, but she made up for the penalties in the final laps to climb to second.
Neutral athlete Stanislav Chokhlaev extended his perfect streak in the vision impaired biathlon events in this season’s World Cup by claiming another victory in the middle distance race in Oberried. He was in second position for the first two rounds, but overtook teammate Nikolai Polukhin in the second half of the race to take top spot.
Iurii Utkin finished third after battling his way from sixth position. It was the first medal for the Ukrainian in this World Cup season.
Unlike Chokhlaev, Benjamin Daviet was not able to repeat his feat from Canmore where he won gold in all the biathlon races. In Oberried the Frenchman was fourth in the standing sprint and again missed top spot in the middle distance where he finished second to neutral athlete Vladislav Lekomtsev.
Another neutral athlete, Aleksandr Pronkov, came in third after skiing incredibly fast final laps.
In the women’s standing event, the gold went to neutral athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva, who already has a gold and silver from two previous biathlon races in Oberried. Rumyantseva took a comfortable lead at the beginning, but her advantage shrunk in the final laps after she missed two shots and had to ski penalty loops.
Ukraine’s Yuliia Batenkova-Bauman and Iryna Bui put more pressure on Rumyantseva by shooting cleanly throughout the whole race, but in the end were unable to match her skiing speed. Batenkova-Bauman finished second, just over 33 seconds behind Rumyantseva, with Bui taking third place.
Vuokatti in Finland will host the World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup finals between 3 and 9 February.