Germany’s Martin Fleig and Ukraine’s Iurii Utkin concluded the Para Nordic skiing World Cup season in fine style on Wednesday (22 March), securing biathlon titles in Sapporo, Japan.
Fleig ended his breakthrough season, where he won his first World Championships gold medals on home snow in Finsterau, with his maiden men’s sitting World Cup win.
His second place finish in the sprint was enough to finish ahead of Ukraine’s Taras Rad and Norway’s Trygve Steinar Larsen in the rankings.
Ukraine’s world champion Maksym Yarovyi (24:13.4) was the race winner ahead of Fleig (24:22.5). Larsen (24:44.2) was third.
Despite missing the podium on Wednesday, Utkin’s fourth place finish saw him claim the men’s visually impaired World Cup title with guide Ruslan Perekhoda.
Utkin also collected his first title in a season where he raced to Worlds gold in the middle distance biathlon.
The race podium was blocked out by three of Utkin’s teammates. Iaroslav Reshetynskiy (20:00.1), guided by Artur Gergardt, overcame a clean shooting Dmytro Suiarko (20:03.8) and guide Ivan Marchyshak in second. Oleksandr Kazik (20:13.3) and guide Sergiy Kucheryaviy completed the top three.
In the rankings Utkin led compatriot Anatolii Kovalevskyi, guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn, into second. Reshetynskiy ended third.
With title winners already decided in the other classifications, overall men’s and women’s titles were up for grabs.
With his race win, France’s long distance standing world champion Benjamin Daviet claimed the overall men’s biathlon globe, which gathers together points from all three classifications.
Daviet (17:49.6) went unbeaten over three World Cups, sealing his seventh win ahead of Canada’s Mark Arendz (18:45.3). Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh (19:32.5) was third.
In the women’s, Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova added the overall title to her visually impaired globe.
The double world champion secured victory in 19:46.4 with guide Volodymyr Ivanov, over Germany’s Clara Klug (19:52.2) and guide Florian Grimm.
Ukraine’s Olga Prylutska (21:10.0) was third with guide Dmytro Artomin.
Shyshkova topped the rankings ahead of teammate Oleksandra Kononova, who won the women’s standing race in Sapporo.
As the confirmed World Cup winner in her classification, Kononova (18:12.9) had little to lose on Wednesday. Despite dropping two shots, the Ukrainian grabbed the win ahead of Canada’s Emily Young (18:41.8) and compatriot Iuliia Batenkova (18:50.9), both of whom shot clean.
Germany’s women’s sitting World Cup champion Anja Wicker concluded her season with third place in the overall rankings.
But her multiple Paralympic and world champion teammate Andrea Eskau turned on the style in the sprint, winning in 20:33.8 with a clean sheet.
The USA’s world title holder Oksana Masters (20:41.0) reached her latest podium in second. Wicker (21:51.7) was third.
Ukraine were confirmed as the winners of the nation’s Cup having been the most successful country in both biathlon and cross-country skiing this season.
Belarus finished second at the end of a successful season where several of their skiers reached the podium for the first time. World Championships hosts Germany were third.
Full results and final rankings are available at World Para Nordic Skiing’s website.