Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova, a winner of all three biathlon world titles earlier this year, suffered a rare defeat at the hands of teammate Liudmyla Liashenko on Friday (20 March) at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway.
Six individual biathlon pursuit events took place on the third day of competition, and Liashenko’s win was just one of two not claimed by Russian athletes.
Accurate shooting was the key behind Liashenko’s surprise win in the women’s standing event. The 21-year-old (30:40.1) missed just one shot all race whilst Kononova (33:19.3) still managed to secure second despite seven dropped shots. Japan’s Yurika Abe (36:43.6) was third.
Kononova’s loss meant Russia’s Iuliia Budaleeva, guided by Tatiana Maltseva, was the only athlete to maintain a 100 per cent record at the World Cup Finals.
Budaleeva (33:10.5) topped the podium in the women’s visually impaired race and was joined by Ukrainian athletes Olga Prylutska, guided by Borys Babar (34:10.5), and Oksana Shyshkova, guided by Lada Nesterenko (34:45.5) in second and third respectively.
Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtcev (35:31.4) secured his second successive win of the event in the men’s standing despite dropping three shots. Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi (25:58.2) came second with Canada’s Mark Arendz (36:43.5) third for the second time this week.
Clean shooting helped Russia’s Alexey Bychenok (41:43.8) claim victory in the men’s sitting, just ahead of the USA’s Daneil Cnossen (42:38.2) who may regret dropping two shots in his final round. Belarus’ Dzmitry Loban (42:46.2) was third.
The men’s visually impaired race saw the same three podium finishers as Wednesday’s biathlon sprint race, but with the first and third placed finishers swapping places.
Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev (39:22.9) took the win ahead of Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevski and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn (40:04.8) who again finished second; both athletes dropped just one shot. Wednesday’s winners Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin (40:28.9) had to settle for third.
The only other non-Russian winner on Friday was Germany’s Anja Wicker who also claimed a win on Wednesday. The 23-year-old did not drop a shot to lead home Russia’s Natalia Kocherova (40:30.8) in second and Belarus’ Lidziya Hrafeyeva (42:54.1) in third.
Competition continues through to 22 March.
Live results will be available at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup page and official results at the IPC Nordic Skiing website.