Germany Wins Exciting Relay
|05.02.2011, Nove Mesto na Morave / IBU Inf. Dept TO|
|Russia in Second Place: Norway Third|
|The German junior men won the 4x7.5K relay at the IBU Youth and Junior World Championships in Nove Mesto ahead of the Russians and Norwegians. The Russian and German teams had three penalties, while the Norwegians had two, because of strong gusty winds combined with soft, slow snow.|
“It really wasn’t that difficult today but we still made a lot of mistakes, “downplayed Benedikt Doll from Germany after the competition. He ran the second leg of the German relay team that included the medalists from these championships, Steffen Bartscher, Johannes Kühn and Tom Barth. Doll led the German team from 10th place to 2nd place today.
Making it To the Front
Bartscher, the leadoff leg missed two targets in standing stage and handed over to Doll, in 10th position, 1:20 behind the leading Russian team. Doll admitted, “I never thought that we would make it to the front; 1:20 is a lot of time and the Russians are strong runners.” He went on, “When the leader doesn’t make a mistake it is very difficult to catch up and pass them.”
But he was not able to take advantage of one miss of the Russian Aleksandr Pechenkin of the Russian team. Just like the athletes from Norway and Czech Republic who were in striking distance then, Doll had to circle the penalty loop once. He handed over to Johannes Kühn 1:15.7 after Pechenkin had handed over to Ivan Kryukov.
The Russian explained, “It was very difficult on the tracks for me today. During my standing shooting there was a lot of wind and I could not concentrate.” This meant two misses for him and he continued: “When I turned into the penalty loop I knew that I had made a big mistake. I knew that I could not catch the German on the last loop but I still hoped that our fourth athlete could catch him. I had not yet given up hope to win Gold.”
Kühn took advantage of the Russian’s mistake, hitting all five targets without using any spares and went out on the tracks 28 seconds ahead of Kryukov. Tom Barth, the German anchor, was not quite as fast as Dmitriy Dyuzhev, the Russian anchor, but while the German needed a total of two spares, Dyuzhev needed three. However, both stayed clear of the penalty loop. Dyuzhev came close to the German but could not catch him.
The Norwegian relay team finished in third place, 1:46.3 behind Germany, more than two minutes ahead of Finland in fourth place. This huge gap made it possible for Vetle Sjastad Christiansen to stop twice during the last lap. “I shook hands with our fifth relay member, my teammate who did not race today during the uphill. Our relay team really consists of five members,” he explained, grinning. He made the second stop to politely thank a spectator who congratulated him.
The French team finished in fifth place. Like the Finnish team, they had five penalties today. Sixth place went to the Austrian team with three penalties.