Germany and Ukraine Win Relays

02.02.2012, Osrblie / IBU Info TO
IBU OECH in Osrblie
The spectators at the IBU Open European Championships Biathlon in Osrblie, SVK, saw two relay competitions at the same time today. In the end, the German men’s team won in 1:16:54.1 with 10 spare rounds finishing ahead of Norway and Russia. The Ukrainian women’s team won in 1:15:14.3 with Russia and Germany taking the Silver and Bronze medals.

Copyright IBU/Rene Miko

Women and Men

The stadium at Osrblie saw some unusual scenes today. As the temperatures had dropped even further overnight, the only time for competitions was around noon, when the sun heated up the venue, but there was only enough time for one competition. Since there were only 14 men’s teams and 7 women’s teams, the shooting range was split so that the men shot on lanes 1 through 14 and the women on lanes 21 through 28.  The start of these two competitions took place only 2 minutes apart.

Kokkin, Semerenko, Kühn

For some coaches, this meant a busy day. Remo Krug, German coach, was constantly walking up and down the shooting range in order to check the shooting of first, the men’s team, and then the women’s team through a scope close to their respective lanes. For the spectators it was unusual because there was always something going on with the men and women so close to each other on the tracks. For the third handover, the second athlete was actually a woman; Vita Semerenko of Ukraine came in right behind Dag Erik Kokkin of Norway and barely ahead of Johannes Kühn of Germany.


This oddity showed the Ukrainian strength today. Juliya Dhzyma, Valj and Vita Semerenko and Olena Pidhrushna won in 1:18.1., with Russia in second place. Pidhrushna explained at the finish, “There is a certain tradition for us to win the relay at the European Championships and there are people who expect that from us. That creates a kind of pressure and I try not to think about it but I can feel it.”

Russia was always securely in second place, finishing with seven spare rounds ahead of Germany which needed nine spare rounds, 1:52.7 back. Fourth place went to Czech Republic, with Belarus in fifth  and Poland sixth.

Norway and Germany

The men’s relay was a different story; it was exciting until the end. While Russia and Belarus were in medal contention at the beginning of the competition, Norway took over the lead at the second exchange and pulled away, with Germany on its heels. The penalties surely helped here, though as Ukraine, Russia and Belarus all had penalties today.

Decision at the Climb

Norway was leading until the last exchange but then Erik Lesser closed the gap to Henrik L’Abee-Lund and even passed him before the shooting. Although Lesser needed a total of three spare rounds today, compared to L’Abee-Lund’s one, he left the shooting range 3 seconds ahead of the Norwegian. Lesser explained, “I think I had better skis than the Norwegian today and thus I tried to get away during the climb because I knew I had an advantage during the downhill. Thankfully, that worked because I had not much more left on the last lap.” L’Abee-Lund just said, “He was better than me today.”

Bronze went to Russia with one penalty and seven spare rounds, 1:05.2 back. Fourth place went to Austria with Ukraine in fifth and the Czech Republic in sixth.

This was the last competition of these IBU OECH. Next year’s European Championships will take place in Bansko, Bulgaria.