Gold for Ankudinova and Tsvetkov

25.02.2012, Kontiolahti / IBU Info TO
IBU YJWCH in Kontiolahti
The flags that were raised at the IBU Youth and Junior World Championships today were all striped in white, red and blue as all of the medals went to France and Russia. Clean-shooting Elena Ankundinova of Russia won the junior women’s 7.5k sprint in 22:27.9. Silver went to France’s Anais Chevalier who also shot clean, 8 seconds back. Another Russian, Margarit Philippova won the Bronze with one penalty, 16.2 seconds back. Another Russian Maxim Tsvetkov won the junior men’s title in 25:14.0 with one penalty. France’s Florent Claude with one penalty and Simon Desthieux, who shot clean won the Silver and Bronze medals, 5.3 and 7.3 seconds back, respectively.

Copyright IBU/Reijo Väisänen

Ankundinova start fifth from the end of the start list and sprinted to the top. The small Russian, who studies to be a coach in her hometown Tyumen, was fast and shot clean and securely in the lead. After finishing 17th in the individual “where the wind disturbed me,” she explained that this Gold medal, the first for the Russian team during these Championships, was a relief for the entire team.

I Want Gold

Behind her, Chevalier, last year’s youth women’s sprint Silver medalist, won Silver again. She explained that the juniors now were skiing a lot faster than the youth but also declared: “I want the Gold medal tomorrow. I already have Silver now and I want to be faster tomorrow and win Gold.”

Nervous Wait

Bronze went to Philippova, who did not start in the individual “because I am not such a good shot.” Today, she made it to the podium despite one prone penalty. At the finish the girl with bib number 6 had to wait for a long time until she could be sure of her medal: “I just stared at the scoreboard and waited nervously,” she explained.

Fourth place went to Theka Brun-Lie of Norway who shot flawlessly but finished 28.4 seconds back. Monika Hojnisz of Poland finished fifth with two penalties, 32.8 back. Italian Nicole Gontier matched the Hojnisz but was 49.6 seconds back in sixth place.

Tsvetkov Uses His Chance

Tsvetkov won the junior men’s sprint world champion’s title after winning the title in the youth men’s sprint last year. Smiling, he explained at the finish, “I focused all my season on these championships and as I did not succeed in the individual I knew today that this was it.” When he missed one in prone, he still did not give up hope: “I never lost my confidence but I knew I had to work harder on the tracks to maintain my chance.”

Tsvetkov’s  Strong Finish

Silver medalist Claude had one penalty in prone.  “Standing was difficult because I knew I have to hit all 5 and I was a bit worried. Now I am happy because I had a really good shooting. Maxim finished very strong because at the steep climb I was still 1 second ahead of him but behind him at the finish.”

Very Happy

Desthieux was visibly relieved at the finish. In the relay, he still lost to Tsvetkov in a photo finish, which cost his team the medal. “I am happy to be here now because after the relay we were very disappointed.” About his chances to win in the pursuit, “Good shooting is important in the pursuit and I will try to do good shooting, like today.” Beaten by him twice now, he doesn’t think of Tsvetkov as a “nightmare”, though. “He is not a nightmare but just a good athlete. I look forward to sprint against him tomorrow,” commented Claude.

Pursuit Excitement

The Germans missed a medal while finishing fourth and fifth. Johannes Kühn had one penalty, was 18.5 seconds back while Tobias Hermann matched his teammate on the shooting range but was 29.5 seconds back. Sixth place went to Alexandr Loginov of Russia with two penalties, 31 seconds back.

Sunday’s junior men’s pursuit promises to be quite exciting with 10 athletes starting within one minute and three fast Norwegians just after them. The junior men’s pursuit starts at 1.30 pm CET as the final competition in these Championships. The youth and the junior women’s as well as the youth men’s pursuit competitions are scheduled earlier on Sunday.