Golds for Svendsen and Iourieva at biathlon worlds

February 15th, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by admin  

Ostersund (Sweden), Feb 15 (DPA) Emile Hegle Svendsen of Norway clinched gold in the men’s 20-kilometres individual race at the biathlon world championships here Thursday. Meanwhile Ekaterina Iourieva of Russia shot clean in difficult wind conditions to claim her biggest biathlon career win, the 15-kilometres world title.

It was a first title for Svendsen, 22, who posted 51 minutes 51.09 seconds with one penalty loop, to hold a 31.4-second advantage over compatriot Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who had two errors.

The bronze went to the Russian Maxim Maximow, who shot clean to finish 34.8 seconds behind Svendsen.

Bjoerndalen was looking for a second gold after winning the men’s pursuit on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who has 80 World Cup wins, now has gold and silver to go with the sprint bronze won on Saturday.

He moves to 689 points in the overall World Cup standings, with Dmitry Yaroshenko of Russia on 529 and Maxim Chudov of Russia on 498. In the women’s 15-kilometres, Iourieva, 24, won from German Martina Glagow and Oksana Khvostenko of Ukraine, adding the gold to pursuit silver from last weekend in a race moved to Thursday due to strong wind at the original date Wednesday.

Her only previous World Cup victory also came in the 15 km event (two months ago in Pokljuka), in which each miss in the shooting range brings with it not a penalty loop but one penalty minute to the overall time.

“I always wanted a big win and I did expect a good result today. There was not much time between the wind gusts, so most of the time I had to shoot fairly quickly,” said Iourieva.

Iourieva hit all 20 targets to win in 44 minutes 23.8 seconds for Russia’s second Ostersund title, following Maxim Tchoudov’s success in the men’s sprint. Germany lead the way with three titles but fell short of victory on Thursday.

Glagow missed one target to trail by 1:13.3 minutes for second place in the event like at the 2006 Olympics. Khvostenko got her second Ostersund bronze, following the sprint, 2:24.4 seconds off the pace with one penalty minute.

“It was very windy. You could never be sure in the shooting range, you needed luck there,” said Glagow.

Glagow’s room-mate Andrea Henkel, the sprint and pursuit champion, missed six targets to finish outside the top 20. Norway’s Tora Berger had to swallow a fourth-place finish yet again after also missing the sprint and pursuit podium in this position.

Henkel leads the overall World Cup standings on 568 points, with Sandrine Bailly of France on 522 and Kati Wilhelm of Germany on 501.

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