IBU World Championships (Hochfilzen, Austria): Women’s 7.5 k sprint
Gabriela Koukalová, formerly Soukalova, had been so close to a World Championships individual gold medal, yet through five World Championships and two Olympic Games, a world title still eluded her — until Friday.
In the second race of 2017 IBU World Championships (and first individual competition), the 27-year-old Koukalova, of the Czech Republic, raced to first in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint, edging Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, the World Cup Total Score leader.
Koukalova started 96th and cleaned both prone and standing before finishing with the fastest time in 19:12.6 minutes. That bested Dahlmeier’s time by 4 seconds, after the German (in bib 64) also cleaned both stages and took the lead from France’s Anais Chevalier (bib 17). Chevalier remained on the podium in third, 25.1 seconds off Koukalova’s winning time.
Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi missed a medal by 0.2 seconds in fourth (+25.3).
US Biathlon’s Clare Egan shot clean and landed 20th (+1:12.4) for her best individual World Championships result by 20 places (she previously raced at 2015 and 2016 World Championships). Egan led three Americans in qualifying for the pursuit, with Susan Dunklee placing 29th (+1:27.4) with three penalties (1+2) and Joanne Reid in 49th (+1:57.6) with two misses (1+1). Maddie Phaneuf missed the top 60 necessary for the pursuit in 78th (+2:56.6) with two standing penalties (0+2).
Biathlon Canada’s Rosanna Crawford placed 26th (+1:23.2) with one standing penalty (0+1) and was the lone Canadian to qualify for the pursuit. Megan Tandy missed the top 60 in 64th (+2:20.9) with one miss (1+0), Julia Ransom followed 65th (+2:24.7) with two misses (0+2), and Emma Lunder was 84th (+3:10.1) with three penalties (3+0).