Eighteen-year-old Sean Doherty’s on quite a roll at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Youth/Junior World Championships, winning his second-straight gold in as many races at this year’s championships and defending his title in the youth men’s 10-kilometer pursuit.
Doherty (US Biathlon) started first and stayed there despite three penalties, but a windy afternoon in Presque Isle, Maine, prevented any of his competitors from shooting clean. The starting order and youth men’s podium from Friday’s sprint remained the same, with Germany’s Marco Gross placing second with three misses, and Russia’s Dmitrii Shamaev finishing third with four penalties.
According to an IBU press release, the eventual gold and silver medalists entered the first prone together, each hitting the first four shots before Gross missed the last. Doherty cleaned and continued on in the lead, cleaning his second prone as well before missing one on his first standing stage.
With a 55-second cushion, Doherty remained safely ahead, then missed two more on his final stage but cruised to a 1:03.6-minute win. The New Hampshire native grabbed a large American flag on his way to the finish, holding it high above his head as he skied across the finish.
“It’s so incredibly satisfying when it comes together in a race like today,” Doherty told the Portland Press Herald. “And to really have that, in front of the home crowd, just makes it better.’’
Canada’s Beaudry Captures Bronze
A runner-up on Saturday by three-tenths of a second, Galina Vishnevskaya of Kazakhstan captured gold in the junior women’s pursuit with clean shooting on both her first and third stages. With one miss in both her second prone and final standing, she stayed ahead of Germany’s fast-closing Luise Kummer, the only woman to clean all day.
“I thought about winning the gold medal all night,” Vishnevskaya told IBU. “I was very motivated at the start and wanted to shoot clean … In the last lap, I still could not believe that I was going to win by such a large amount.”
Vishnevskaya won by 57.8 seconds and Canada’s Sarah Beaudry rose from starting 2:37 back in 29th to seize bronze (+2:08) with a single prone penalty.
Beaudry’s teammate Julia Ransom notched fourth (+2:15.6) with two misses, both on her third stage.
Frenchman Fabien Claude won the junior men’s 12.5 k pursuit after starting 23 seconds behind Russia’s Alexander Povarnitsyn. Despite four penalties, he beat Povarnitsyn — who had six misses — by 10.9 seconds. Norway’s Jarle Midthjell Gjørven proved to be the best male on the range all day with two penalties. He cleaned both standing stages to finish 23.8 seconds behind Claude for bronze.
Claude told IBU he tried to ski aggressive from the start and was a little nervous after his first penalty on his second prone (he later missed two in the first standing, and another in the last stage).
“I want to be like Martin Fourcade,” he said. “But now I am just Fabien.”
Carsen Campbell of Canada was the top North American in 16th (+2:48.6) with five misses.
In the youth women’s 7.5 k pursuit, Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi racked up another gold after winning Friday’s sprint. Despite seven penalties (after cleaning her first prone), she topped Germany’s Anna Weidel by 19.2 seconds. Weidel started 13 seconds behind the Italian and missed six, the most crucial of which came in the last standing.
France’s Estelle Mougel overcame a minute-starting deficit to end up third (+29.6) with three penalties.
Canada’s Danielle Vrielink was the top North American in 15th (+1:29.4) with three misses. Anna Kubek led the U.S. in 18th (+1:43.7) with four penalties. Maddie Phaneuf started fourth and finished 24th (+2:55.6) after skiing eight penalty laps.