Note: This article has been updated to include comments from Canada’s Adam Runnalls as well as photos of the American men.
The snow is melting in Cheile Gradistei, Romania, and it’s melting fast as organizers work to cover parts of the track with manmade snow, but the Canadians seem to be handling it just fine.
For the second-straight youth race at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Youth/Junior World Championships, three Canadians landed in the top 21 and one more was within the top 30 on Friday. Teo Sanchez recorded his second top 20 in as many races so far, placing 17th in the men’s 7.5-kilometer sprint on Friday after taking 13th in Wednesday’s 12.5 k individual.
“I was feeling ready for it, but still nervous,” Sanchez, 18, of Wakefield, Quebec, wrote in an email about Friday’s race — his second ever at a world championships.
After a clean prone, he finished out the sprint with one penalty in the standing stage. His goal coming into the race had been perfect 10-for-10 shooting, and he ended up 9-for-10, still “as a whole, good,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately my legs were shaking a bit during my standing shooting and that caused me to miss my second last standing target,” Sanchez explained. “I felt really strong skiing but I need to loosen up a bit and get my technique more together.
“I think 17th in the world is a pretty good result,” he added. “I think it will put me in a good place for the pursuit [on Sunday] as I’ll have lots of people to ski with while I’m racing. Pursuits are my strongest race format, I love the chasing and being chased. My goal will be to match my shooting score in the individual [18/20], and to transition between techniques as smoothly as possible.”
In the men’s race, Adam Runnalls, who placed 17th on Wednesday, finished 21st in Friday’s sprint with two standing misses. Coming into these championships, Runnalls explained he had not hit more than 70 percent of his targets in any race.
“80% shooting has always been a bench mark for me. I gives me some where to set my sights (literally) when shooting other than just wanting to shoot clean,” Runnalls wrote in an email, after his second-straight race shooting 80 percent. “Today though I feel that 80% was a little disappointing. Having shot clean in the prone I wanted to shoot a little better in the standing because I felt that another clean shooting was not out if reach I was just not able to get it.
“I fell apart mentally in my standing shooting predicting the outcome before I began shooting,” he continued. “As I was skiing and before the first shot all I could think was clean, clean, clean and that’s where it all went wrong. So 80% was not a bad shooting for the day just a bit disappointing.”
Friday’s sprint marked his second top 21 in his debut world championships.
“I felt really good about my result today just barley missing the top 20,” Runnalls wrote. “When I came across the line I was in the 7th position and was slowly dropping down into the high teens. As I was watching my placing drop all I could think about was what would have happened if I had kept a clear head and hit one more target. But all and all I was happy with the result.”
“Teo and Adam … proved that biathlon is a complex sport and that you need good skiing and shooting combined together in order to do well,” Canadian trip leader Richard Boruta wrote in an email. “I know that Teo is pretty good shot and he is showing this here as well, Adam has been good skier in a last year or two, but he will need to improve especially his standing shooting if he wants to become a really successful biathlete. I think they perform at a level where they are comfortable with and chances are that their Pursuit performance will be also close to those results.”
On Friday, Sanchez finished 2:20.4 behind the winner, Russia’s Igor Malinovskii, who tallied his first youth worlds victory (and podium) in 20:32.9, despite one prone miss (1+0). Runnalls finished 2:43.1 back.
Norway’s Endre Strømsheim claimed second, 26.3 seconds back, after cleaning all his targets for his first world championships podium as well. Just over a second later, another Russian, Viacheslav Maleev took the third spot on the podium (+27.4) with one miss in each stage (1+1).
Norway’s Aleksander Fjeld Andersen was 17.2 seconds away from his second-straight podium, placing fourth, 44.6 seconds behind Malinovskii.
Moser Climbs to Career-Best 19th
In the youth women’s 6 k sprint, Canada’s Nadia Moser shot 9-for-10 to take 19th, 1:32 behind the winner, for her best result at worlds by nearly 30 places. She finished 47th in Wednesday’s individual with eight penalties. On Friday, the 18-year-old Canmore resident missed one in prone and cleaned standing.
“Nadia has been showing really strong training performances lately and it has been just matter of time before she will gain the confidence to show the same in an important race,” Boruta reflected. “She felt good skiing and also her skis were quite fast and combined with solid shooting performance it has all helped to achieve first great result.”
“I felt good skiing and … I always strive for strong shooting,” Moser said in a Biathlon Canada press release. “The course was hard and the conditions were challenging because some parts of the downhills were icy. Overall, I’m happy with how I competed and looking forward to the pursuit race.”
After placing 19th on Wednesday with seven penalties, another Canadian, Megan Bankes finished 26th in the sprint with five misses — two in prone and three in standing. Her course time was fifth fastest out of 91 women on Friday.
“Having good skiing Wednesday definitely gave me confidence to see what I am capable of this week, and I have been stoked with my skiing performances in both races,” Bankes wrote in an email. “I certainly need to work on my shooting in the races, but I am confident in my training and know that everything will come together.”
She finished 2:14.8 behind the winner, Norway’s Karoline Erdal, who started in bib 2 and held off all challengers to take the victory in 18:17.7.
Norway dominated the top two with Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg in second (+28.5), and Ukraine’s Anna Kryvonos four seconds behind in third (+32.4) after a downhill crash on the final loop cost her more than 20 seconds and second place, according to an IBU press release.
Six seconds out of third, Marketa Davidova of the Czech Republic missed her second-consecutive podium (after placing third on Wednesday) in fourth with two misses (0+2).
All three podium finishers cleaned prone and missed one in standing (0+1). Just two women in the top 20 cleaned both stages: Austria’s Tamara Steinar, who finished eighth, and Kazakhstan’s Yevgeniya Krassikova in 16th.
“It was hard, but it is really nice to finish first,” Erdal said in the post-race press conference. “I am really happy with the shooting. It was a good race and I am really satisfied. I don’t know yet what I am going to do in pursuit. I am starting first so I just need to do my own race and focus on my work.”
According to Bankes, the course in Cheile Gradistei — a mountain resort about 3,000 feet above sea level — “is pretty hard, but quite fun to race on, with a couple steep uphills and some technical downhills,” she explained. “The snow conditions have been pretty good as the organizers have worked very hard to insure there is adequate snow, with some warmer temperatures.”
Also for Canada, Emily Dickson placed 41st (+2:48.7) with two standing penalties. India McIsaac was 54th (+3:27.8) with five misses (1+4). In the men’s race, Zachari Bolduc also had five misses (2+3) and finished 65th. Lucas Boudreau was 76th with three penalties (1+2).
Brendan Cyr was the top American in 46th, finishing 3:39.5 behind the men’s winner with three penalties, all of which came in standing (0+3). Cody Johnson placed 50th in the same race (+3:47.5) with two misses (1+1), Peter Carroll was 69th with four misses (2+2), and Vaclav Cervenka was 72nd with five misses (2+3).
In the women’s race, Amanda Kautzer led the U.S. in 52nd (+3:24.2) with three penalties (1+2), Claire Waichler was 58th (+3:45.6) with five misses (2+3), Chloe Levins 65th with five misses, and Ariana Woods 76th with five penalties as well (1+4).
- 6 k sprint
- 7.5 k sprint
- Adam Runnalls
- Aleksander Fjeld Andersen
- Anna Kryvonos
- biathlon canada
- Cheile Gradistei
- Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg
- Endre Strømsheim
- IBU Youth/Junior World Championships
- Igor Malinovskii
- Karoline Erdal
- Marketa Davidova
- Megan Bankes
- Nadia Moser
- Richard Boruta
- Teo Sanchez
- Viacheslav Maleev
- youth men's sprint
- youth women's sprint