Alex Cisar from Slovenia and Ekaterina Bekh from Ukraine won the sprint gold medals of the Junior Open European Championship in Hochfilzen. For Cisar it is the second medal in two competitions, Bekh won despite a penalty loop. Bright sunshine, clear blue skies, and almost no wind: were perfect outside conditions for first-class performance, but it still meant hard work for the athletes as the tracks became wet, deep and slow.
After his second-place yesterday, Alex Cisar has crowned the new IBU Junior Sprint European Champion. He was one of only a few who shot clean and was unbeatable on the tracks. Yesterday’s winner, Vitezlav Hornig from the Czech Republic, was on the podium again today and exchanged places with Cisar with a penalty, 21.2 seconds back with the silver medal.
Bronze went to the dominator of this year’s IBU Junior Cup season. Niklas Hartweg from Switzerland also shoots flawlessly; He shot clean in every sprint this season. After the standing phase, he had a slight lead over Cisar. In the last lap, however, he fell back to third place. At the finish, he admitted: “I gave everything, but you could see that the track was softer and slower.” He was cheered on by Cisar after standing.
Despite the fact that the eventual winner cheered loudly after the shooting. “Firstly, I cheered Niklas on. We are good friends and it is important to help each other. Secondly, I already knew that I would probably be faster at the finish because the course was slower,” said Cisar, demonstrating real athleticism his actions.
Ekaterina Bekh from Ukraine was in a class of its own in deep snow on the tracks today. Despite a miss and a penalty loop, she won the gold medal. “It was a tough race. I’m even happier to have won the gold medal,” she said proudly after tears of joy were shed at the victory ceremony.
Bekh’s victory was determined relatively quickly. None of her competitors could keep up with the Ukrainian. However, places two and three were highly competitive. Again and again, a new athlete pushed into the medal row during the competition.
In the meantime, it looked as if local hero Anna Gandler would take another medal home after her victory yesterday. She shot clean again, which gives her 30/30 in two days. This outstanding shooting performance was enough for fifth place.
Laura Boucaud from France won the silver medal back 21.4 seconds. The bronze medal went to Anastasia Shevchenko from Russia, who was 33.5 seconds behind the IBU Junior World Championships in Lenzerheide and performed best. Both women shot clean.
There was tension until the end of the race for the small Crystal Globe in the IBU Junior Cup Sprint Score for women. In the end, Lisa Maria Spark from Germany narrowly beats Swiss Amy Baserga. Spark finished 22nd today after Baserga finished 39th.
Another Swiss athlete, however, won a small crystal ball under a blue sky. Niklas Hartweg won with 248 points ahead of Guillaume Desmus (160 points). He was among the top ten in every IBU Junior Cup Sprint season without missing a single shot.