Nathan Smith Sprints to 15th in Return to Biathlon World Cup
Biathlon Canada —Four Canadians earn spots in Saturday’s pursuit race —
RUHPOLDING, Ger.—Nathan Smith kicked off the New Year with a solid 15th place finish in a World Cup biathlon sprint competition in Ruhpoliding, Germany on Friday.
Hitting the start line for the first time since the holiday break, the 30-year-old Calgarian was in medal contention until his final trip to the range where he missed two shots standing under ideal race conditions. The costly misses dropped Smith back into 15th with a time of 22:57.4 on the 10-kilometre sprint course.
“I started off really strong with a clean prone, which put me in second spot going into my standing. I knew I was in medal contention and I let those thoughts become a distraction,” said Smith, who posted the seventh fastest course time. “My skiing was good enough for a medal today, but 10/10 (shooting) is a requirement when conditions are perfect.”
The Norwegians capitalized on the perfect day for skiing and shooting to sweep the men’s podium. Johannes Thingnes Boe skied to the first World Cup victory of 2016 with a time of 21:57.5. Tarjei Boe was second at 22:00.5, while Emil Hegle Svendsen completed the medal sweep for Norway in third place at 22:05.1.
Calgary’s Christian Gow also took advantage of the conditions to post one of his best World Cup results, placing 34th with a time of 23:29.5. The older Gow brother, Scott, was 47th at 23:45.6 (1+1). Macx Davies, of Canmore, Alta., also missed one shot in each of his two bouts on the range to finish 55th at 23:51.0. Competing in his first World Cup of the season, Regina’s Scott Perras finished 72nd with a time of 24:25.0 (2+0).
With the leader of the Canadian women’s team, Rosanna Crawford, ill and forced to sit out, 22-year-old rookie, Julia Ransom, finished as the top Canuck in 49th place to secure a spot in Saturday’s pursuit race. Ransom, of Kelowna, B.C., was clean in prone, but missed two shots in her final standing to place 49th at 21:48.6 in the women’s 7.5-kilometre sprint.
Sarah Beaudry, of Prince George, B.C., was 55th at 22:09.5 (0+1), while Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., finished 76th with a time of 22:57.2 (1+3).
Germany’s Franziska Hildebrand shot clean to win the gold medal at 19:46.5 in a photo finish over Gabriela Soukalova, of Czech Republic. Soukalova was also perfect in shooting en route to winning the silver medal at 19:46.8, Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen settled for the bronze with a time of 19:48.8 (0+0).
The biathlon World Cup continues Saturday in Germany with the pursuit races.
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Top-Five Men and Canadian Results:
1. Johannes Thingnes Boe, NOR, (0+0), 21:57.5; 2. Tarjei Boe, NOR, (0+0), 22:00.5; 3. Emil Hegle Svendsen, NOR, (0+0), 22:05.1; 4. Martin Fourcade, FRA, (1+0), 22:08.4; 5. Sven Grossegger, AUT, (0+0), 22:21.9
15. Nathan Smith, Calgary, (0+2), 22:57.4; 34. Christian Gow, Calgary, (0+0), 23:29.5; 47. Scott Gow, Calgary, (1+1), 23:45.6; 55. Macx Davies, Canmore, Alta., (1+1), 23:51.0; 72. Scott Perras, Regina, (2+0), 24:25.0
Top-Five Women and Canadian Results:
1. Franziska Hildebrand, GER, (0+0), 19:46.5; 2. Gabriela Soukalova, CZE, (0+0), 19:46.8; 3. Kaisa Makarainen, FIN, (0+0), 19:48.8; 4. Laura Dahlmeier, GER, (1+0), 19:49.3; 5. Olga Podchufarova, RUS, (0+0), 20:08.8
49. Julia Ransom, Kelowna, B.C., (0+2), 21:48.6; 55. Sarah Beaudry, Prince George, B.C., (1+0), 22:09.5; 76. ZIna Kocher, Red Deer, Alta., (1+3), 22:57.2
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