Nathan Smith Storms into 15th at Biathlon World Championships
Biathlon Canada —Veteran of Canadian squad climbs 31 spots after posting career best ski time, third fastest on the day—
OSLO, Nor.—Fueled on some aggression from a disappointing sprint race on Saturday, Canada’s Nathan Smith stormed his way up the rankings into 15th spot in Sunday’s men’s pursuit competition at the Biathlon World Championships in Oslo, Norway.
Starting time behind the leader in 46th spot as a result of his sprint finish, the 30-year-old Calgarian put the pedal down and never let up, picking off the world’s best one-by-one. After grinding it out for 12.5 kilometres on the famed Holmenkollen track, Smith climbed 31 spots into the top-15. Smith clocked a time of 34:19.7.
“Today was actually a really good race,” said Smith. “I’m super happy with it after the shooting frustration I had yesterday. My physical shape was good enough for a podium yesterday, but four misses set me way back.”
Smith demonstrated that fitness on Sunday where he hammered the pace for the third-fastest ski time on the pursuit course lined with dozens of thousands of passionate Norwegian fans. Smith was much sharper with the rifle in the pursuit, knocking down 18 of 20 targets – missing just one in his second prone and in his first standing.
“Today I focused on slowing things down just slightly in the range and being more careful,” added Smith, who is known to be one of the quickest shooters on the international circuit. “I think it paid off well. The conditions were difficult at times.”
The light breeze and dusting of snow could not get in the way of Canadian Olympian’s quest to put down a career-best pursuit result.
“My pursuit time was fourth overall so I know that a medal is definitely still possible this World Championships. I’ll take tomorrow to rest a little, and then prepare for the individual.”
Martin Fourcade, of France, won his third gold medal of the week with a time of 32:56.5 (0+0+1+2). Fourcade was joined by two Norwegians on the podium. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was second at 33:16.6 (1+0+0+1), while Emil Hegle Svendsen missed just one shot in his final round of standing to secure the bronze medal with a time of 33:27.7.
One year ago Smith became the first Canadian male ever to win a medal at the Biathlon World Championships when he celebrated the silver in the sprint race.
Brendan Green, of Hay River, N.W.T., finished just outside the top-30 in 33rd with a time of 35:29.4 (1+1+1+0). Calgary’s Scott Gow was 49th at 37:26.6 (0+3+1+2). Macx Davies, of Canmore, Alta., rounded out the Canadian contingent in 53rd with a time of 38:23.3 (1+0+1+2).
Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., was the top Canadian in the women’s 10-kilometre pursuit. Crawford placed 27th at 34:04.1 (1+0+1+2).
Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier cleaned her shooting to win the women’s race with a time of 30:49.2. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer was second at 31:37.5 (0+1+1+0). Marie Dorin Habert, of France, struggled in her standing shooting missing three, but held on for the bronze medal with a time of 31:46.5.
Julia Ransom, of Kelowna, B.C., climbed eight spots in the standings into 42nd with a time of 35:27.4. Ransom also missed two targets in her first round of standing shots and then one more in her final standing.
The Biathlon World Championships continue on Wednesday with the women’s 15-kilometre individual competition.
Complete Men’s Pursuit Results: http://bit.ly/1p0RIbM
Complete Women’s Pursuit Results: http://bit.ly/1p0RIbM
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