Dramatic Pursuit at YOG

16.01.2012, Seefeld / IBU Info TO
Victory for Kaysheva and Homberg
The youth men’s 10K pursuit at the Youth Olympic Winter Games in Seefeld today had a dramatic finish. Canada’s Stuart Harden was the first competitor to cross the finish line, waving his country’s flag. However, a time penalty of two minutes for not running a penalty loop dropped him to seventh place. The Gold medal went to Niklas Homberg of Germany who had four penalties today while finishing in 28:43. Rene Zahkna of Estonia, with four penalties, 9.5 seconds back took another Silver medal to go with his other one from the sprint. Bronze went to the Sprint Gold medalist Fangming Cheng of China with seven penalties, 14.6 seconds back.

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Winning Medal Sinks In

Homberg could hardly believe that what seemed like a Silver medal had turned into Gold. He commented, “At home everyone was cheering for me and they are probably more ecstatic about this than me at this moment. I know from my teammate Franzi Preuss that you don’t realize this right away, it slowly sinks in, probably during the German anthem tonight during the medals ceremony.” About his four penalties, he said, “The pursuit has its very own character; you can climb onto the podium from far back. With this attitude, when you are too motivated, a lot can happen at the shooting range.”

Double Surprised

Zahkna again finished second. He was already surprised about his first medal after the sprint and said, “I am double surprised now about the second Silver. Before the competition I had a strategy but I forgot what it was. I was so excited and nervous.”

Harden Forgets a Penalty

Harden was very unfortunate and disappointed today. He crossed the finish line believing he had won the Gold medal. Then his coach carefully told him that he had not done a penalty loop after missing one target at the last standing stage and would receive a 2-minute time penalty. “You can’t describe the feeling I had then. I went from being the happiest in probably all my life to feeling the worst ever. I had seen that I missed but when I went out of the shooting range I had a blackout. I wanted to get back on the track as quickly as possible because I wanted to win so badly.” However, half an hour after his finish he also displayed some confidence. “When I came here for these races I did not know my competitors or where I stood. Now I know that I can keep up with the best of them.”

Kaysheva, Preuss, Vishnevskaya

Russia’s Uliana Kaysheva won the 7.5K youth women’s pursuit today with flawless shooting in 26.01.3. Second place went to Youth Olympic Sprint champion Franziska Preuss with two penalties, 27.9 seconds back. Bronze went to Galina Vishnevskaya with four penalties, 1:43.1 back.

Kaysheva took the lead which she never relinquished, after the first prone stage when Preuss, who started 28 seconds before the Russian, missed once.

Go Easy, Shoot, Then Run

Kaysheva’s tactic for today played out perfectly. “My plan was to go easy at the beginning, focus on shooting and then run as fast as I could at the end. “ However, she considered her perfect shooting a rare occurrence. “It’s almost like a small miracle; this kind of perfect race.”

Not More Nervous Than in Deutschlandpokal

Preuss was happy with her Silver medal. “I am absolutely happy with Silver and Gold. It was tough today because the tracks are slow.” Although she was the favorite after her victory yesterday, she was not too nervous. “Of course these Youth Olympics are special but you try to tell yourself that this is not the case. I am always a little bit nervous before a competition but today it was not worse than at any Deutschlandpokal competition.”

Training for Kazakh

Vishnevskaya was in third position after the first prone stage and defended this place all the way to the finish despite being threatened several times. At the last standing stage, she missed once, opening the opportunity to Lotten Sjoden of Sweden to pass her. However, the Swede also missed once and finished in fourth position.

Vishnevskaya was relaxed before the competition today. “Of course I hoped the best for today but my coach told me last night that I had accomplished my goal, a medal. He said that today was only training for me during which I would learn a lot.”