Home Victory for Nathan Smith in Canmore

11.02.2012, Canmore / IBU Info TO
Sprint 1 at IBU Cup 6
Nathan Smith celebrated a victory at home in Canmore today by capturing the first sprint at the IBU Cup 6. His time of 26:13.4, with one penalty was enough to keep him ahead of Sergey Klyachin of Russia and Martin Eng of Norway. Clean-shooting Russian Marina Korovina won the women’s 7.5K sprint in 21:04.7, with Germans Carolin Hennecke and Juliane Döll in second and third, 2.5 and 9.1 seconds back, respectively.

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Special Victory

‘It feels really good to win here. I’ve trained here since I started biathlon and it’s really special to get my first victory in an IBU competition here, “Smith stated AT the finish. The shooting star of this IBU Cup season had his first podium appearance in Obertilliach in December, putting him on solid ground on the World Cup and World Championship team for Canada. He made the roughly 500 fans in the stadium cheer gleefully when he started in 11th position, immediately took over the lead and never relinquished it.  He commented, “I knew my skiing is good and that I could make it to the podium if my shooting is good, which it was today.” After he finished, he did not stick around to wait for the end of the competition but went out to ski for cooldown. “I just hoped that no one would pass me while I was skiing,” he said with a grin.

Fast Last Lap

Second place went to Klyachin who won a Bronze medal in the sprint at the IBU Open European Championships last week. He had one prone penalty and saved some energy for the last lap today. He left the stadium after the standing stage in third position but passed Norwegian Martin Eng on the last loop, finishing 5.5 seconds behind Smith.

Norwegian Fans

Eng was happy with his result today. He commented, “The competition today was not good; it was great. Of course, it this weather! I already shot well during the European Championships and could do that again today. But in order to win I would have had to shoot zero. But I really like it here, the weather is nice, the tracks are good and the people are really kind. Plus, there are even some Norwegian fans here for the week, two girls.”

Fourth and fifth place went to the Austrians Friedrich Pinter and Michael Reiter both with two penalties, 33.4 and 33.9 seconds back, respectively. Sixth place went to Alexander Zhirnyy of Russia with one penalty, 34.4 seconds back.

Korovina, Hennecke,Döll

Korovina was visibly exhausted at the finish. She started as one of the last athletes, taking control of the competition immediately, although she lost 7 seconds compared to Hennecke on the last lap. The Russian collapsed at the finish line, lying almost motionless for several minutes after she crossed the finish line. She later explained, “It was very difficult to day, especially the second shooting because I was already tired then and standing shooting is always more difficult.”

Getting Better

Second place went to Hennecke who was faster than Döll today, after it was the other way round in Osrblie at the IBU Open European Championships. She explained, “I was a bit afraid of the competition today because I did not feel well before it. I notice that my skiing gets better and I get better all the time now.”

What else could you wish for?

Döll, beaten by her teammate today, was still happy.  I was really lucky during my prone shooting today because two shots were very close hits. I am happy about the third place, especially in this season without podiums. And the weather here is a dream, not too cold and sunshine, what else could you wish for?” She expressed the feelings of many athletes with this statement today as this could be heard from many people before the competition and at the shooting range today.

Fourth and fifth places went to Russians Irina Trusova and Daria Virolaynen. Both also had perfect shooting results today, 26.2 and 41.6 seconds back, respectively. Sixth place went to Claire Breton of France with two penalties, 56.1 seconds back.

Before today’s competitions, coaches, athletes, volunteers and officials stood in a minute of silence for the IBU Technical Committee member Hubert Leitgeb who was killed in an avalanche last week. In addition, many wore black ribbons for their popular friend and colleague. Leitgeb was also known to many volunteers here in Canmore as he won a World Championship title in the team competition here in 1994.