Darya Domracheva challenges all leading positions

Belarusian biathlete takes first place in sprint during second stage of Biathlon World Cup, held in Austrian Hochfilzen
By Yegor Glebov

Over a distance of 7.5km, with two sets of shooting, Darya Domracheva boasted a time of 22 minutes 24.7 seconds: ahead of her nearest rival, Kaisa Mдkдrдinen of Finland, by 4.7 seconds. Norwegian Tora Berger took third place.

Ms. Domracheva took her first lap unusually slowly and then made a mistake on her first shoot, leaving the range in disappointing 23rd position, 38 seconds behind the leader, Polish Krystyna Pałka. However, in the second half of the race, she sped up and, after flawless shooting at the second range, took the lead.

Due to adverse weather, some leading skiers were placed later in the start list by their coaches — including the overall World Cup favourite, Norwegian Tora Berger. Naturally, Darya was concerned for her main rival’s performance but she managed to keep her lead, as Ms. Berger made a mistake at the second shooting range and lacked enough speed to rise above third place.

Another two Belarusian athletes reached the top 40: Nadezhda Skardino (+40.2 seconds) who was without a shooting fault, shared 7th place with Slovenian Teja Gregorin, having given the best sprint result of her career. Belarusian Anastasia Duborezova was 36th (with 3 faults and a speed of 1 minute 46.7 seconds). Irina Krivko, 21, took 42nd place; her speed (+ 1 minute 57.2 seconds with no misses) was her best in the sprint to date.

Following the results of two stages of the World Cup, the leader of the Belarusian team, Darya Domracheva, is in second place overall, with only Norwegian Tora Berger ahead.

This season, Ms. Domracheva has taken three World Cup individual medals: silver in the individual 15km and in the 10km pursuit (first stage in Swedish Цstersund); and gold in the 7.5km sprint (second stage in Austrian Hochfilzen). So far, Darya has 244 points, while Ms. Berger has 282; the top three is closed by Russian Olga Vilukhina, with 172 points.

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