Darya Domracheva has climbed the medals podium already twice
The current World Cup has proven very special for one of the leaders of the previous season, Belarus’ top biathlete. The absence of German Magdalena Neuner (the main contender who has claimed most world titles in recent years) left Domracheva with a much better chance of success and a true opportunity to seize this year’s Big Crystal Globe. Darya is not concealing her ambitions.
The mixed men’s relay began with the World Cup first stage in Цstersund and ended in a fiasco for Belarus. Vladimir Alenishko, who was in third place by the third round, failed to overcome his nerves on the shooting range and almost deprived his partners of any hope of a worthy place, leaving fans to pin their hopes on the individual events.
None were able to hamper Domracheva, who performed perfectly in the first race: the 15km individual. Despite two misses adding two minutes to her time, she finished just one and a half minutes behind the winner, Norwegian Tora Berger. Russian Yekaterina Glazyrina, who came third, missed none of her targets but was two minutes slower than Domracheva.
Darya faced worsening weather conditions in the sprint, while Berger (her major rival) missed only once to Domracheva’s three misses. It was impossible to catch up an additional 0.5km of penalty laps over just 7.5km, even for the speedy Belarusian, leaving her in a disappointing seventh place.
The Sunday pursuit saw Darya 38 seconds behind Berger, who started first, and it was no easy task to catch up. Unfortunately, a miss at the third shooting range prevented Domracheva from outpacing the Norwegian. Nevertheless, she finished a pleasing second.
After the finish, the Belarusian complained that frosty conditions had prevented her from skiing as quickly as she would have liked but that her absence of gold victories would only spur her on.
“The weather was very icy and my fingers became frozen. Moreover, our service crew had problems with its selection of lubricants. I had no thoughts of outstripping Tora or anyone else, just concentrating on my own race. The season is long so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to battle Berger in coming months.”
The struggle promises to be difficult. After the first stage, Ms. Domracheva is ranked second in the World Cup standings (144 points), behind Tora Berger, who won three races in Цstersund — the individual, spring and pursuit (180 points).
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