February 10, 2013 ( Nove Mesto, CZE) – Norway’s Tora Berger kept believing despite three crucial early penalties, and delivered clean shooting in the clutch final standing stage on the range to claim gold in the women’s 1okm pursuit. Poland’s Krystyna Palka took home the silver as she also persevered to celebrate her career-first podium and inaugural World Championship medal. Yesterday’s sprint winner, Olena Pidhrushna (UKR) added bronze to her resume.
Russia’s Olga Zaitseva, who took 4th, looked like she was destined for the gold but faltered with a penalty on the final standing stage that opened the door for Berger’s clean shooting.
Leading the three North Americans that competed was Megan Heinicke from Prince George, B.C., the lone Canadian to qualify within the top-60 women to finish 44th (2+1+0+0) with three penalties. US Biathlon’s Susan Dunklee finished 47th suffering five penalties (1+1+2+1) while her teammate Annelies Cook from Saranac Lake, NY finished 51st also with five penalties (2+0+1+2).
Berger and Pidhrushna were early leaders shooting clean at the first prone stage with Zaitseva close behind shooting clean as well along with Palka. Berger’s catch game began with her miss on the second prone stage as Pidhrushna cleaned and took over the pole position.
Then Pidhrushna faltered under pressure suffering two penalities in the first standing stage as did Berger, but Zaitseva only missed one target and took over the lead with Palka also suffering only one penalty to slot into second. Behind Berger’s Norwegian teammate Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland had moved up well.
Berger chased with Pidhrushna and her strong skiing stood her well as she clawed back time coming into the final standing stage where Zaitseva stumbled with a miss as did Palka allowing Berger the opportunity to rebound if she shot clean – and she did.
Suddenly she was back in the driver’s seat and would not be caught but behind the chase for silver and bronze saw Pidhrushna who shot clean being chased down and passed by Zaitseva with Palka in the mix. Flatland who also shot clean was now in striking distance as well.
As Berger headed towards the finish suddenly Palka was in second as it appeared Zaitseva and Flatland got tangled up allowing Pidhrushna to take over third. Zaitseva recovered and chased in vein as Berger won gold and Palka scored her first podium and IBU Worlds medal.
Full results HERE.