OSLO, Nor.—Canada’s top biathletes celebrated a historic day despite not landing on the podium with all five athletes qualifying for Saturday’s pursuit race after finishing Thursday’s sprint in the top-30 for the first time in the history of the program.
Brendan Green, of Hay River, N.W.T, and Megan Imrie, of Falcon Lake, Man., led the way each posting career-best results.
The 25-year-old Green, whose previous best finishes was 14th in both individual and sprint events, shot clean to crack the top-10 with a ninth-place time of 26:11.8 in the men’s 10-kilometre sprint competition.
“The racing went really today. We had a perfect winter day in Oslo, and conditions stayed consistent throughout the race,” said Green. “It’s always a great feeling to shoot clean, and when it comes with a personal best result it makes it evenbetter. I’m happy with today, but I know there is still work to be done and improvements that can be made.”
Russia’s Evgeniy Garanichev won the men’s gold with a time of 25:22.2. Germany’s Arnd Peiffer was second at 25:22.9, while Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen claimed the bronze medal at 25:34.0.
Imrie, also 25, who has been steadily climbing her way up the international biathlon standings this year, enjoyed a perfect day in her two trips to the range posted a 17th-place time of 22:28.8 in the women’s 7.5-kilometre pursuit.
“I was a little sick last week so I knew my skiing wouldn’t be as strong as I’d like so I focused solely on the shooting process, taking each shot one breadth at atime,” said the 2010 Olympian, whose previous best was 20th. “It was cold today but like a good Manitoba girl I employed every hand warming strategy in thebook. The targets just wanted to fall today and I hit them all.”
Germany’s Magdalena Neuner sprinted to the gold in the women’s competition with a time of 20:41.9. Darya Domracheva, of Belarus, clocked a silver-medal time of 21:20.1, while Norway’s Tora Berger rounded out the women’s podium in third at 21:30.8.
It was stellar day for the entire Canadian squad with all five athletes placing in the top-30 for the first time in the history of the sport, qualifying each of them for Saturday’s pursuit competition.
Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, of Shannon, Que., finished 20th (26:36.3), while Regina’s Scott Perras placed 27th (26:51.8) in the men’s sprint. Two-time Olympian, Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., finished 25th in women’s racing after posting a time of 22:52.3.
“It is clear our team flicked their performance ‘on’ switch for this final weekend before heading home,” said Imrie, who added the hot Norwegian waffles fueled the Canadian squad’s success. “We are happy with the direction we’re heading. Watch out Saturday, it is about to get Canadian.”
Pursuit competitions are set for Saturday in Oslo, Norway.
Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country and oversees the Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held inCanada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Millennium Geomatics Ltd., Apogée Sports, Kama, Auclair Gloves, Lapua, USANA, and Adidas Eyewear – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own thePodium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.
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