December 14, 2013, ANNECY-LE GRAND BORNAND, Fra. (ISN) – Nathan Smith is the latest Canadian biathlete to secure his ticket to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi after a 16th-place finish at World Cup in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Calgarian matched his career best set earlier this year after missing just one shot in his two rounds of shooting in in the men’s 10-kilometre sprint competition. Smith posted a time of 23:15.1.
“This is a huge relief as this result was pretty last minute,'” said Smith, whow without a top-30 result this weekend would have had to race the domestic trial races back in Canmore next week. “Today was the best ski time I’ve had yet at World Cup level, and a solid 9/10 in shooting. Unfortunately my shooting speed was a lot slower than normal. I really had to slow things down and fight for every shot. Thankfully my skiing made up for this so in the end it was still an excellent result that I’m very happy about.”
It was the second 16th place result for Smith this year.
“Nathan showed tremendous focus this training season. He was not happy with the results from last season and he channeled that emotion into performance,” said Chris Lindsay, high-performance director, Biathon Canada. “He is meticulous, constantly challenging himself, and resolute in his desire to play the game at the highest level possible.”
Regina’s Scott Perass was solid in 31st spot at 23:34.7 (0+1), while Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, of Shannon, Que., placed 49th (0+2) with a time of 24:09.8.
Norway’s Johannes Thinges Boe shot clean to win the gold at 22:06.7. Ondrej Moravec, of the Czech Republic, was also clean on the range en route to a silver medal winning time of 22:39.6. Martin Fourcade, of France, missed just one shot and skied to the bronze with a time of 22:43.8.
Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., was the top Canadian woman in 26th (21:52.5) (1+0) in the women’s 7.5-kilometre sprint event. Megan Imrie, of Falcon Lake, Man., place 40h at 22:17.8 (1+1), while Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., tied for 45h place with a time of 22:26.4 (1+2), and Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., settled for 50h at 22:32.6 (1+2).
Switzerland’s Selina Gasparin shot clean to win the women’s gold with a time of 20:51.5. Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen won the silver medal at 2:59.7 despite missing one shot. Valj Semerenko, of the Ukraine, also missed one shot but hung on for the bronze medal with a time of 21:02.9.
The final World Cup before the holiday break takes place on Sunday in France.
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 in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Millennium Geomatics Ltd., Apogée Sports, Kama, Roeckl Sports, Lapua, USANA, Nordic Marksman Inc, and Adidas Eyewear – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, 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.
Complete Results: http://services.biathlonresults.com/DataCenter_IBU.aspx
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results
1. Johannes Thinges Boe, NOR, (0+0), 22:06.7; 2. Ondrej Moravec, CZE, (0+0), 22:39.6; 3. Martin Fourcade, FRA, (0+1), 22:43.8; 4. Dmitry Malyshko, RUS, (0+0), 22:46.4; 5. Simon Schempp, GER, (0+0), 22:47.3
16. Nathan Smith, Calgary, (0+1), 23:15.1; 31. Scott Perras, Regina, (1+0), 23:34.7; 49. Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, Shannon, Que., (0+2), 24:09.8
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:
1. Selina Gasparin, SUI, (0+0), 20:51.4; 2. 2. Kaisa Makarainen, FIN, (0+1), 20:59.7; 3. Valj Semerenko, UKR, (0+1), 21:02.9; 4. Gabriela Soukalova, CZE, (0+1), 21:046.; 5. Olga Vilukhina, RUS, (0+0), 21:10.7
26. Rosanna Crawford, Canmore, Alta., (1+0), 21:52.5; 40, Megan Imrie, Falcon Lake, Man., (1+1), 22:17.8; T45. Zina Kocher, Red Deer, Alta., (1+2), 22:26.4; 50. Megan Heinicke, Prince George, B.C., (1+2), 22:32.6