December 15, 2013, ANNECY-LE GRAND BORNAND, Fra. (ISN) – One day after punching his Olympic ticket to Sochi, Canada’s Nathan Smith put together the race of his life finishing eighth in a World Cup pursuit in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France.
Feeding off stellar career-best results from the Canadian women earlier this week and the men’s squad throughout the early season, Calgary’s Smith charged eight spots up the leaderboard to post a time 32:41.7 in the men’s 12.5-kilometre pursuit competition.
“I’m very happy with it. Since last year it has been a bit of an uphill battle for me, but going into the winter season, I knew I was doing well enough to get a chance on the World Cup,” said Smith following Saturday’s race. “I was uncertain if I could lay down enough top-30’s in such a short time span to get to the Olympics but I’m happy to have finalized my qualification for the Games.
Athletes start the pursuit time-behind-the-leader of Saturday’s sprint race. Smith matched his career best on the World Cup yesterday with his second 16th place finish this year.
Ready to make his Olympic debut, Smith is no stranger to the international podium. He rattled off three IBU Cup victories in 2012 when the feeder series made a stop to his home training centre in Canmore. He also has a bronze medal from the IBU Cup in Obertilliach, Austria.
“Nathan has 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.”
Norway’s Johannes Thinges Boe missed one shot for a winning time of 31:43.7. Germany’s Erik Lesser shot clean to claim the silver medal at 32:21.2. Russia’s Anton Shipulin placed third at 32:22.8 (0+0+1+0).
Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, of Shannon, Que., finished 33rd despite shooting clean to post a time of 34:02.7, while Regina’s Scott Perras missed five shots on the range and was 48h (35:12.9).
Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., continues to lead the charge for the Canadian women. The 2010 Olympian jumped seven spots in the standings from Saturday’s sprint to finish 19th. Crawford clocked-in at 29:52.9 (2+0+1+0) in the women’s 10-kilometre pursuit. Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., was 33rd at 30:30.6, while Megan Imrie, of Falcon Lake, Man., was 41st at 31:10.1 (0+0+3+1), and Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., was 52nd at 33:38.2 (2+1+2+2).
Valj Semerenko, of Ukraine, won the women’s event with a time of 28:08.4 (1+0+0+0). Russia’s Irina Starykh shot clean to win the silver at 28:09.6, and Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff missed one shot in four rounds of shooting to win the bronze with a time of 28:20.9.
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+1+0+0), 31:43.7; 2. Erik Lesser, GER, (0+0+0+0), 32:21.2; 3. Anton Shipulin, RUS (0+0+1+0), 32:22.8; 4. Carl Johan Bergman, SWE (0+1+0+0), 32:25.4; 5. Benjamin Weger, SUI (1+1+0+0), 32:30.2
8. Nathan Smith, Calgary, (1+0+0+1), 32:41.2; 33. Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, Shannon, Que., (0+0+0+0), 34:02.7; 48. Scott Perras, Regina, (1+1+1+2), 35:12.9.
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:
1. Valj Semerenko, UKR, (1+0+0+0), 28:08.4; 2. Irina Starykh, RUS, (0+0+0+0), 28:09.6; 3. Tiril Eckhoff, NOR, (0+0+1+0), 28:20.9; 4. Gabriela Soukalova, CZE, (0+0+0+1), 28:27.3; 5. Laura Dahlmeier, GER, (0+0+0+0), 28:34.0.
19. Rosanna Crawford, Canmore, Alta., (2+0+1+0), 29:52.9; 33. Megan Heinicke, Prince George, B.C., (1+0+1+0), 30:30.6; 41. Megan Imrie, Falcon Lake, Man., (0+0+3+1), 31:10.1; 52. Zina Kocher, Red Deer, Alta., (2+1+2+2), 33:38.2.