(ISN) – CANMORE, Alta.—Canada’s Emma Lunder got the day off from serving coffee at the local Starbucks but was still able to delight the hometown crowd’s appetite with a silver medal after having the race of her life as the IBU Cup made its return to the world-famous Canmore Nordic Centre on Saturday afternoon.
With friends and family cheering on the sidelines, the 24 year old gave the hometown faithful something to celebrate while hopping onto the IBU Cup podium for the first time in her career, clocking a second-place time of 19:51.5 in the women’s 7.5-kilometre sprint race.
“To do it in Canmore, with my mom cheering and everyone who has supported me for the last five years while I’ve lived here is amazing,” said an emotional Lunder of her first medal. “I knew I could have a good race, but there is now way I expected this. I’m just so glad I can represent our entire team.”
The third-year member of the national squad, who now calls Canmore home, shot clean en route to her memorable result.
“I’ve never cleaned at an IBU Cup race. As I was leaving the range the final time, I was like woo hoo – I don’t have to do a penalty loop. What a great day. I just skied fast and hit targets. It was an awesome day.”
An athlete who prides herself on getting stronger as the race goes on, Lunder made up 15 seconds on the field in her final loop to secure her first podium.
“That last loop I said to myself ‘You know this course better than any other girl so do whatever you can to make up seconds,” added Lunder. “There was people all over the course cheering my name and it was such an amazing day.”
Germany’s Karoline Horchler shot clean to win the race with a time of 19:46.4. Marine Bolliet, of France, won the bronze with a time of 19:54 (1+0).
Four other Canadian women also suited up. Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., was 19th at 21:41.2 (1+3); Melanie Schultz, of Canmore, Alta., was 27th at 22:28.0 (0+1); Erin Yungblut, of Wroxeter, Ont., placed 29th at 22:36.9 (1+1); and Quebec’s Claude Godbout finished 30th with a time of 22:38.9 (1+1).
The IBU Cup, which is a feeder series to the World Cup with the top biathletes on the globe competing in both circuits, marks the return of major international biathlon competitions to Canada. Since the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, Canada has previously hosted the IBU Cup in 2012, along with the 2009 and 1992 Youth and Junior World Championships as well as World Cups in the 1990’s. Canada will host a World Cup race in 2016.
In the men’s race Marc-Andre Bedard led the Canucks in the 10-kilometre sprint. The Valcartier, Que. resident shot clean to the lead the Canadians with a 21st-place time of 25:57.3. Two other Canadians also cracked the top-25. Local boy, Macx Davies missed one shot in both of his stops at the range to finish 23rd with a time of 26:09.3 (1+1). Regina’s Scott Perras battled his way back from the flu last week to a 25th-place finish with a time of 26:12.1 (0+1).
“I slowly got my way into the race. I just couldn’t red line today or it was over,” said Perras. “I tried to ski smart and get what I could out of it. I just didn’t have the shape I wanted and tried to enjoy the hometown crowd.”
Russia’s Alexey Kornev shot clean to win the gold with a time of 24:41.5. Antonin Guigonnat, of France, clocked-in at 24:42.0 (1+0) to claim the silver medal. Baptiste Jouty, of France, was perfect in shooting en route to winning the bronze medal with a time of 24:45.1.
Matthew Hudec, of North Battleford, Sask., placed 40th at 27:33.8 (0+4), while Matthew Neumann, of Prince George, B.C., was 43d with a time of 28:13.8 (0+4), and Calgary’s Andrew Chisholm skied to 46th with a time of 28:48.7 (1+1).
The IBU Cup continues on Sunday in Canmore with another sprint race.