HOCHFILZEN, Aut.—Canada’s top biathletes opened up the 2017 IBU World Championships with a 13th-place finish in the mixed relay competition on Thursday in Hochfilzen, Austria.
The four-person squad of Julia Ransom, of Kelowna, B.C., Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., Brendan Green, of Hay River, NWT, and Calgary’s Scott Gow joined forces to clock a combined time of 1:11:24.6.
“The race was okay, but as far as team results go, I think we are capable of better,” said Gow, who skied the anchor leg. “Personally I am happy with my performance. My shooting was quite solid and I feel like my skiing was fairly decent.”
The mixed relay consists of each athlete skiing 6 kilometres (women) followed by the men tracking 7.5 kilometres each with two bouts of shooting. Once completing their leg, athletes tag off to the next teammate. Competitors in the relay each carry three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds, the spares may be used, which takes more time because they are loaded by hand.
Ransom skied the opening leg in 18th place before handing off to Crawford who picked up three spots on the field. Green found one more place up the standings as did Gow before crossing the finish line in 13th.
“There’s definitely extra pressure having to race the anchor leg, but in today’s race I was more focused on putting in the best race possible and I’m happy with my execution,” added Gow. “Conditions were quite good. It was very sunny, which softened up the snow, but the track held up quite well and some sections maintained good firmness. The shooting range was good too. There was a little bit of wind, but for the most part, the range was calm.”
The Canucks were one of 25 nations to line up on a near perfect opening day for the most prestigious event on the 2017 race calendar.
Germany won the opening World Championship title with a time of 1:09:06.4. France was second at 1:09:08.6, while Russia secured the bronze medal with a time of 1:09:09.6.
The World Championships continue on Friday with the women’s 7.5-kilometre sprint race.