By Daniel Etchells

Veronika Vitkova claimed the first individual victory of her World Cup career in Oberhof, Germany ©Getty ImagesCzech Republic's Veronika Vitkova claimed her maiden individual title at an International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup after winning the women's 7.5 kilometres in Oberhof, Germany.

Vitkova, who was part of the Czech team that won the 4x6km relay on Wednesday (December 7), clocked a time of 22min 40 sec with two penalties to finish ahead of Italians Dorothea Wierer and Nicole Gontier by 8.8 and 19.1 seconds respectively.

Gontier was one of only two women in the field to shoot clean, while her compatriot Wierer had a single penalty.

Both held the lead at different points but it was Vitkova, the silver medallist in the mixed relay at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, who prevailed in the end.

"I love the atmosphere here," the 26-year-old told the IBU website. 

"It was my day."

Veronika Vitkova finished ahead of Italians Dorothea Wierer and Nicole Gontier ©Getty ImagesVeronika Vitkova finished ahead of Italians Dorothea Wierer and Nicole Gontier
©Getty Images

Behind the top three were Germany's Franziska Preuss in fourth, 22.5 seconds off the pace with one penalty, and Finland's Mari Laukkanen in fifth, 23.9 seconds behind with two penalties.

Vitkova's teammate Gabriela Soukalová finished in sixth place, 24.8 seconds back with two penalties.

Belarus' Kaisa Makarainen, who leads the overall standings with 443 points, could only manage a 20th place finish.

However, she still has a 109 point advantage over Wierer after nine of 25 events. 

The men's sprint is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

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