By Michael Pavitt

Russia continued their imperious form in Slovakia at the Winter Universiade ©FISUThe fourth day of competition at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Slovakia saw four medal events take place and Russia continued their domination by winning 10 of the 12 medals up for grabs.

Following a clean sweep in the men's sprint event yesterday, Russia's men once again came to the fore, this time in the 12.5 kilometres pursuit competition, which saw the biathletes heading off at separate intervals as a result of their ranking in qualification.

Yaroslav Ivanov, who won yesterday's sprint event, was out in front at the start of the pursuit race but was being pressured by his team mates Maksim Burtasov and Yuri Shopin, and on the final round of shots the pressure told on Ivanov as he missed the target.

Yuri Shopin was well placed to take advantage of the error and captured the gold in a time of 30min 25.5sec, 1.5 seconds ahead of Ivanov, while Burtasov ensured that another Russian clean sweep was completed, rounding off the top three.

The home crowd in Orsblie would have been hoping that the symmetry to yesterday's biathlon events would continue in the women's 10km pursuit, with local biathlete Paulina Fialkova bidding for a second gold medal in consecutive days.

Unfortunately for the Slovakian contingent, Fialkova got off to a sticky start as she received two penalties in her first shooting session, allowing yesterday's silver medallist Evgeniia Pavlova to turn the tables on Fialkova, taking the gold by 30min 45.1sec.

Fialkova was able to claim second in 31:23.3, while there was further biathlon success for Russia as Kristina Smirnova took bronze in 32:30.9.

Paulina Fialkova (left) has won gold and silver medals in consecutive days for the host nation ©FISUPaulina Fialkova (left) has won gold and silver medals in consecutive days for the host nation ©FISU

The Slovakian venues hosting the Nordic and Biathlon events of the 2015 Winter Universiade have become accustom to the Russian team standing on top of podium and, like Orsblie, Štrbské Pleso saw the nation claim double gold.

Oxana Usatova won the women's 5km classic style ahead of Kazakhstan's Anastassiya Slovona, who had won the sprint event three days ago, with Lilia Vasilevea adding to a dominant Russian lead in the medals table with bronze.

In fact Russia have earned 27 medals, including eight gold, already at the Winter Universiade, aided by a further clean sweep in the men's 10km classic event, with Andrey Feller taking gold, followed by compatriots Artem Nikolaev and Valeriy Gontar.

Their nearest rivals in the medals table are Kazakhstan who have three medals, including two golds and with four days left of the events in Slovakia the margin could be extended with more biathlon, cross country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping events to take place.

Attention will turn to Granada from February 4, as the Spanish city will stage Alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating and snowboarding events.

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