By Michael Pavitt

Winter Universiade action in Slovakia draws to a close on Sunday, following a Closing Ceremony ©FISUThe penultimate day of Winter Universiade action in the Slovakian venues of Štrbstké Pleso and Osrblie saw the Czech Republic and Germany clinch their first gold medals of the competition, while Kazakhstan and the Ukraine also tasted success.

Cross-country skiing saw the first medals of the day awarded and Kazakhstan's Anastassiya Slonova confirmed herself as one of the stars of the 2015 Universiade, finishing the 15 kilometres mass start in 44min 47.1sec, to earn her second gold at Štrbstké Pleso.

Slonova's victory extended her total medals haul at the Universiade to four, with two gold and two silver medals, which would be enough to sit third on the overall medals table and she is now responsible for over half of Kazakhstan's medals tally of seven.

Russia's Svetlana Nikolaeva took the silver medal with a time of 44:55.9, while Poland's Ewelina Marcisz clinched bronze in 45.02.3.

While Slonovia has enjoyed great success in Štrbstké Pleso, Germany's David Welde had experienced the frustration of being denied gold on two occasions by Poland's Adam Cieslar, but he finally took home gold with victory in the Nordic combined team event, alongside compatriots Simon Tobias and Johannes Wasel.

The German team trailed Poland and Japan after the ski jumping round but their superior strength in the cross-country discipline proved to be decisive, finishing the 3x5km race in 42:33.2, ten seconds ahead of the second placed Japanese trio.

Poland were unable to hold onto a medal position, falling from first after the ski jump to fourth, behind the Russian team.

Germany won their first gold of the 2015 Winter Universiade with victory in the Nordic combined team event after Poland had led following the ski jumping ©FISUGermany won their first gold of the 2015 Winter Universiade with victory in the Nordic combined team event after Poland had led following the ski jumping ©FISU

The Slovakian National Biathlon Centre in Osrblie saw its final day of competition as the biathlon events came to a conclusion, starting with a Ukrainian affair, as the 20km individual champion Dmytro Rusinov went head to head with team mate Vitaliy Kilchytskyy in the 15km event.

Kilchytskyy was able to come out on top despite four penalities, taking victory in 43:17.1, 11 seconds clear of his Rusinov, while Russia's Yuri Shopin earned the bronze.

The final event of the Universiade at the venue saw Jitka Landova earn the Czech Republic's first gold medal in the women's 15km event. 

She finished ahead of her compatriot Eva Puskarcikova, while Ukrainians finished third and fourth, Iana Bondar taking bronze and Yuliya Brygynets missing out on a medal position.

Chair of the International Technical Committee for the Winter Universiade, Roger Roth, was full of praise for the Slovakian portion of the Games claiming "everything went perfect, the facilities have been upgraded for the Universiade, the jumping hill now reaches the technical standards of a World Cup even and the cross-country ski trails were also very well prepared."

The final biathlon events took place in Osrblie ©FISUThe final biathlon events took place in Osrblie ©FISU

Roth added: "In Osrblie, on the biathlon venue, we missed a bit of snow at the start which made the tracks quite heavy, but everything was back to normal on the second day with perfect tracks."

"The Slovak organisers had very little time to prepare for the event, but they were helped by the layout of the sites.

"This is the third time I come to Štrbstké Pleso as part of the Winter Universiade and I must say I have never been disappointed, everything has been beautifully prepared.

"We are indebted to our friends of the Slovak University Sports Federation who have reached out and offered us their help with much kindness."

Slovakia had stepped into the co-host the Winter Universiade after it was decided that the hosts Granada, Spain, would have problems staging the Nodric and biathlon events.

Two final medal events will take place in Štrbstké Pleso tomorrow, followed by a Closing Ceremony which will end Slovakia's portion of the event, with Granada taking over hosting responsibilities on February 4 and staging competitions until February 14.

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