Russia claimed victory in the inaugural single mixed relay race at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, while Norway earned a narrow 2x6 + 2x7.5 kilometres relay win.
On the opening day of the seventh World Cup competition of the season, the duo of Yana Romanova and Alexey Volkov took the first-ever single mixed relay honours as they finished in a time of 35min 43.5secs.
Russia did not have it all their own way though as Volkov had to wait until the final standing stage to take the lead as he shot clean before he crossed the line 21.5 seconds ahead of nearest challengers Norway.
Ukraine rounded off the podium as they came third, while Germany were fourth and France claimed fifth.
"I always dreamed about taking part in this type of the mixed relay since I saw the test event last season in Oslo," Russia's Romanova said.
"I like it very much and like the short distance where everything depends on shooting."
In front of a bumper crowd, Russia looked in fine form from the outset as they raced into an early advantage, but the German men stormed back to wrestle back the lead.
Erik Lesser looked to have seized control of the race as Germany stretched the gap on their competitors to 21 seconds, but he struggled under the pressure and Volkov remained calm oin the final standing stage to give his country a dramatic win.
In the 2x6 + 2.7.5km race, the quartet of Fanny Welle-Strand Horn, Tiril Eckhoff, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Tarjei Boe clinched victory for Norway just 4.1 seconds in front of the Czech Republic.
The partisan home crowd were left disappointed as their team could not quite oust the imperious Norwegians, who sealed the win in a time of 1:12:49.2.
Ukraine claimed their second third-placed finish of the day and Russia took fourth.
After a tense race, Tarjei Boe demonstrated his composure as he shot quickly to seal a late victory by dropping all five targets in rapid style.
"Moravec is one of the fastest standing shooters, so today I wanted to show Moravec that I am the fastest," he said.
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