Johannes Thingnes Bø led Norway to victory in the mixed relay ©Getty Images

Johannes Thingnes Bø anchored Norway to a second consecutive mixed relay gold medal as the International Biathlon Union World Championships opened in Antholz-Anterselva.

Bø started the final leg with a 0.3sec advantage over Italian rival Dominik Windisch and extended Norway's lead before crossing in a total time of one hour 2min and 27.7sec.

The Norwegian quartet, which also included Marte Olsbu Røiseland, Tiril Eckhoff and Bø's brother Tarjei, finished 15.6 ahead of the Italian team.

Windisch, Lisa Vittozzi, Dorothea Wierer and Lukas Hofer completed the course in 1:02:43.3 to take silver for the hosts.

The bronze medal was claimed by the Czech Republic's Marketa Davidova, Ondřej Moravec, Eva Kristejn Puskarčíková and Michal Krčmář, who ended the race 30.8 seconds adrift of the victorious Norwegian team.

Johannes Thingnes Bø grew Norway's lead in the final leg to seal victory ©Getty Images
Johannes Thingnes Bø grew Norway's lead in the final leg to seal victory ©Getty Images

The triumph for the Norwegian squad saw them retain the mixed relay title which they won at last year's World Championships in Östersund in Sweden.

It also handed the country a promising start to the Championships, where they are expected to challenge for the majority of medals on offer.

"Of course it is important [to start well]," Bø said.

"It does not say much about other results because if we did not win, we still think we could do a good Championships. 

"It is the best start, of course: a great team effort with the girls and men. 

"We are in shape."

The first individual race of the event in the Italian resort takes place tomorrow, when the women contest the 7.5 kilometres sprint.