Norway’s Marte Olsbu Røiseland won the women’s 7.5 kilometre sprint today to kick start the International Biathlon Union World Cup meeting, the first major event in the sport to take place there since the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
In the first of six races to be held over the next four days the 28-year-old Olympic silver medallist shot clean and then sped over the last 2.5km loop to win in 19min 47.5sec.
Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen finished second, 11.5 seconds behind, while Germany’s Franziska Hildebrand came third, 21.4 seconds behind the Norwegian to gain her first podium of the season.
"I really felt the height here, so I wanted to open slowly and have power at the end," Røiseland said.
"I think that was the right thing to do.
"Of course I was happy to hit all of the targets.
"It was a tough race."
It's been a tough sprint in high altitude -- tomorrow we'll be back with the men's sprint but for now enjoy some of the best pictures of the women's comeptition today! #SOHO19 💪— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) February 14, 2019
You can rewatch the women's sprint on https://t.co/bk5aBBso9Q pic.twitter.com/3g6yVpDs02
On an overcast day with light winds at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Centre the big names all went out in the first group, with Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kumina, who eventually finished fifth, reaching the prone stage first.
Makarainen came in second, followed by Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi who currently sits second in the overall World Cup rankings.
Despite her fast start however, she ended up 12th.
Røiseland reached the standing phase in the lead group and shot clean for the second time to put her in a strong position for the win.
Following that, a very strong last loop saw Røiseland almost double her lead to seal victory.
Tomorrow the World Cup is due to continue with the men’s 10km sprint race, in which another Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Bø, will look to top the podium.