Antholz-Anterselva, Italy – Vermont-native Susan Dunklee shot a perfect 10 for 10 in the Women’s 7.5km Sprint competition Friday earning her the Silver medal at the weekend’s International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Biathlon Championships.
On day two of the Championships, breezy conditions across the shooting range hampered the Women on the shooting range with only four of the race’s 102 starters shooting a clean 10-for-10 in the combined (2) shooting stages (for Biathlon newcomers that’s 5 for 5 in the prone/lying position AND 5 for 5 in the standing position…shooting stages happen after the first and second 2.5km laps of the 7.5km event).
Overall poor shooting by the group left the door open for the 34 year-old Dunklee who was able to capitalize on a perfect shooting performance earning her second place, only +6.8 seconds behind Norwegian Marta Roiseland who turned in a winning Gold medal time of 21:13:1. Lucie Charvatova of the Czech Republic rounded out the top three finishers landing +21.3 seconds behind Roiseland in 3rd place earning her the Bronze medal.
Visibly exhausted after the second shooting stage, Dunklee struggled in the last 2.5km lap dropping from a 12.9 second lead at the 6.1km mark to 3 second with 300 meters to go. Despite a heroic effort the American would relinquish the lead and close out the race +6.8 seconds behind the win.
Dunklee described her struggle on the last loop after the race saying: “I was getting splits the whole last loop. I knew I had a bit of a cushion of time going into it. I lost a lot in the last kilometer, but I gave it everything I had and that’s all I can do. It was a good battle.”
This was Dunklee’s second Silver medal performance at a World Championship previously posting the 2nd place finish at the Women’s 20KM Mass Start in 2017. The Women’s World Championships continue tomorrow with the 15km individual competition.
Alpine Insider Extra…Biathlon for Beginners
I have always found Biathlon to be an exciting winter sport as it combines the athleticism of cross-country skiing with the marksmanship of rifle shooting. The length and types of races vary in both length (sprint to longer distance events) and in form, either individual staggered starts as in a time-trial, or traditional “mass-start” races where all competitors start simultaneously. The races alternate between skiing stages and shooting stages. Shooting stages alternate between a standing position and a lying or “prone” position.
As for the 7.5km individual sprint, the International Biathlon Union describes the Women’s Biathlon Sprint competition as “a 7.5 km time-trial competition with two shooting stages, 1 prone (lying position) and 1 standing. Each missed target results in an (additional) penalty loop of 150m. Competitors start at 30-second intervals and the winner is determined by the fastest time at finish, which means in principle that any start number can be the winner”.
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