Norway successfully defend the title

Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, Tiril Eckhoff, Ida Lien and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland finished the women’s relay at IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 Pokljuka in 1:10:39.0 to become World Champions for a third time in a row. Germany’s Vanessa Hinz, Janina Hettich, Denise Herrmann, and Franziska Preuss defeated Ukraine, finishing 8.8 seconds behind Norway, while Anastasiya Merkushyna, Yuliia Dzhima, Darya Blashko, and Olena Pidhrushna claimed bronze (+9.2).

Italy’s Lisa Vitozzi started the race strong, she was fast on the track and impeccable at the range. Tandrevold used one spare but she outskied everyone to move on the second place, tagging 16.0 seconds later than Italian.

Eckhoff missed twice in the prone, while France’s Anais Chevalier-Bouchet knocked down all the targets and together with Dzhima followed the Norwegian closely. Belarus’ Dzinara Alimbekava joined them in a hunt for Norway after the second shooting.

At first, Ida Lien kept the gap her teammate earned, with all five leading teams using one spare in the prone. However, she missed twice in the standing while Darya Blashko went 5-for-5 to move to the top. With fast skiing, the 23-year-old Norwegian made up for her shooting, managing to tag Roeiseland with a 9.0-second gap.

The experienced Norwegian needed three spares to clean the prone. On the other hand, Pidhrushna shot clean and was the first to leave the range. She was less successful at the next shooting, using two spares. It was Preuss who moved to the second place with impeccable shooting and rushed after Roeiseland into the last lap, getting Germany back into the medal race.

Roeiseland crossed the finish line as the first one, while the 26-year-old German outsprinted Ukraine in the very finish of the race to claim the silver. The 30-year-old Norwegian was very pleased with the win: “I don’t know what to say. I am so glad that the whole team did such a good job today. We have struggled a bit in the relays this year and to win the most important relay of the season that feels just amazing. I did the same in the prone as in the mixed relay, but now I already have a bit of experience with this, so now I send the extra shot right in the middle.”

Preuss enjoyed their result: “I have told myself it is enough. It felt amazing at the end. This is extremely good for the whole team. The whole week gave a picture of how fierce the top sport can be. Now, it is of course mega cool that we had an amazing day and there is something to celebrate.”

“This medal brings a big relief for me. I train a lot in Pokljuka together with the Slovene national team, so I know the tracks well, but I wasn’t too successful in the individual races at the championships. Morally I have been completely down and I didn’t even want to start the relay. They managed to talk me out of it and it ended well,” Dzhima was all smiles after the race.

Belarus finished fourth (+28.8), Sweden fifth (+47.9), while Poland completed the top-six (+52.1).

WOMEN, 4×6 KM RELAY

1. Norway      1:10:39.0 (0+11) 
2. Germany               + 8.8 (0+5)
3. Ukraine               + 9.2 (0+7)