Sturla Holm Laegreid wins IBU World Championship Individual gold

Norway’s Sturla Holm Laegreid cleaned the shooting and outskied his biggest rival, Germany’s Arnd Peiffer to win the IBU World Championship 20 km Individual gold medal. He also took the discipline’s globe. The German finished second, 16.9 seconds back, while another Norwegian Johannes Dale claimed the bronze, 40.9 seconds back.

One of the favourites French Quentin Fillon Maillet was one of the fastest on the track, but he missed twice in the prone, just like his compatriot and two-times medallist of this year’s championships, Emilien Jacquelin. The overall leader Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe also collected two penalties but was 0.6 second slower than Fillon Maillet. Dale missed once and that brought him the lowest podium position.

On the other hand, Laegreid and Peiffer knocked down all the targets what gave them enough advantage comparing to the others, so it was them who clashed for the title. However, the German was no match for Laegreid’s powerful skiing and despite amazingly fast last loop, the 33-year-old had to settle down for the silver.

The 23-year-old Norwegian and last season’s World Cup debutant was extremely happy with the title: “It’s hard to believe. It’s something you dream about your whole life. Even though I had such a good season I didn’t expect to be a World Champion. It feels incredible. I just tried to stay focused and deliver five good shots. When I did, I heard I had an advantage, I was extremely happy but also very tired. Out in the last loop I was so tired but I heard I had a gap to Arnd. When I crossed the finish line I saw I was first and I took the time to celebrate.”

10 years older and much more experienced Peiffer was also in a good mood after the race: “I am really satisfied. Individual medal is special, but of course I hope for another one in the relay. The relay is special too because you can celebrate together. Today I am happy I’ve done a good job on the range, because I struggled in sprint and pursuit and shot only 80%. It was not good enough for good results and I was not satisfied with my performance on the range. Today, I just tried to make a good job and I didn’t even think about medals.”

“It means a lot of course to be able to take my first individual medal at World Championships. It’s super big for me. To be able to do this already now it’s an amazing feeling. When I do a good race like today, it means a lot to me. I was very satisfied with my sprint, because even though it wasn’t a medal, I saw I did a very good race both on shooting range and on a track. I knew it was a good race and I knew I am a good biathlete. Today I was really well prepared, had a good tactic in tracks and was also quite calm at the shooting range. I am super proud of a race today. It was a good biathlon race,” Dale commented after his first World Championships podium placement.

Fillon Maillet finished fourth (+1:12.9), Boe fifth (+1:13.5) and Said Karimulla Khalili of RBU completed the top-six (+1.45.3).

MEN, 20 KM INDIVIDUAL

1. Sturla Holm Laegreid NOR49:27.6 (0)
2. Arnd PfeifferGER   +16.9 (0)
3. Johannes DaleNOR   +40.9 (1)