Three out of three for Tiril Eckhoff

Tiril Eckhoff stormed over her competitors in women’s pursuit for her third gold at the IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 Pokljuka. Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser claimed the silver (+17.3), while France’s Anais Chevalier-Bouchet finished third (+33.0).

Eckhoff and Chevalier-Bouchet started the race in a similar way, both earning one prone penalty, but clean-shooters Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Franziska Preuss were not far back from the French. Eckhoff was fastest on the track, but another penalty on her account gave Chevalier-Bouchet a hope to fight for the gold.

The 30-year-old Norwegian finished the race impeccably, dropping all the targets in the last shooting and claimed her third World Champion title at Pokljuka. “Today, it was a really cool and fun race. I am very satisfied to get those targets down on the last shooting. The first shooting was tricky because it was a bit windy and then I struggled a little, but in the three other series I was really offensive and I tried to do my best. I got really good feedback in the tracks, I knew I just have to focus on the black targets. I managed it today. I try to take one race at a time and try to do my best, and try to win as many races as I can. That’s my goal,” Eckhoff shared her thoughts about the race.

Hauser jumped on the podium from behind. With one missed shot and extremely powerful skiing in the last part of the race she overtook Chevalier-Bouchet after the last shooting. The 27-year-old Austrian was super happy with the silver: “It is unbelievable. I tried to stay relaxed before the world championships, because a lot of people expected medals from me. We had an excellent start in the mixed relay, so there was less pressure in sprint and pursuit. I did not have a perfect beginning because my first shot was a miss, but I tried to go on and do my work on a shooting range and it worked. In the last shooting I did not expect it anymore to fight for the medals. I thought other girls were already on the track. Coaches and servicemen were screaming you have to fight and I did not know for which place. Then I saw on the screen that I am in third place and I thought now you have to attack and it worked.”

The third-placed Chevalier-Bouchet was also very satisfied with the result: “I am very happy about the bronze medal. When I crossed the finish line I was a bit disappointed because I fight for the gold at all the races. But five minutes after I was very happy, because it is the World Championships medal. I was very focused on myself and my race. I didn’t know the time of the girls behind me. Lisa was too fast for me. I was afraid of Dorothea Wierer, but a coach on the track told me that I have ten seconds advantage. I tried to keep it to the finish line.”

Italy’s Dorothea Wierer ended just off the podium (+45.2), while Preuss (+49.3) and her compatriot Vanessa Hinz (+1:05.1) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

WOMEN, PURSUIT

1. Tiril Eckhoff  NOR30:38.1 (2)
2. Lisa Theresa HauserAUT   +17.3 (1)
3. Anais Chevalier-BouchetFRA   +33.0 (2)