Who can stop Eckhoff?

On Tuesday, the competitors at the IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 in Pokljuka will face the longest 15-kilometer race with four shootings. According to the achievements in Pokljuka, the first favourite is the reborn 30-year-old Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff, the new World Champion in sprint and pursuit, who also won gold with the Norwegian mixed relay.

Many biathletes, including Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser, who has already won two medals in Pokljuka, see last year’s heroine of Anterselva, another Norwegian Marte Olsbu Roeiseland as a candidate for gold.  The Norwegian however does not have an individual medal at this championships yet.

Along with Hauser, who reached the podium five times in January, the French Anais Chevalier-Bouchet is also extremely prepared. And we must not forget Italian Dorothea Wierer, the defending champion who is capable to reach the top with a good shooting performance. The same goes for the German Franziska Preuss, who is better than most of the competitors on the shooting range. Before the race, she has also tasted some German sausages, which are supposed to give her the strength on the skis. It was the delicious German cuisine that their team wanted to raise the atmosphere a bit with after an unfortunate weekend.

A special feature of the longest discipline is the 1-minute penalty for each missed shot, which can greatly confuse the results. Pokljuka also hides another trap – relatively high altitude, which can greatly affect individuals. This year’s winter proves that the biggest surprises are possible in this discipline. Hauser won the last 15-kilometer race before Pokljuka, followed by Ukraine’s Julia Jima and Bouchet-Chevalier. At the beginning of the season, Wierer took the victory ahead of Germany’s Denise Herrmann and Sweden’s Johanna Skottheim, but we also should not forget the Swede Hanna Oeberg.

Among the 100 competitors, there are certainly a few more names that are capable of surprises, similar to the achievement of the Belarusian Hanna Sola in the sprint. Among them are at least her compatriot Dzinara Alimbekava, Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg and others.

Slovenians will cheer for Polona and Živa Klemenčič, and Lea Einfalt. Especially the latter, is not yet in top form after Covid-19 infection and the coaches of the national team will be happy with every possible point. Carinthian Slovene Dunja Zdovc, who is competing for Austria and is getting closer to the top, has also found quite some fans here.

15 km Individual

Date

Place

Winner

Second

Third

28 November 2020

Kontiolahti

Dorothea Wierer

Denise Herrmann

Johanna Skottheim

21 January 2021

Antholz-Anterselva

Lisa Theresa Hauser

Yuliia Dzhima

Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet

     

World Championships 2020

Antholz-Anterselva

Dorothea Wierer

Vanessa Hinz

Marte Olsbu Røiseland