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Shipulin Right on Target
Russia’s Anton Shipulin hit all the ten targets and was something of a stunner in men’s 10K sprint competition in Biathlon World cup Event in Kontiolahti. He finished the race at 23:51.6 minutes and beat Latvia’s Andrejs Rastorgujevs by 5.8 seconds. Third was France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet, 17.3 seconds behind Shipulin. Both Rastorgujevs and Fillon Maillet had a clean shooting.
The sprint was supposed to be a two-man race between France’s Martin Fourcade and Norway’s Johannes Bö, and Shipulin was considered to be ready to challenge them. Fourcade withdrew from the race, and Bö lost his chances when he missed two shots from the standing position. He missed the third place and the podium by 1.7 seconds.
– I felt very good on the track, and today my speed and my shooting were enough to win. I’m very happy about this, Shipulin said after his first win of the season.
There were a lot of Russian fans following the race, and Shipulin felt he couldn’t disappoint them since they had travelled thousands of kilometres to see him compete. He wanted to do well for them, and it was very easy to do, because the fans gave him a lot of energy.
Shipulin was asked, Thursday being the International Women’s Day, if there are any women who have inspired him at some point in his career.
– Indeed, it is an international holiday, and I’d like to congratulate all women. My wife inspires and supports me, my parents and of course my sister, who came here two days ago. I saved my flowers, because I’m going to give them to her, the happy winner said.
Rastorgujevs was exited to be on the podium, not only for himself, but for his team too. Actually, he had a shot to win the race, but he might have lost it when he dropped his glasses on the shooting range after the second shooting.
As for Fillon Maillet, he was very happy with his shooting. When asked if it was stressful to wait for Bö at the finish line and see if he would take his place on the podium, he admitted it sure was.
– It was stressful for me, but less stress than before the start, he laughed.
Before the race Fourcade had asked the other members of the French team to compete hard and aim for the podium. That’s exactly what Fillon Maillet did.
An audience of 2,500 enjoyed the atmosphere of the first race, and the crowd is expected to be even larger on Friday, when the women have their 7,5K sprint competition.
Text: Varpu Sihvonen
Photo: Piia Kinnunen