For the second consecutive week Pokljuka is in the spotlight of the junior international biathlon community. Last week it hosted IBU Junior Cup instead of Hochfilzen, and this week it is time for the IBU Junior Open European Championships with around 200 athletes from 32 countries on the startline. On the opening day of the championships French and Bulgarian anthem played in honour of Camille Coupe and Blagoy Todev who were the best in junior individual races.
The first race of the championships on Rudno Polje was junior women individual race. French team was more than satisfied after 12.5 kilometres long race with four shootings. Their young biathletes Camille Coupe and Jeanne Richard finished the race in first and second place. Both were excellent on a shooting range and cleared all targets. Russian Anastasia Grishina who also had a zero in shooting, finished the first competition day in third position.
“I think the words are not enough to describe how happy I am today. It’s my first victory in an international race and to share it with one of my best friends, I couldn’t dream better,” said the newly crowned champion Coupe for the IBU.
In the afternoon, the junior men individual race was on the programme. The final standings were a bit surprising, but the new champion Blagoy Todev from Bulgaria produced a superb race to win the first place and champion title. 20-year-old biathlete missed only one shot, and was at the end almost twenty and a half seconds faster than Italian Nicolo’ Betemps who was second at the end. Gaetan Paturel from France occupied third position.
“I am very happy with this race. This is my first IBU medal and the feelings are very strange, but good. After the last shooting a was a little big angry because I missed the last one. But I am feeling very good,” said Todev, who competed this season in the IBU World Cups in Oestersund, Hochfilzen, Annecy, Oberhof and Ruhpolding.
The best Slovenian result was produced by Kaja Zorč, who was 26th today, with four missed shots. Teja Zadravec was 42nd, Kiara Sterle 59th, Kaja Marič 67th and Zala Repe 64th. In men’s 15 kilometres individual race Matic Repnik won 56th place, Jaša Zidar was 65th, Ruj Grošelj Simić was 73rd, Jaka Kračman 74th and Matic Bradeško 89th. Gašper Ožbolt has been disqualified.
On Thursday, the competition continues with single mixed relay and mixed relay.