A day off proved to be the perfect tonic for Alena Mokhova (RUS) as she won the women’s 6km sprint and cemented herself as queen of biathlon at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
She won the event in 18 minutes, 55.5 seconds followed by compatriot Anastasiia Zenova with Anna Andexer (AUT) taking bronze.
Mohkova’s victory follows the 10km individual event she won on Saturday at the Les Tuffes Nordic Centre.
But the euphoria from that win did not aid the Russian’s efforts in the single mixed relay the following day. Mohkova did not get to bed until the small hours before the event on Sunday and although she and men’s individual champion Oleg Domichek (RUS) started as favourites, they finished seventh.
With a day off before the sprint event on Tuesday, Mokhova was able to collect herself in time.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t do well in the single mixed relay and yesterday I wondered if the same would happen during the sprint,” said Mokhova. “But I woke up today feeling better and became more relaxed.”
Still, redemption did not come easily for Mohkova, who pushed herself so hard she felt faint after the finish and needed help staying on her feet.
“Everything went well but during the last lap I felt really unwell. It felt like I was going to black out in the final metres, I was nauseous and had a headache after I finished.”
In teammate Zenova’s case, a bit of defiance paid off in the form of silver, a marked improvement from a 38th place in the individual event.
“I think I went out faster than I should have at the beginning. My coach told me to slow down after the first round of shooting, but I went fast,” she said.
“I think it was the right decision, because I might not have won a medal otherwise, but I didn’t have any energy towards the last 300m.”
Like the Russians, Austria’s Andexer posted a clean round in the prone position and had one missed target in the standing position. She too endured a gruelling third and final lap.
“The third lap was very hard, but I shot better today than on Saturday [in the individual, when she was 19th]. I can’t believe that I’m on the podium, it’s just perfect,” she said.
The biathlon competition concludes on Wednesday with the mixed relay event.