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Russian double, but hometown hero delights biathlon crowd

A triumphant Sivert Guttorm Bakken waved a Norwegian flag as he crossed the finish line in front of a roaring crowd at Birkebeineren Biathlon Stadium on Monday, to win the men’s 10km pursuit at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

“There was a friend at the corner, I got it from them. It was perfect [to finish with the flag],” he said.

The Lillehammer-born biathlete, who skied in 28 minutes 10.7 seconds with one fault at each of the four shooting sections, could count on family and friends to support him at every lap. “They were just backing me and it felt really good to have them here,” he said.

“I felt very, very good on the track and focused on the shooting range. In the last half of the race I felt really confident. I had full control. I just thought ‘if I do my best, it’s good enough [to win]’.”

Lillehammer's own Sivert Guttorm Bakken on his way to victory in the men's 10km pursuit. Photo: YIS / IOC Al Tielemans

The Norwegian had come second in the men’s 7.5km sprint on Sunday and added: “I was satisfied with the silver [on Sunday]. I didn’t expect that, but now with the gold it’s unbelievable.”

Russian pair Egor Tutmin, who took silver in 29:21.4, and Said Karimulla Khalili, who won bronze in in 29:28.4 seconds and four penalties, were delighted to share the podium.

“We’ve known each other for a pretty long time and it was very comfortable for me to perform with him,” Tutmin, who improved from his bronze medal in the men’s 7.5km sprint on Sunday, said. “The race was pretty good and I enjoyed what happened. Everything is so pumped up here, so we have a lot of adrenaline when performing.”

Khalili, who described Russia’s second and third places as a “perfect result”, said competing with his teammate supported him. “Of course it’s officially an individual race, but when I saw Egor in front of me I was very happy for him,” said the 17-year-old. “It was good to feel the shoulder of my teammate somewhere nearby, and I’m very happy that he got the second place and I got the third place.”


Emma Lupano is a reporter for the Lillehammer Youth Information Service ‘YIS’. Milan-based Emma has worked at the last five Olympic Games and also covered the Innsbruck 2012 and Nanjing 2014 YOGs. A China specialist, she has worked as a freelance journalist from Beijing for four years.

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