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Biathlon silver gives France its eighth medal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-22

Russian Evgeny Ustyugov won the 15km mass start silver at the Vancouver Olympics on Sunday, beating Frenchman Martin Fourcade (pictured), whose silver gives France its fifth biathlon medal and eighth of these Games.

AFP - Evgeny Ustyugov of Russia shot a flawless program and sprinted away from the pack after the final shooting session to win the 15 km mass start gold at the Vancouver Olympics on Sunday.

Ustyugov, a soldier competing in his first Winter Games, cruised across the finish line at the Whistler Olympic Park in 35:35.7, 10.5 seconds ahead of Frenchman Martin Fourcade.

The 21-year-old Fourcade missed two targets in the opening stage and another in the final round to doom his chances of catching Ustyugov.

Pavol Hurajt of Slovakia, who claimed bronze after leading for much of the race, collapsed after crossing the finish line under sunny skies and a packed house on Whistler Mountain.

Ustyugov raised his arms amid cheers as he ended the race, while Fourcade blew kisses to the crowd.

"The beginning was hard," said Fourcade. "I missed two targets in my first prone and I say: ‘Now it’s finished and I can’t go on the podium.’

"But I kept fighting because it was the Olympics. If you say you can’t (go on the podium) everybody looks at you. You have to fight and it got better and better for me. I could see all the other athletes were tired. Today was a tough day."

The 24-year-old Ustyugov, ranked third in the World Cup overall standings, was 13th after the first shooting frame and moved up to seventh after the second.

He stalked the leaders, sitting in fourth place after the third round before moving up to second behind Hurajt when the shooting stages concluded.

Ustyugov found another gear during the race to the finish line, blowing past a badly tiring Hurajt.

World Cup leader Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, winner of two medals in Vancouver, finished 13th in the 30-man field after missing three targets.
 

Date created : 2010-02-21

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