PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — American biathlete Sean Doherty suffered four penalties, but went on to win the 7.5-kilometer youth sprint race during the International Biathlon Union Youth/Junior World Championships Friday at the Nordic Heritage Center.
Doherty turned in a strong skiing effort to overcome problems on the shooting range, edging Germany’s Marco Gross, who had two penalties and finished 1.7 seconds back. Dmitri Shamaev of Russia finished third, with three penalties and 18.9 seconds back.
Biathlon combines cross-country skiing with target shooting. The youth division is for competitors ages 13-17.
“I was worried after prone today, but the shots were just not falling. But I had super skis thanks to our wax techs and felt great on the tracks … I have no words to describe how it feels to win a gold medal in a championship on home soil,” Doherty told biathlonworld.com.
In the morning competition, Lisa Vittozzi of Italy claimed the gold medal in the 6K sprint as she incurred only one penalty and finished in 18:49.9.
Germany’s Anna Weidel finished second with one penalty and 13 seconds back while Julia Simon of France placed third, also with only one penalty and 18.4 seconds back.
It was Vittozzi’s first world championship title.
“I prepared well for this competition and hoped for a top place, but never expected to be world champion. On the final uphill, I started to think this might be a very good day for me, so I gave everything I had,” she told biathlonworld.com.
The championships resume Saturday with sprint junior races, women at 10 a.m. and men at 12:30 p.m.