Hawea's Campbell Wright wins gold at biathlon world championships

Mar 12, 2023

From the International Biathlon Union (IBU):

Selina Grotian and Campbell Wright are the new Junior World Champions in the biathlon Sprint - it is Grotian's third gold medal in Shchuchinsk and Wright won New Zealand's first-ever medal in biathlon.

Although she missed two targets at the shooting range, Selina Grotian powered through the tracks in Shchuchinsk to claim gold in the Junior Women 7.5km Sprint at the Youth Junior World Championships.

The 18-year-old German found herself circling the penalty loop once in the prone and the standing shooting but her fast shooting times combined with the fastest track time helped her make up for the missed targets. Despite the extra 300m, Grotian celebrated an overwhelming victory, finishing almost a minute ahead of the rest of the field.

Campbell Wright (centre) celebrates Gold with his fellow competitors

Jeanne Richard added to her medal collection, winning silver today, finishing 52 seconds behind Grotian in second position. The Frenchwoman reclaimed the 5 seconds she lost to Sweden's Sara Andersson in the standing shooting on the final loop. 

Andersson's bronze medal, 54 seconds behind Grotian, is her first of the Youth Junior World Championships, after winding up just outside the podium in the previous three competitions.

On the men's side, 20-year-old Campbell Wright put in a flawless performance at the shooting range and had the fastest time across the tracks. Wright's gold medal is the first ever IBU Medal for an athlete from New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere.

"Honestly, last year I shot very bad on the last shooting and it cost me the race, and I just told myself "Campbell, if you muck up Junior World Champs again..." - yeah, I just didn't wanna muck up cause it's not a nice feeling." (Campbell Wright)

Wright was joined on the podium by Jan Gunka in second place, who also hit all 10 targets. It is the Pole's first medal in Shchuchinsk, adding to his two medals in Obertilliach in 2021.

Maxime Germain's bronze medal comes just after the US Junior men already had a career day coming fourth in the Junior Men Relay. The American missed one target in prone but held off Einar Hedegart to finish on the podium, 46 seconds behind Wright's winning time. Wright will be carrying a comfortable 35-second advantage over Gunka into tomorrow's pursuit which will be the final competition day in Shchuchinsk.

Photo credits: Yevenko/IBU

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