Martin Ponsiluoma clinches men's 10 km sprint gold at 2021 biathlon world championships

The Swedish biathlete claims his first career victory in Pokljuka, Slovenia, as he edged out France's Simon Desthieux and Emilien Jacquelin, while Norway fail to make the podium.

By Alessandro Poggi
Picture by Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

After three individual podiums in the IBU World Cup, Martin Ponsiluoma of Sweden has claimed his first career win by taking gold in the men's 10km sprint at the 2021 biathlon world championships in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

It's the first biathlon world title for a Swedish man since Adolf Wiklund at the 1958 championship in Saalfeden, Austria

In this format, each competitor starts in intervals and has to shoot twice, once prone and once standing, for a total of 10 shots. For each miss, there's a penalty loop of 150m.

The 25-year-old Ponsiluoma, who started with bib no. 6, didn't miss a shot and completed the three-lap course in 24:41.1 on Friday (12th February).

"It's hard to believe, it just feels amazing," the Swede told IBU after the race.

Asked if he believed he would win the title after clearing 10 targets out of 10, Ponsiluoma said:

"I knew there were many strong athletes behind me and I was going really hard in the field..."

PyeongChang 2018 mixed relay gold medallist Simon Desthieux of France, who also had a flawless performance at the shooting range, finished just over 11 seconds after the winner to claim silver.

Fellow Frenchman and two-time world champion Emilien Jacquelin missed a shot from prone position and ended in third, almost two seconds off the teammate's pace.

After taking gold in the mixed relay event on Wednesday, pre-race favourite Norway didn't have anyone on the podium.

Johannes Dale finished in fourth, followed by overall World Cup leader Johannes Thingnes Boe, who made two mistakes from prone position.

Sturla Holm Laegreid finished in seventh, over 25 seconds off the pace.

It's the first time in a year that no Norwegian has made the podium in a men's sprint event (2020 world championships in Antholz-Anterselva).

The results will also determine the starting position at Sunday's men's 12.5km pursuit event.