Canadian biathletes Emma Lunder and Christian Gow started the BMW IBU World Cup season with a bang.
Both cracked the top-20 in their respective individual races Saturday in Koniolahti, Finland.
Lunder finished 13th out of 102 racers in the women’s 15-kilometre individual event. The 29-year-old from Vernon shot 18-for-20 in her four trips to the range (two prone bouts, two standing bouts) and ended up 2:35.1 behind the winning 44-minute pace of Italian Dorothea Wierer.
Wierer shot clean and won by just eight-tenths of second over second-place Denise Hermann of Germany, who had one miss. Bronze medalist Johanna Skottheim of Sweden also went without a miss and was 24.1 seconds behind Wierer.
Sarah Beaudry of Prince George struggled with her prone shooting range and placed 70th (1+0+3+0, +6:33.1). In other Canadian results, Megan Bankes of Canmore was 76th (+6:50.6) and Nadia Moser of Whitehorse finished 80th (+7:14.5).
In the men’s 20 km race, Norwegians Sturla Holm Laegreid and Johannes Thingnes Boe captured the top two podium positions. Laegreid won gold in 48:57.0, hitting all 20 targets. He was 19.6 seconds ahead of Bow, who had one miss. Erik Lesser of Germany (+1:03.6, no misses) claimed bronze.
The 27-year-old Gow, of Canmore, went 20-for-20 on the range and was 2:57.0 off the winning pace. His brother Scott placed 65th (+6:44.0), Adam Runnalls of Calgary was 93rd (+11:08.8) and Aidan Millar of Canmore was 98th (+11:48.2).The race drew 100 starters.
The sprints are scheduled for Sunday. In the women’s 7.5 km event, Lunder will start 27th, Beaudry will be 66th out of the gate, followed by Bankes (77th) and Moser (86th). In the men’s 10 km sprint, Christian Gow drew the 21st start position, followed by Scott Gow (39th), Jules Brunotte of Sherbrooke, Que (58th) and Runnalls (92nd).