Biathlon

Markéta Davidová takes surprise women's individual gold at Worlds

Czech biathlete goes perfect 20 for 20 on the range to upset Olympic champ Hanna Öberg

By ZK Goh ·

Markéta Davidová clinched a surprise women's 15 km individual gold at the 2021 Biathlon World Championships in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Tuesday (16 February) with a masterful performance on the range.

The Czech was the only biathlete in the top 20 finishers – and one of just two in the race – to shoot a perfect 20 for 20 in her two prone and two standing shoots in a punishing race that included over 550 metres of climbing in relatively warm (2°C) temperatures.

With a penalty of 60 seconds added to the time per missed shot instead of a short penalty lap, shooting accuracy was key, as Davidová proved.

The favourites, including defending champion Dorothea Wierer of Italy (two misses) and Olympic champion Hanna Öberg of Sweden (one miss), skied well but were hampered by their time penalties.

Davidová crossed the finish line in 42 minutes 27.7 seconds, with Öberg's one-minute addition costing her the gold as she crossed in an adjusted time of 42:55.6, 27.9 seconds slower than the Czech.

Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold of Norway took bronze, one minute four seconds behind the winner.

Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser, winner of the pursuit silver medal on Sunday, was forced out of the medals after missing the last two of her 20 shots, having been perfect through her first 18.

Davidová's win makes her just the second Czech winner of this event and first in 18 years. It is her best result in the individual; her previous best was a World Cup bronze in 2018/19 at the same venue.

"It's totally nice, I'm really happy," Davidová said after the race.

"I really don't know, I think I was really lucky today because they were not middle-middle hits.

"I was calm before the (final) shooting but after I hit the 19th shot, I was like 'oh my God, I need to hit the last one'. I was a little bit nervous but I think I pulled the bullet with my mind to hit the target."