February 28 - Ukraine's athletes led the field on the fourth day of competition at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing World Championships in Sollefteå, with the nation's skiers securing six medals.
Defending world champion Olena Iurkovska (pictured top) got the Ukrainian gold rush underway by winning the women's sitting 6-kilometre biathlon race in a time of 21min 17.3sec.
With only one missed shot, which resulted in a penalty lap, the five-time Paralympic gold medallist was 43 seconds ahead of silver medallist Anja Wicker from Germany.
"The race went smooth today, except that I missed one shot and I broke one of my poles," Iurkovska said after crossing the finish line.
"Other than that the race was perfect.
"After the first cross-country race I had two days of rest, to relax and gather all my strength and I could feel the power today."
Second-place finisher Wicker missed two of her 10 shots but showed a strong performance on the slope to win her first international medal.
"It is so exciting," the 21-year-old, who will now be a German medal hope for Sochi, said.
"I can't believe it, I am speechless at the moment.
"I think it needs to sink in first.
"I did not expect to win a medal, not in this field.
"But on the course it went really well.
"I am just really happy right now."
The bronze medal went to 22-year-old Marta Zaynullina from Russia, who finished her race with one missed shot in a time of 22:13.2.
Iuliia Batenkova and Oleksandra Kononova added a gold and a bronze to the Ukrainian medal tally in the women's standing 6km biathlon race.
Multiple Paralympic medallist Batenkova clocked an overall time of 18:54.6, missing just one out of 10 shots, to claim what was her second gold medal in as many days at the championships, as she had already won the women's standing long distance race yesterday.
Kononova and Russia's Anna Milenina swapped places on the podium from yesterday's cross-country long distance race, with Milenina this time taking home the silver medal, missing four shots and finishing in a time of 19:35.3, while Kononova missed one shot more than Milenina, and crossed the finish line 16 seconds behind the Ukrainian.
Two more medals came for Ukraine in the men's standing category with Gregorii Vovchinskyi finishing in second and Ihor Reptyukh in third place.
The gold medal in this category went to Canada's Mark Arendz when he missed just one shot and finished 20 seconds ahead of Paralympic medallist and double world champion from 2011, Vovchinskyi.
Reptyukh added a second bronze medal to his personal tally, after already winning bronze in the cross-country skiing long distance race.
The last Ukrainian medal of the day was won by Anatolii Kovalevskyi and his guide Oleksandr Mukshyn, who finished second in the men's visually impaired category with a perfect shooting performance and a time of 22:04.1.
They had to leave the gold medal to Russia's Nikolay Polukhin and his guide Andrey Tokarev, who were unbeatable on the slope today and finished 57 seconds ahead of the Ukrainians.
The bronze medal went to Belarusian Vasilii Shaptsiaboi and his guide Mikhail Lebedzeu when the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic medallist missed just one shot and was only six seconds behind silver medallist Kovalevskyi.
The closest race of the day was the men's sitting 7.5km biathlon event, with Russian Grigory Murygin, one of the youngest athletes at these World Championships at 18, and Japan's Kozo Kubo both putting on perfect performances in the shooting range with no missed shots, as well as on the slope.
In the end, Murygin was just 0.5 seconds ahead of Kubo to win the gold medal, while for Kubo, it was already the second silver medal of these Championships.
Double world champion Roman Petushkov of Russia had to settle for the bronze medal this time, missing two of 10 shots and finishing in a time of 21:46.5.
In the women's visually impaired category, it was once again an all-Russian podium, which has been the pattern all week in Sweden.
This time, Mikhailina Lysova and her guide Alexey Ivanov secured the gold medal when Lysova missed only one shot overall and proved to be unbeatable on the slope, finishing almost one minute ahead of her compatriot Iulia Budaleeva.
"It's a gold medal and I am very happy, even though my last shooting part was not so good," Lysova said.
Looking ahead to her home Games in Sochi in 2014 she added: "My goal will be to win six medals, ideally six gold medals."
Budaleeva also missed one shot, but was not as strong on the slopes, while with six missed shots, Russia's Elena Remizova seemed to have lost all her medal chances, but she put in everything she could on the slope to win the bronze.
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