France's Coline Varcin powered to her maiden career victory after she won the women's 7.5 kilometres sprint event at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Open European Championships in Otepää, Estonia.
Varcin, who was 17th in the 15km competition on Thursday (January 29), finished in a time of 20mins 26.4secs which proved enough to beat nearest challenger Weronika Nowakowska-Ziemniak of Poland by 9.7 seconds, while Russia's Ekaterina Shumilova claimed third.
"I'm really happy right now, it's my first win as a senior and I even didn't expect that I could be on the podium," Varcin said.
"I wasn't happy with so many mistakes I had in individual competition; I'm glad I could shoot clean today."
The surprise victory for Varcin owed a lot to her clean shooting throughout the race as she banished the demons of the 15km event where she amassed seven penalties.
In the men's 10km sprint, Alexey Slepov claimed his second win of the season as he demonstrated composure under pressure by shooting clean on his way to finishing in a time of 22:38.0.
Norway's Lars Helge Birkeland's last standing shot was wayward which ended his chances of winning the race, and he eventually crossed the line 14.5 seconds behind Slopov, and Antonin Guigonnat rounded off an excellent day for France by taking third.
The Norwegians claimed three of the top six places as Andreas Dahloe Waernes narrowly missed out on the podium while Vegard Gjermundshaug was fifth.
"In biathlon I've been training for four years, so it's not many times when I had zero in competition," Slepov said.
"Today I shot great plus good ski conditions gave me the first place.
"My secret for winning was that during the last week I didn't have a lot of trainings; I ate, slept and had some training on skis and then I repeated the whole procedure all over again."
The event in Otepää continues tomorrow (February 1) with the junior women's 10km pursuit race.
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