The final stage of the Russian Biathlon Cup continued in Ufa with sprint races, the results of which determined both the owners of the “Small Crystal Globes” in the standings of this discipline and the early winners of the entire series of tournaments.  

Among the women, 70 participants started, and the best among the first thirty was Polina Shevnina, who covered the distance without a single mistake and set a high benchmark for the rest.

Most of the leaders took to the track in the final group, and the best acceleration among them was demonstrated by Ekaterina Noskova.

But shooting didn’t go well for Artyom Istomin’s ward: while she missed once in the prone position, then in the standing position she sent three rounds into the milk, which dropped her to 25th final place.

Irina Kazakevich’s work on the shooting lines was exactly the same, and only thanks to her traditionally high speed on the ski track, she finished five positions higher than Noskova.

Victoria Slivko became the leader after the first shooting.

The Tyumen biathlete, after four stages of the National Cup, retained second place in the sprint standings and, in certain circumstances, could compete for victory with the owner of the yellow jersey, Natalia Shevchenko.

However, the former skier also did not intend to give up her position.

She was one of the athletes who made no mistakes on the bench, and was only 2.5 seconds behind Slivko.

And before the counter, the multiple Russian champion came out on top, beating her opponent by 4.1 seconds.

Anastasia Shevchenko also moved closer to the leaders, while Anastasia Batmanova, Natalya Gerbulova and Tamara Derbusheva, who returned to action after a long illness, still had a chance at medals.

Slivko was the first to drop out of this fight, making two mistakes while standing, and then Natalia Shevchenko’s nerves trembled - she first took a long time to aim the first target, and then did not clear the second.

Meanwhile, her relative Anastasia, on the contrary, worked flawlessly on the shooting range and topped the table.

Derbusheva, who was walking a little behind her, had the opportunity to join the fight for gold, but she did not have enough physical condition.

Probably, the consequences of the illness affected her, which did not allow her to express herself at the Spartakiad.

Tamara closed all the targets and left the stadium, losing only 1.8 seconds to Shevchenko, but then began to fall far behind and fell even lower than Shevnina, whose result was still in the top 3.

And only in the final segment of the distance, urged on by the coaches, Derbusheva made a final acceleration and grabbed silver in an absentee dispute with an athlete from the Moscow region.

Anastasia Shevchenko celebrated the victory, and Natalia finished fourth, which allowed her to win the Small Crystal Globe, as well as early victory in the overall standings of the Country Cup.

Even if the biathlete does not start the Sunday pursuit race, no one will be able to get ahead of her in the standings.

At the same time, the winner jokingly stated that it was important for her to escape from her star relative.

“I think this is my peak of the season.

Of course, we will continue to support him.

I am very glad and happy.

My main task was to prevent Natasha from catching up with me,” the biathlete said on Match TV.

She also shared a funny story that happened to her right before the race.

According to her, one of the competition judges, seeing her with skis, doubted that she was a participant in the tournament.

“I realized that I looked like an amateur, and I thought that I would show mine today.

It turns out that I came to the race, was completely collected in order to show the maximum result,” Shevchenko emphasized.

82 athletes took to the start of the men's race.

Once again, Nikita Porshnev was not included in the application.

As it turned out, the athlete was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and spectators will not see him at competitions again this season.

The leader of the general and sprint classifications of the Kyrgyz Republic, Eduard Latypov, was not entirely healthy at the start.

According to the three-time Olympic medalist, his nose and throat were blocked, but his temperature did not rise, so the decision was made not to withdraw.

Unlike the women, in this race the leaders were evenly scattered across the starting list.

Thus, Karim Khalili started in the first group of athletes, and with one miss he was ahead of many clean-shooting athletes.

Only Alexander Loginov was able to remove the Moscow athlete from the first line of the final protocol.

He also missed once, but put in a strong final lap that put him 24 seconds ahead of Halili.

After the finish, the ex-world sprint champion complained about a misfire made while lying down.

“An offensive last shot.

You can't smear in this weather.

Moreover, after the individual race, the diopters were completely changed, since then the adjustments on my rifle did not work at all,” Loginov shared.

A little later, Alexander’s training group partner Anton Babikov went to the distance, and for two thirds of it it seemed that he would greatly exceed his friend’s result.

The biathlete performed both shooting sessions phenomenally and after the standing position was 16.3 seconds ahead of Loginov.

However, on the last lap he noticeably slowed down and eventually finished 10.3 behind Alexander.

The athlete explained these difficulties as the consequences of the disease.

“The performance was not the best today, and I knew this from how I felt in the warm-up, so I concentrated on my strengths.

He carried out a quick, risky shooting, due to which he managed to be among the leaders.

But I’m not very strong with my legs yet,” Anton said on Match TV.

But Latypov’s minor illness had virtually no effect on his results.

Eduard did not make a single mistake, although he made the fans in the stands quite nervous at the stand.

With his first shot he hit the target, but the target still closed, and then he lost his rhythm and took a long time to prepare for the final fifth shot.

The fans even managed to make some noise, urging the athlete to shoot faster, but he pulled the trigger only when he was sure of himself.

And the shot turned out to be accurate.

After this, bringing the race to victory was a matter of technique for the leader of the national biathlon.

At the finish line, he was 24 seconds ahead of Loginov and won his third victory in the sprint race of the season.

It became special for the Ufa athlete, because for the first time his whole family came to the stadium - his wife Daria with two daughters, Arina and Victoria.

And little Vika greeted his victory with a loud cry of “Dad!”, which Edward called the most touching moment of the day.

He also emphasized after the finish that his words about not feeling well were not picturesque and the race was really difficult.

“I’m not pretending to be poor.

If I feel good, I always talk about it.

Today, due to the distance, I couldn’t work as hard as I wanted.

If you look at the speed, we walked very smoothly with the guys.

But it’s okay, we need to recover and restore condition for the Russian Championship,” Latypov noted.