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Neuner sprints to success

Neuner sprints to success
By Eurosport

03/02/2007 at 15:33Updated

Magdalena Neuner marked her World Championship debut by taking gold in the 7.5km sprint at Antholz.

The emerging German, who is not 20 until Friday, shrugged off the hindrance of missing two shots to win in a time of 22:46.9.

Neuner trailed Anna Carin Olofsson, leader in the discipline in the World Cup standings, by 1.9 seconds with 1.5km left of the final loop but she stormed home to win by 2.3 seconds from the Swede who identically to the victor missed a single shot at both the prone and standing shoot.

Neuner started seventh and her chances of a famous victory looked remote when she was errant with her final shot but none of her main rivals could capitalise with just four of the 85 competitors hitting all ten targets despite the wind dropping for the later starters.

Natalia Guseva finally transferred her form in relay competition to the invidiual event, taking bronze, 19.6 seconds behind Neuner after a costly solitary miss at the standing shoot.

Helena Jonsson of Sweden, Norway's Ann Kristin Flatland and home favourite Michela Ponza followed after a perfect shooting performance, the latter pair taking advantage of their later start positions.

But the French duo of Sandrine Bailly and Olympic sprint champion Florence Baverel Robert couldn't take advantage of starting late, missing two shots apiece and finishing ninth and 21st respectively while overall World Cup leader Kati Wilhelm was seventh after hitting only seven targets at the range.

Her compatriots Andrea Henkel and Martina Glagow also missed three shots and had to settle for 23rd and 36th respectively while Linda Grubben of Norway went clear in the prone but hit just two targets in the standing position and slumped to 18th.

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