World Cup in Hochfilzen: Wiesersarter saves emergency relay – podium place for biathletes

World Cup in Hochfilzen: Wiesersarter saves emergency relay – podium place for biathletes

Due to illness, the German biathletes only send an emergency relay team to the start. The Corona worries remain. For the men it was enough to reach the podium in Hochfilzen.

At the end of the craziest day of her biathlon career, Marion Wiesensarter was exhausted and gasping for breath. It was only on Sunday morning that the 28-year-old rushed to the World Cup in Hochfilzen in great distress, only to manage fifth place hours later with the very last line-up in the women’s relay.

Corona cases and other infections had decimated the ski hunters to such an extent that a start would not have been possible without Wiesersarter. With fewer personnel problems, the men previously achieved the best German result in the Pillerseetal as third in the relay. However, there was nothing to be gained in the individual races after the sensational start to the season.

“Today after getting up the coach called and said: Marion, you have to go now,” said Wiesensarter. Because their car broke down on Saturday, their parents had to drive about an hour from their home in Bavaria to Tyrol for the unexpected mission. “I didn’t have time to think too much, I packed my bag and was very excited,” said Wiesensarter. She only needed one spare and kept the relay well in the race. Further appearances in the World Cup are not initially planned; the Bavarian will only be competing in the third-class German Cup this season.

Wave of illness in the team

Because Sophia Schneider was out at short notice due to an infection and Franziska Preuß and Hanna Kebinger had previously had to miss due to the consequences of a corona infection, only three fit ski hunters were available in Hochfilzen. Together with Selina Grotian, Janina Hettich-Walz and Vanessa Voigt, Wiesensarter had a decent performance in Norway’s victory. “I’m proud of us,” said Voigt.

Wiesensarter had been warned on Saturday evening, but initially did not expect to actually be deployed. She had last taken part in the World Cup in January 2022 and was unable to convince in the Ruhpolding sprint in 63rd place. Other athletes were not available to coach Kristian Mehringer because the German team in the second-tier IBU Cup is currently in Scandinavia.

The men made it onto the podium after quite weak individual races – Doll was tenth in the pursuit on Saturday and was still the best German. “It almost feels like a victory today. I’m really pleased that we’ve made it back onto the podium,” said final runner Doll. Together with David Zobel, Johannes Kühn and Philipp Nawrath, the quartet finished 4 x 7.5 kilometers behind the winners Norway and France – that wasn’t planned.

Starting runner Zobel struggles

“We had the goal of beating the Norwegians and French, but unfortunately I made a big mistake,” said starting runner Zobel. He had one penalty, and another nine spare rounds meant that he wasn’t able to make it to the front. “The mistake really bothers me. I was very lucky that the others saved me,” said Zobel. The team had already finished third in Östersund at the start of the season in Sweden.

Philipp Nawrath also showed another strong performance. The 30-year-old Bavarian traveled to Austria as the overall World Cup leader, but had to give up the yellow jersey again on Friday after finishing 34th in the sprint. Like Doll, he impressed the team again with rapid-fire performances at the shooting range.

Sports director Felix Bitterling was not satisfied with the results of the individual races near the German border; in the women’s race, Vanessa Voigt missed the top ten as the best in the pursuit in 14th place. “We’re certainly not happy, but you have to leave the church in the village,” said Bitterling. At the start in Östersund there were ten podium places in ten races. “We didn’t think it would continue like this,” said Zobel.

After a short break, the next World Cup will take place in Switzerland from Thursday. The Corona dangers will also accompany the team there. “It’s a big challenge because you have to protect yourself in a world in which nobody is really careful anymore,” Bitterling told the dpa: “We try to isolate ourselves and have hardly any contact with the outside world.” There is acceptance of stricter hygiene measures within the team. “The main premise for top performance is that someone is healthy. Everyone has understood that and no one feels particularly limited,” said Bitterling. It is still unclear who will be fit again for the last races before Christmas in Lenzerheide.

Source: Stern

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