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11 Mar, 2014 17:03

Sochi Paralympics Day 4: Biathlon magic increases Russia’s lead

Sochi Paralympics Day 4: Biathlon magic increases Russia’s lead

A superb display by Russian biathletes saw the home team further increasing its lead in the medals table at the Sochi Paralympics as the country boasts an impressive 11 golds and a total of 34 medals after just four days of action.

Second-placed Germany are far behind, with four medals – all of them gold – in the team’s trophy cabinet.

Ukraine is also proving its class as a Paralympic powerhouse, with three gold, three silver and five bronze medals.
Russian athletes were dominant in the biathlon events, winning 10 medals, including four golds, during the six races at the Laura Center.

The most spectacular success came in men’s 12.5 kilometers sitting event, in which the Russians enjoyed a clean sweep.

Roman Petushkov claimed his third gold of the Paralympics, thanks to his perfect shooting and great speed on the distance, with Aleksey Bychenok and Grigory Murygin occupying the two remaining places on the podium.

“From my heart I congratulate you with this great winning display in Sochi,”
Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in a telegram to the biathletes. “For the second time, the podium of the 11th Paralympic Winter Games is swept by the Russian athletes.”

“This victory is a well-deserved achievement due to your skills, dedication and the hard work for the highly professional coaches and mentors,” Putin’s telegram said.

Azat Karachurin brought Russia victory in the 12.5 kilometers men’s biathlon in the standing category.

The Russian beat second placed Nils-Erik Ulset of Norway by nearly a minute, with the bronze going to Canada’s Mark Arendz.

Russia’s Alena Kaufman has won her second career Paralympic gold, leaving her rivals trailing in the women’s 10 kilometers standing event.

Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova crossed the finish line half a minute behind the winner to claim silver, with Russian Natalia Bratiuk coming in third.

Russia’s Alena Kaufman after winning gold in the women’s 10 kilometers standing event at the Sochi Paralympics. (RIA Novosti / Maxim Bogodvid)

The fourth gold for Russia on Tuesday was won by Mikhalina Lysova, who triumphed in the women’s 10 kilometers visually impaired category.

The second spot went to another Russian athlete, Yulia Budaleeva, with Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine completing the podium.

The German team also managed to grab a gold medal as Anja Wicker left her rivals behind in the women’s 10 kilometers sitting event.

Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova arrived to the finish 42.3 seconds behind the winner to claim silver, while Lyudmyla Pavlenko bagged bronze for Ukraine.

The Ukrainians didn’t leave the Laura Complex without a win, thanks to Vitaly Lukyanenko, who was the top man in the men’s 12.5 kilometers in visually impaired category.

Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin won silver, with Vasily Shaptsiaboi achieving the third-best time.

There were six medals planned to be handed out in the super combined events, but freak mountain weather interfered.

Thick fog at the Rosa Khutor Center allowed the alpine skiers complete only the slalom heat, with the Super-G run rescheduled for Friday.

The ice sledge hockey matches have resumed in Sochi after a break on Monday. Russia have progressed to the playoffs from first spot in Group B after a narrow 2-1 win against the US.

Joshua Pauls of the U.S. (R) fights for the puck with Russia's Konstantin Shikhov (C) and Ilia Volkov during their ice sledge hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, March 11, 2014. (Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)

In the same quartet, Italy climbed up from bottom after beating South Korea with the same score.

In Group A, Norway proved stronger than their neighbors from Sweden, coming out on top, 2-0.
Canada’s sledge hockey players were due to take on the Czech Republic later in the day.

Day 4 was also packed with wheelchair curling action, as Russia and Canada continue the battle for the top spot in the table, having six wins and one loss each.

The Russians beat Sweden 7-4, while Canada beat China 8-5.