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Dunklee guts out another silver

Susan Dunklee shows off the silver medal she won in the 7.5-kilometer sprint race Friday at the biathlon world championships in Italy. (Provided photo — U.S. Biathlon/Nordic Focus)

ANTHOLZ-ANTERSELVA, Italy — A day after turning 34, and wearing bib No. 34, Susan Dunklee won the silver medal in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint Friday at the IBU World Championships.

Dunklee, who trains in Lake Placid and is a resident of Barton, Vermont, turned in a gritty performance at the high-altitude course in Antholz to capture her second world championship silver medal. She is still the only U.S. woman to win an individual medal at a world championships.

“I think there are 20 or 30 people, on any given day, who can be on the podium,” Dunklee said at the post-race press conference. “You never know when it’s going to be you so you always have to just believe and put yourself in contention.”

Dunklee didn’t miss a target through the first two days of the world championships. She cleaned all 10 targets in Thursday’s mixed relay and repeated that performance in Friday’s sprint. She was one of only four women to clean all 10 targets in Friday’s race and left the range after the final standing stage with a 12.9 second lead over leader Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway.

It was then that Dunklee’s grittiness shone through. With the high-altitude air sapping her strength over the finishing stretch, she dug deep into her reserves to preserve a spot on the podium, 6.8 seconds behind Roeiseland.

Susan Dunklee, left, celebrates on the podium with Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Lucie Charvatova, of Czech Republic, following Friday’s 7.5-kilometer sprint at the IBU World Championships in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy. (Provided photo — U.S. Biathlon/Nordic Focus)

“I gave it everything I had, and that’s all I can do,” Dunklee said.

Roeiseland had one standing penalty to win her first-ever individual world championship medal in 21:13.1. Lucie Charvatova of Czech Republic, with one penalty, also raced to her first individual world championship medal, taking the bronze medal, 21.3 seconds back.

Also qualifying for Sunday’s pursuit race by virtue of a top-60 finish was Dunklee’s teammate Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) who finished 26th with two penalties, 1:12.6 back of Roeiseland. Other Americans in Friday’s sprint were Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colorado) in 62nd and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vermont) in 73rd.

Pursuit

Dunklee held the lead after the first prone shooting stage in Sunday’s women’s 10-kilometer pursuit but faltered late in the race to finish 36th at the IBU World Championships in Antholz.

After winning the silver medal in Friday’s 7.5k sprint, Dunklee started Sunday’s pursuit seven seconds behind leader Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway. The two came into the first prone shooting stage together and with Roeiseland missing a target and Dunklee shooting clean, Dunklee exited the range with a 10.7-second lead. It also meant Dunklee had cleaned all 25 targets she faced in the world championships up to that point.

Dunklee maintained her lead as she entered the second prone stage along with Italy’s Dorothea Wierer and Roeiseland, but after missing her first target of the week, Dunklee slipped to fifth place. Clean shooting at the opening standing stage put Dunklee back into podium contention in fourth place, just nine seconds back of third-place Denise Herrmann of Germany.

Having hit 34 of her first 35 targets on the week, Dunklee entered the final standing stage in fourth place. However, five penalties in her final trip to the range dropped Dunklee all the way down to 36th place at the finish, 2 minutes, 42.4 seconds behind gold medalist Wierer, who had a lone penalty in her final standing stage. Herrmann finished second with three penalties, 9.5 seconds back, while Roeiseland hung on for the bronze medal, 13.8 seconds behind Wierer, also with three penalties. Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) finished 46th, 3:17.8 back with six penalties.

“I had a huge opportunity today and I was ready to take advantage of it,” Dunklee said. “I executed my plan exactly the way I wanted to. My standing shots during the last stage were in a tight group but unfortunately, they landed just left of the target. This sport humbles every athlete and today was one of those days for me. I’m super proud of how this championship is going and I look forward to the individual.”

In the men’s 12.5k pursuit held later in the day, France’s Emilien Jacquelin used clean shooting to edge Norway’s Johanne Thingnes Boe by 0.4 seconds to secure his first career IBU World Championships medal. Boe had two penalties, while Russia’s Alexander Loginov took home the bronze medal with one penalty, 23.9 seconds behind Jacquelin. American Sean Doherty (Center Conway, New Hampshire) placed 43rd, 3:58.1 back with four penalties.

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