Doherty leads US in biathlon World Cup

OESTERSUND, Sweden — The longest race on the biathlon docket is always a test of fitness, especially during the opening stop on the world cup circuit. That was the case on Wednesday at the BMW IBU World Cup opener as the men raced the 20-kilometer individual event under the lights in Oestersund.

Sean Doherty, of Center Conway, New Hampshire, was the top U.S. finisher in 63rd place, 7 minutes, 41.7 seconds off the winning pace with three penalties.

“The hardest race of the season is done,” Doherty said after the race. “Now it’s full focus forward.”

The French team appeared in mid-season form as Martin Fourcade led a French sweep of the top four places in the 20k individual. Fourcade took the lead after the first standing stage and was never challenged, finishing with a single penalty in 53:11.9.

Second place Simon Desthieux matched Fourcade on the shooting range, but finished 12.7 seconds back. Quentin Fillon Maillet, with three penalties, finished third, 1:50.8 back. Emilien Jacquelin was fourth with two penalties, 2:17.8 behind Fourcade.

Other American finishers were Leif Nordgren (Hinesburg, Vermont) in 73rd, Alex Howe (Gilford, New Hampshire) in 81st, and Travis Cooper (Kenai, Alaska) in 96th place.

Thursday will feature the women’s 15k individual event with four U.S. Olympians in the mix: Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vermont), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colorado) and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vermont).

Boston Marathon will serve as qualifier for Paralympics

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon will serve as qualifying for the 2020 Paralympics.

The top two American men and women who meet the qualifying standards in the arm or vision impairment classifications will be nominated to the U.S. team for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Boston was the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division in 1975. Organizers had previously announced a revamped Para Athletics Division that will award a total of $16,500 in prize money and spots on the podium to winners in vision, upper limb and lower limb impairment categories.

The 124th running of the Boston Marathon will be April 20.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.