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Biathlon champions race in Moscow


The Champions' Race saw biathletes competing indoors for the first time in Russia.

The event drew 15 thousand fans to Moscow's Olympic Stadium.

Norwegian biathlete Tarjei Bo and Russia's Svetlana Sleptsova dominated the race, while Marie Dorin and Martin Fourcade came out on top in the mixed relay.

It's become a regular feature in Germany's biathlon calendar. But this was the first time the sport had ever been held indoors in Russia - and there was plenty of interest, as the Olympic Stadium was packed to capacity,

Most of the top names descended on Moscow, and were delighted to see what the Russian capital has to offer.

"I've never been here before, I’ve been eight time in Russia but all the time I had been in Khanty-Mansiysk. It is the first time in Moscow and I enjoy it. I am interested in history and there is a lot of history in Moscow," says Olympic biathlon champion Bjorn Ferry.

The men's race, saw three Russian's competing - Evgeny Yusugov, who won Olympic Gold in Vancouver last year, as well as Ivan Cherezov and Anton Shipulin.

However, there was plenty of competition - with the likes of Tare Bjer, Bjorn Ferry and Michael Greis - all Olympic Champions.

Russia hasn't had the best of season's on the World Cup scene, and unfortunately the locals weren't able to cheer a home victory.

Ivan Cherezov was there or thereabouts for much of the race, but victory eventually went to Tarjei Bo.

"Of course you would be tired after a long season but this is very funny, it is a show. There are a lot of people watching us and we are trying to make a good entertainment for them," says the winner Tarjei Bo.

Meanwhile fellow Scandinavian, Bjorn Ferry said it was a great experience, and he really enjoyed the event.

"I think this kind of races…they are here to stay. You can make it in all capitals and you can make it with normal rifles. So, it is great," says Bjorn Ferry.

There were two Russian entries in the women's event - Olga Zaitseva and Svetlana Sleptsova. While there was also another Russian competing - Anastasia Kuzmina. She was born in born in Siberia - but is now competing for Slovakia - and she won a gold in Vancouver last year.

Like the men's event, the women's race proved to be a tight affair, with the Ukrainian sisters, Valentina and Vita Semerenko setting the early pace.

However, it was Sleptsova who stepped up a gear following the final shoot, and she would go onto claim victory - and finally give Russia's long suffering Biathlon fans something to cheer about.

"I think this event was superb because to hold such event in Moscow is very difficult and to have it here is fantastic. It is our country's capital and there were a lot of Russian fans here. The atmosphere was amazing," says Russian Olympic biathlon champion Svetlana Sleptsova.

The champions' race has proved to be very popular with the locals - and for many of them it was the first time they had the chance to watch the sport live.

And indoor events like this are only likely to gain in popularity - especially as it's an excellent way of bringing the sport to the masses.


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