Biathletes Linn Kazmaier, Leonie Walter and Marco Maier surprisingly secured medals on their debut at the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
The just 15-year-old Kazmaier ran in the sprint over 6 km of the visually impaired with guide Florian Baumann to silver, after a missed shot in the second shooting, 5.6 seconds were missing from a tangible victory. 18-year-old Walter finished third with guide Pirmin Strecker in the same race with one penalty.
Maier also finished second in the men’s standing class, after a clean performance only Grigori Vovchinsky was 47.7 seconds faster. The 33-year-old won the first gold for Ukraine, which was so badly hit by the Russian war of aggression. A short time later, Oxana Schischkowa followed suit with her triumph in front of Kazmaier.
For all three Germans it is the greatest success of their careers. At Maier’s, a competitor’s protest because of an allegedly illegal weapon was rejected. “It’s incredible, I can’t find the words,” Maier told SID: “I’m over the moon. The medal means everything to me.”
Flag bearer Martin Fleig, on the other hand, missed a medal at the start. The 32-year-old from Freiburg finished fifth in the biathlon sprint in the seated class 14 hours after the opening ceremony. Victory went to China’s Liu Zixu, who gave the hosts their first gold medal of the Games.
Fleig rated his result as “positive. I was rarely better in the biathlon sprint at a major event.” He missed the podium by 30 seconds after shooting at the windy Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Center. Behind Zixu, Tara’s bike secured another medal for Ukraine. In Pyeongchang, Fleig won gold over the long distance in 2018.
In the women’s sitting class, world champion Anja Wicker took fifth place. After three shooting errors, the Stuttgart native was 1:25 minutes behind the bronze medal in the victory of the American Oksana Masters. “I couldn’t find a rhythm, the lightness was completely missing,” said the 30-year-old.