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The Lithuanian Strolia after receiving a stormy applause at the finish: today's race had two sides

On Saturday, March 12, men's and women's mass starts took place at the Otepää BMW IBU World Biathlon World Cup stage. Nearly 6,000 spectators showed up at the sunny Tehvandi Sports Center.

In the men's competition, Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen from Norway sealed the top spot on the podium, passing all the laps with clean shoots. Quentin Fillon Maillet from France finished in second place and Sivert Guttorm Bakken from Norway finished third for his first-ever podium place.

Vytautas Strolia from Lithuania was the only athlete from the Baltics in the men's mass start. Despite six penalty loops, the man was received with a stormy applause at the finish. According to Strolia, there were two sides to today's race. "On the one hand, I wasn't feeling very well on the track. On the other hand, seeing so many people cheering for me at the start and by the track created a wonderful feeling,” he described. He added that he was very happy to be able to start among the thirty top men today. "I have long dreamed of this opportunity and the stage in Otepää. Everything was more than perfect,” Strolia added.

Elvira Öberg from Sweden took the win of the women's mass start despite one penalty. Denise Herrmann from Germany skied to second place and Marte Olsbu Røiseland, the overall World Cup leader, finished third.

Elvira Öberg said that it felt really great to be back on the podium. "It was a tough final loop, since I knew who I had directly behind me. The fans gave me energy to push more,” Öberg added. According to Öberg, she already had positive memories of Otepää from previous races and they keep coming. In 2018, Öberg won her first international gold medals at the Junior World Championships in Otepää.

For Sunday, March 13, mixed relay and single mixed relay are scheduled in Otepää. At the competition venue, spectators will find a local Cultural Street, a sales and catering area and a special kids' area.


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