March 09, 2016

OSLO, Norway (AP) Marie Dorin Habert won France's fourth gold medal at the biathlon world championships when she took the women's individual 15-kilometer race on Wednesday.

With one penalty minute from her only miss, on the fourth and last shooting station, Dorin Habert beat teammate Anais Bescond by more than 12 seconds. Bescond also overcame one penalty for her first worlds medal.

Laura Dahlmeier of Germany, who won the pursuit on Sunday, was third. She got two minutes in penalty time, and was 77 seconds back.

Beside four golds, France has two silvers and a bronze from the championships.

Only two competitors shot cleanly on the day among 91 finishers. Julia Ransom of Canada was 20th, and Meril Bellmann of Estonia 46th.

The top three, Dorin Habert, Bescond, and Dahlmeier were also the three fastest on the skiing track.

The last of four stations, a standing, was the clue to success. Bescond, with a good winning chance, missed her second to last round and got the penalty minute to be added to her time. Dorin Habert, shooting later, missed her first round, but did not lose her nerve and hit the four targets left in rapid succession, opening up the gate to gold.

''I wouldn't say it was easy, but I was very calm, very calm,'' she said.

Dorin Habert, who was the sprint and pursuit world champion last year in Finland, clinched the individual title for the first time. Earlier she was the runnerup in the sprint event and third in the ensuing pursuit. Wednesday's was her fourth medal, as she also was a member of the France team which won the mixed relay the opening day. This season she has also won one World Cup race, a sprint.

Bescond won gold in the mixed relay but this was her first individual medal.

''An unbelievable, crazy day for me,'' she said. ''I have dreamed of a worlds medal many times, and have competed and trained to gain one. And I get to share this moment with my friend Dorin Habert. That makes it even better and greater.''

There was a tussle for bronze with Dahlmeier holding off Czech pair Veronika Vitkova and World Cup leader Gabriela Soukalova. Germany's Franziska Hildebrand, who at one moment looked set for a podium finish, eventually fell to sixth.

Wednesday's event was originally scheduled for a late afternoon start, but it was broght forward by two and a half hours for weather reasons.

On Thursday, France's Martin Fourcade goes for his fourth straight gold in Oslo in the men's distance event, the individual 20 kilometers.


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