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SOCHI, February 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian biathlete Yevgeny Ustyugov did everything possible in men’s pursuit competition at the Sochi Olympics but came in only fifth.
“It was much easier today than in the previous competitions. I tried to spread my strength over the distance as it was clear that the final lap would be crucial. And it was. I had saved up all my strength, but it was hard to make up for 12 seconds, with competitors going ahead,” he said on Monday, February 10.
Ustyugov believes it was senseless to hold on to Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway who was racing fourth as it would have put him even farther away from the medal. “After all there are only three top positions, and the fourth or fifth one doesn’t count. So it there was no point in breaking my neck just in order to catch up with Bjorndalen,” he said.
Ustyugov had only one off-target shot, but he tends to blame it on his unsuccessful performance. “No, I don’t think about the miss all the time, but it left a saddening feeling. I lost twenty seconds for the penalty lap. Otherwise I could have competed for a medal,” the athlete said.
He said he did not know where else he would compete at the Sochi Olympics. “We are like soldiers: we will run wherever we are told,” he added.
His colleague Yevgeny Garanichev, who came in fifteenth, said there was no panic in the Russian team.
“There is no and can be no panic. After all these are Olympic Games. Our coaches set our minds on winning the first race of course, but it’s not working that way. I actually quite pleased with my own performance: I had only one miss and I skied well, but the track is bit complex,” Garanichev said.
Another Russian biathlon Dmitry Malyshko, who was 33rd in Monday’s pursuit, may miss the individual race to better prepare for the mass start competition.
“I think I may have to sacrifice the individual event for the sake of the mass start competition,” he said.