SOCHI, March 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian athletes have won 12 medals, including four gold medals, six silver medals and two bronze ones, on the first day of competitions at the XI Paralympic Winter Games in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, taking leadership in the medal standings. Biathletes Roman Petushkov, Vladislav Lekomtsev, Mikhalina Lysova and Alena Kaufman have won the gold medals.
Biathletes started at 10:00 Moscow time on Saturday contesting for six sets of medals in three types of men’s and women’s sprint races. Russian athletes became medalists in each event, four of them have won gold medals. These top results made Russian team confident leader in the medal standing already after several first hours of Paralympic competitions.
Roman Petushkov, Vladislav Lekomtsev, Mikhalina Lysova and Alena Kaufman became Paralympic champions in Sochi on Saturday. Petushkov, 36, the multiple world champion and the medalist of the 2010 Paralympics in Canada’s Vancouver, have won the gold medal in 7.5km sitting race, Maksim Yarovyi from Ukraine clinched the silver medal, Kozo Kubo has taken the bronze medal. Aleksey Bychenok came fifth, Ivan Goncharov was seventh, four-time Vancouver Paralympic champion Irek Zaripov finished tenth.
Vladislav Lekomtsev, 19, has triumphed in 7.5km standing race outstripping Mark Arendz of Canada and Russian biathlete Azat Karachurin who has secured the bronze medal. Lekomtsev is three-time world champion in Sweden’s Solleftea in 2013.
Russian biathletes Kirill Mikhailov and Alexander Yaremchuk came fourth and fifth in this race, Ivan Kodlozerov became ninth, Alexander Pronkov finished tenth.
Russian biathlete Nikolay Polukhin has won the silver medal in men’s 7.5km race for visually impaired, only falling behind Vitaly Lukyanenko from Ukraine and Vasily Shaptsiaboi has taken the bronze medal. Polukhin, 31, from Russian Siberia’s Tyumen region is the Vancouver Paralympic champion in open relay race and the multiple world champion in biathlon and cross-country skiing.
Stanislav Chokhlaev came fifth, Alexander Artemov was ninth, Oleg Ponomarev came tenth, Vladimir Udaltsov finished twelfth.
Russian female biathletes have also won two gold medals on Saturday. Alena Kaufman emerged victorious in 6km standing race, another Russian biathlete Anna Milenina has won the silver medal, Ukraine’s Yulia Batenkova has taken the bronze medal. Russia’s Natalia Bratyuk came ninth in this race.
Mikhalina Lysova and Yulia Budaleeva have won gold and silver medals in 6km race for visually impaired, respectively. Meanwhile, Lysova, 21, became the Paralympic champion back in Vancouver, where she has won the open relay race. Mikhalina has won two Paralympic bronze medals in biathlon four years ago and has clinched five gold medals at world championships. Oksana Shishkova from Ukraine has taken the bronze medal and Yelena Remizova from Russia came fourth.
In Paralympic biathlon athletes should hit targets at a 10-meter firing distance from the prone position. Missed target is punished with a penalty time or penalty loops. Rifles always remain at the firing line. Visually impaired athletes use special electronic rifles that give a signal that grows stronger as aiming nears centre of the target. Targets for visually disabled athletes are larger than for others, 30 millimeters.
Russian Paralympic athletes have won two silver and one bronze medals in Alpine skiing, as six medal sets were contested in downhill ski races on Saturday. Alexey Bugaev, 16, from the Russian Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk has won the silver medal in downhill standing event, yielding to Austria’s Markus Salcher. Vincent Gauthier-Manuel from France has taken the bronze medal, Alexander Alyabyev came 11th, Alexander Vetrov finished 13th.
Russian skier Inga Medvedeva has won the silver medal in downhill standing event, falling behind Marie Bochet from France. Medvedeva who lives in the Moscow regional town of Dmitrov is a very experienced athlete, as she had won the bronze medal back at the 2002 Paralympics in the U.S. city of Salt Lake City. Allison Jones from the United States has secured the bronze medal, Russia’s Maria Papulova came fifth.
Aleksandra Frantseva has won the bronze medal in women’s downhill race for visually impaired, Henrieta Farkasova from Slovakia has grabbed the gold medal, Jade Etherington from Great Britain has won silver.
German skier Anna Schaffelhuber has won the gold medal in women’s downhill sitting event, U.S. skiers Alana Nichols and Laurie Stephens have clinched silver and bronze medals, respectively. Spanish Alpine skier Yon Santacana has won the gold medal in men’s downhill event for visually impaired, finishing ahead of Miroslav Haraus from Slovakia and Mac Marcoux from Canada. Ivan Frantsev, brother of Aleksandra Frantseva, came ninth.
Finally, Japanese skier Akira Kano has won gold in men’s downhill sitting event, Josh Dueck from Canada has grabbed silver and another Japanese Alpine skier Takeshi Suzuki has taken bronze.
Russian wheelchair curling team has won a robin round match and has lost another one on Saturday. In the first match Russia defeated 5:4 China and then lost to Canada with the same score - 4:5.
This discipline is an adaptation of curling for wheelchair athletes with disabled limbs or gait. Paralympic curling differs from traditional discipline in the way athletes move on ice and in absence of sweeping - rubbing the ice in front of the moving stone with a special brush. Two teams of four players of both sexes, at least one for each, and one substitute, aim at the centre of the target called house. Athletes are allowed to launch stones on ice from the static wheelchair using either hands or a special extendable stick with a plastic end called extender.
Russian ice sledge hockey team has lost 2:3 in a penalty shootout to South Korea in its first match in Group B preliminary round at the Sochi Paralympics. Vasily Varlakov and Yevgeny Petrov scored goals for Russia in regulation and Russia led 2:0 by the 30th minute. On Sunday, Russian squad will play its second match with Italy.
In another Group B match the United States defeated 5:1 Italy. Norway beat 2:1 the Czech Republic in Group A and Canada crashed down 10:1 Sweden.
Sledge hockey is Paralympic version of ice hockey for athletes with disabled lower extremities. Instead of skates sportsmen use special sledges with two runners, so that the puck slips in between. Athletes have a hockey stick in each hand. One of its end is curved like in traditional hockey while the other has metal teeth attached. Both sticks can be used for control of puck at once. No more than six players per team are allowed on the ground (including goalkeeper), total number of players in a team is fifteen. Each game comprises three fifteen-minute long periods.