Biathlon - Norway retain mixed relay title

Norway retained their World Championship mixed relay title in a controversial opening to proceedings in Ruhpolding.

Biathlon - Norway retain mixed relay title

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2012 Biathlon world championship Norway

It was Slovenia's Jakov Fak who crossed the line first, 8.2 seconds ahead of Emil Hegle Svendsen, but Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was erroneously forced to do a penalty loop after hitting a target that did not fall, and Norway were given a time compensation that saw them claim gold.

It denied the Slovenians a shock victory.

Having not been on the podium in any of the previous seven World Championship mixed relays, Teja Gregorin had put her team in fifth at halfway after Andreja Mali had handed over in 12th place after the first 6km leg.

Klemen Bauer moved Slovenia into second at the final handover before Fak hit all 10 shots to cross the line in first place.

Tora Berger had put the Norwegians into the lead after the first leg but they were 17.1 seconds behind leaders France and hosts Germany at halfway after Synnoeve Solemdal missed four targets.

Whilst the French capitulated on the penultimate leg with Simon Fourcade forced to do a penalty loop and handing over to his brother Martin back in 12th, the home fans were increasingly excited with Germany holding a commanding lead.

After a slow start from Andrea Henkel, superstar Magdalena Neuner took the Germans from seventh to third before a sensational leg from Andreas Birnbacher gave the hosts a 58.7 second advantage going into the final 7.5km stanza.

But three crucial misses from Arnd Peiffer on his final visit to the range used up valuable time, as he handfed the spare rounds, and the ensuing penalty loop meant they had to settle for bronze, 32.8 seconds behind the eventual winners.

Sweden, the 2007 winners, finished fourth - after being down in 19th on the first leg - with 2005 and 2006 champions Russia completing the top five.

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