World Championships - Norway romp to victory again in mixed relay

Tora Berger and Emil Hegle Svendsen started and finished Norway's successful attempt to claim a third successive mixed team relay title on the opening day of the Biathlon World Championships in Nove Mesto.

World Championships - Norway romp to victory again in mixed relay

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Norway's team members Tora Berger, Synnoeve Solemdal, Tarjei Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrate their first place in the mixed 2x6+2x7.5 km relay during the IBU World Championships biathlon in Nove Mesto February 7, 2013. (Reuters)

Overall World Cup leader Berger was the only member of the four-strong team selected for the mixed relay in the Czech Republic to have been on both the 2011 and 2012 winning outfits.

And the 31-year-old, who won three golds at last year's worlds, made it clear how much she wanted a hat-trick as she shot clear during her opening leg to hand over to Synnoeve Solemdal with a 12-second lead.

Solemdal missed two targets in the range as Norway swapped places with Russia however with Olympic champion Tarjei Boe on leg three that advantage was restored.

Boe handed over to Svendsen with the lead at 12 seconds and he extended it to exactly 20 as France, anchored by Martin Fourcade, moved their way up to second with host nation the Czech Republic third.

Before even taking to the range, Berger held a narrow lead over Olga Zaitseva with it extended to 6.5seconds after her first shoot and then to 12.1 by the time of the first exchange with Solemdal.

She pushed it close to 20 seconds before entering the range for a second time where she missed two targets to allow Olga Vilukhina to give Russia a lead of 3.7 before Anton Shipulin and Boe took over.

Boe missed one in the range compared to three from Shipulin as Norway retook the lead, it back to 12 seconds over Russia, ahead of the final leg and one that Svendsen would not relinquish.

And, while he stormed Norway to the first gold of the World Championships in Nove Mesto, Russia fell away as Fourcade stormed his leg finishing way down in sixth.

Overall World Cup leader Fourcade made up almost 20 seconds himself to push France up to second, 20 seconds behind Norway, with the Czech Republic moving from fourth to third after the final leg.

Ondrej Moravec was the man that led the host nation home, finishing 32.23 behind overall while Italy were fourth less than a minute shy in total with Slovenia fifth before Russia.

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