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Canadian Smith secures Olympic spot in biathlon

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The Canadian Press
12/14/2013 3:27:06 PM
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ANNECY, France -- Nathan Smith was the latest Canadian biathlete to secure a spot at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Saturday after a 16th-place finish at a World Cup event.

The 28-year-old from Calgary matched his career best after missing just one shot in his two rounds of shooting in the men's 10-kilometre sprint competition. Smith finished in 23 minutes 15.1 seconds.

"This is a huge relief as this result was pretty last minute," said Smith, who need a top-30 result on Saturday to avoid the domestic trial races in Canmore, Alta., next week. "Today was the best ski time I've had yet at World Cup level, and a solid nine out of 10 in shooting.

"Unfortunately my shooting speed was a lot slower than normal. I really had to slow things down and fight for every shot. Thankfully my skiing made up for this so in the end it was still an excellent result that I'm very happy about."

It was the second 16th place result for Smith this year.

Junior world champion Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway earned his first career win in the event.

The 20-year-old Boe shot clean to finish in 22:06.7 seconds, putting him 32.9 ahead of Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic, who also shot clean. Frenchman Martin Fourcade had one penalty and finished 37.1 back in third place.

Regina's Scott Perass was solid in 31st spot at 23:34.7 (0+1), while Jean-Philippe Le Guellec of Shannon, Que., placed 49th (0+2) with a time of 24:09.8.

In women's competition, Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore was the top Canadian finishing 26th (21:52.5) (1+0) in the women's 7.5-kilometre sprint event.

Switzerland's Selina Gasparin shot clean to win the women's gold with a time of 20:51.5. Finland's Kaisa Makarainen won the silver medal at 2:59.7 despite missing one shot. Ukraine's Valj Semerenko also missed one shot but hung on for the bronze medal with a time of 21:02.9.

Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, Man., place 40th at 22:17.8 (1+1), while Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., tied for 45th with a time of 22:26.4 (1+2), and Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., settled for 50th at 22:32.6 (1+2).

Nathan Smith  (Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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