Svendsen wins men's biathlon pursuit at worlds

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NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic (AP) — Norway swept the pursuit races biathlon world championships, sweeping the pursuit races on Sunday.

Emil Hegle Svendsen won a close sprint finish to take the men's 12.5-kilometer event for his third gold medal in as many races, while World Cup leader Tora Berger claimed the women's 10K race for her second title.

Svendsen overcame one penalty lap to cover the distance in 32 minutes, 35.5 seconds to follow up on his victory in Saturday's sprint, which came two days after anchoring Norway to the gold in the mixed relay on Thursday in the opening event of the championships.

"This is a dream and I am very thankful and very lucky," Svendsen said.

Due to the sprint victory, Svendsen started the race eight seconds ahead of defending champion and overall World Cup leader Martin Fourcade of France.

The French racer missed two targets but overcame the deficit and was neck and neck with Svendsen until the finish line, crossing just 0.1 second behind. A photo from the finish showed the Norwegian was 2.4 centimeters ahead of Fourcade at the finish line.

"I had a good feeling when I looked to the right at the finish, I thought I had a one or two-centimeter gap on him," Svendsen said.

Fourcade was left to rue the missed opportunity.

"It was really hard for me to lose today. I felt very good today," the Frenchman said. "I will think about this 2.4 centimeters every day when I train next summer."

Anton Shipulin of Russia finished third, 3.6 seconds behind the winner.

Berger started the race six seconds behind Saturday's sprint event winner, Olena Pidhrushna of Ukraine, but cruised to the victory despite missing thee targets, finishing in 28:48.4. She also won gold in the mixed relay on Thursday and claimed the silver in Saturday's sprint.

Poland's Krystyna Palka was 18.5 seconds back for the silver and Pidhrushna took the bronze, finishing 21.5 behind. They both missed two targets at the shooting range.

The championships continue with the women's individual race on Wednesday.

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