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Sports Brief

Hakkinen takes 22nd in World Cup pursuit

Posted: Monday, December 03, 2007

Kasilof biathlete Jay Hakkinen finished off the first weekend of the World Cup season with a 22nd-place finish in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit on Sunday in Kontiolahti, Finland.

Hakkinen also had a ninth-place finish in the individual and a 22nd in the sprint at Kontiolahti, giving him World Cup points in the first three races of the year. The season-opening races were the best openers of Hakkinen's career and a stark contrast to last season, when illness played a role in Hakkinen getting off to a slow start.

"I am pretty happy with the week," Hakkinen said in a statement released by U.S. Biathlon.

U.S. teammate Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, N.Y., also had a solid opening weekend and sits in 23rd in the World Cup rankings, while Hakkinen is 18th. The World Cup resumes on Friday in Hochfilzen, Austria.

"I think the week was perfect," said Bernd Eisenbichler, the high performance director at U.S. Biathlon. "We wanted to start strong with some top 15 results and we got that.

"The team was very focused all week. It was the best first week our team has ever had. We will only continue to get better. I think next week in Hochfilzen, we will be even better. The tracks and conditions suit our style of skiing more than here."

The pursuit race features two rounds of prone shooting and two rounds of standing shooting over the 12.5 kilometers. Hakkinen missed one target in each of the prone stages and two targets in each of the standing stages.

"The pace was really high right from the start," Hakkinen said. "When I was shooting standing, I just could not settle down.

"It is that way in the first pursuit of the season. It takes one or two of these to get used to it. I had really good skis today, which definitely helped."



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