Bø falls agonisingly short as Doll takes Sprint gold at Biathlon World Championships

In a race dictated by tough skiing conditions, and flaky performances at the shooting range, Benedikt Doll of Germany claimed victory in the men's Sprint at the 2017 Biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria

In a stunning finish, Doll's impeccable shooting had put him in the gold medal position, before Norway's Johannes Thingnes Bø threatened to take it from him due to his late starting position.

However, Bø fell 0.7 seconds short of Doll's time which handed the German his first individual World Championship title. 

Fourcade sets early pace despite faltering at the range 

Starting fourth, the pre-race favourite Martin Fourcade set the precedent for his fellow early starters, who all had their struggles at the range. 

Fourcade missed his third shot in the prone shoot, and first in the standing shoot, making it really challenging for him to even make the podium despite his advantage with the skis. 

Martin Fourcade in action during the Sprint (image source: Stanislav Kraslinikov/Getty Images)

The Frenchman who has dominated the sprints during this season's World Cup watched on as opponent after opponent missed shots, before crossing the line with a time of 23:50.5 seconds to set the target for everyone to chase. 

Doll shoots clear to surge into provisional gold

Competitors came and went, with none challenging Fourcade's time once they had accumulated a miss on the range. 

It became clear that somebody had to hit ten out of ten targets to take first spot, and that man proved to be Benedikt Doll who smashed Fourcade's mark by 25 seconds to seemingly claim gold despite 23 racers starting after the German.

Bø falls agonisingly short in frantic finish

Following on from Doll's perfection at the range, another of the faster skiers in Johannes Thingnes Bø did likewise and coming out of the standing shoot he held a nine second lead over the German.

That advantage was then cut to six seconds halfway through the final 3.3km lap, and once Emil Hegle Svendsen saw one of his shots miss the target it became a two-horse race for the gold medal.

Bø, being willed on by the Norwegian coaches dotted around the course, maintained his lead at the second checkpoint, before it plummeted to just three seconds with 1.1km left for him to ski.

The heavy snow was not aiding his cause however, and when he came into the stadium it looked like he would fall just short of Doll's time. That proved to be the case, and despite giving it everything, his dive across the line stopped the clock 0.7 seconds short of his opponent's and he was forced to make do with silver, ahead of Fourcade who claimed an impressive bronze despite facing two penalty laps due to his shooting errors. 

Sunday sees both the Men's and Women's Pursuit races take place, where the start order will be dictated to by the Sprint finishes, giving Doll and Bø an excellent chance at more medals.