Svendsen beats Bjoerndalen again - Germans win relay

( dpa )- Emil Hegle Svendsen beat his mentor Ole Einar Bjoerndalen in a sprint to the finish line of the mass start race to claim his second gold at the biathlon world championships.

Svendsen, 22, denied Bjoerndalen a record-tying 11th worlds gold overall when he won the Norwegian duel, with Russia's Maxim Tchoudov third on the podium of the 15-kilometres race.

The championships then ended with the German women living up to their top billing to defend the relay title with Martina Glagow, Andrea Henkel, Magdalena Neuner and Kati Wilhelm ahead of Ukraine and France.

The win also assured the Germans of first place in the medal table like in 2007, as they garnered five gold, one silver and two bronze. Henkel (sprint, pursuit, relay) and Neuner (mass start, mixed relay, relay) had three golds each in Ostersund.

Norway finished with 3-5-1 and Russia had the most medals overall with a 3-3-5 tally.

While Svendsen won the 20km gold ahead of the 34-year-old Bjoerndalen in a race against the clock, Sunday's duel was a true duel for supremacy and its outcome indicated a possible changing of the guard.

Svendsen clocked 36 minutes 12.6 seconds, with Bjoerndalen 0.4 seconds behind and Tchoudov 24.9 seconds adrift. The two Norwegians had one penalty loop each, while Tchoudov missed three targets in the shooting range.

Svendsen leaves Ostersund with the two golds and a relay silver while Tchoudov completed his medal collection which also includes sprint and relay gold plus pursuit silver.

Bjoerndalen, meanwhile, failed to tie German Frank Luck and Russia's Alexander Tikhonov on 11 golds, but with medals in every race he competed in (pursuit gold, 20km, mass start, relay silver, and sprint bronze) now has an staggering overall tally of 10 gold, nine silver and nine bronze.

With the championship races also part of the World Cup, Bjoerndalen maintained his lead with 735 points from Russian Dmitri Yaroshenko (563) en route to a historic fifth title.

In the women's 4x6km relay, Germany led from start to finish and could even afford one penalty loop from Neuner en route to a comprehensive victory in 1:10:12.6 hours.

Ukraine trailed by 30.9 seconds and Sandrine Bailly anchored France to bronze, 1:35.7 off the pace, beating Russia whose Albina Akhatova lost two minutes due to a rifle malfunction.

The World Cup now moves to South Korea for the first time for five races in Pyeongchang, starting with a men's sprint on February 27.

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