Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Denise Herrmann won the women’s biathlon World Cup sprint before empty stands in Nove Mesto on Thursday.
Races in the Czech venue are being held behind closed doors as a result of the coronavirus, and only team officials and media were at the event, with TV interviews conducted at a distance.
Normally some 100,000 spectators would have attended the four days of races at the venue, and organizers, who had erected additional spectator seating, estimate a loss of 2.5 million euros (2.8 million dollars).
Herrmann hit all the targets to beat France’s Anais Bescond, who was also error-free, over the 7.5 kilometres for her sixth World Cup win.
“I probably need it to be quiet around me,” she quipped in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF. “It’s no disadvantage to be calm and focused at the shooting range, I thought.
“But joking aside it would have been cool to experience the atmosphere here.”
Czech Marketa Davidova was third at 49.7 after one miss.
World Cup overall title holder Dorothea Wierer of Italy was well out of contention in 24th but continues to lead the overall standings on 736 points, ahead of Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg (651) and Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff (647).
Men’s and women’s relays are scheduled at the venue on Friday.