February 17, 2014 / 6:48 PM / 5 years ago

Soukalova happy despite difficult conditions

Czech Republic's Gabriela Soukalova leaves the shooting range during the women's biathlon 12.5 km mass start event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 17, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Czech Gabriela Soukalova won her first Olympic medal on Monday with silver in the women’s 12.5 kilometre Mass Start, finishing 20.2 seconds behind Belarussian winner Darya Domracheva.

The 24-year-old had endured a frustrating debut Olympics in Sochi, finishing fourth in both the pursuit and the individual.

But the biathlete made sure she was not going to miss out on a podium spot for a third time, despite difficult conditions.

“When I saw such a dangerous curve before the race, I thought it was going to be very difficult... don’t fall during the race,” she said.

“I’m so happy that I didn’t have any problems there. I twice saw girls fall.”

One of the pre-race favourites, Tora Berger, along with Russia’s Olga Zaitseva both failed to get to grips with the course and fell.

Soukalova, who missed one shot in the race on her final shot, faced no such problems, but she did say the conditions tested her to the limit.

“The weather conditions were hard. The weather is not ideal. It’s better for Summer Olympic Games, than for Winter Olympics.

“The snow was deep, wet and much more heavy than at the beginning of the season. I don’t like it very much.”

Editing by Ossian Shine

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