SPORTS
12/15/2013 01:19 EST | Updated 02/14/2014 05:59 EST

Canada's Smith continues to impress in biathlon World Cup with 8th-place finish

ANNECY, France - Canadian Nathan Smith finished eighth in a World Cup of biathlon pursuit event on Sunday a day after guaranteeing a spot at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Calgary's Smith charged eight spots up the leaderboard to post a time 32 minutes 41.7 seconds in the men's 12.5-kilometre pursuit competition.

"I'm very happy with it. Since last year it has been a bit of an uphill battle for me, but going into the winter season, I knew I was doing well enough to get a chance on the World Cup," said Smith following Saturday's race. "I was uncertain if I could lay down enough top-30's in such a short time span to get to the Olympics but I'm happy to have finalized my qualification for the Games.

Athletes start the pursuit time-behind-the-leader of Saturday's sprint race. Smith matched his career best on the World Cup yesterday with his second 16th place finish this year.

"Nathan has showed tremendous focus this training season. He was not happy with the results from last season and he channelled that emotion into performance," said Chris Lindsay, high-performance director of Biathon Canada. "He is meticulous, constantly challenging himself, and resolute in his desire to play the game at the highest level possible."

Norway's Johannes Thinges Boe missed one shot for a winning time of 31:43.7. Germany's Erik Lesser shot clean to claim the silver medal at 32:21.2. Russia's Anton Shipulin placed third at 32:22.8 (0+0+1+0).

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec of Shannon, Que., finished 33rd despite shooting clean to post a time of 34:02.7, while Regina's Scott Perras missed five shots on the range and was 48th (35:12.9).

Rosanna Crawford of Canmore, Alta., continues to lead the charge for the Canadian women. The 2010 Olympian jumped seven spots in the standings from Saturday's sprint to finish 19th. Crawford clocked-in at 29:52.9 (2+0+1+0) in the women's 10-kilometre pursuit.

Megan Heinicke of Prince George, B.C., was 33rd at 30:30.6, while Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, Man., was 41st at 31:10.1 (0+0+3+1), and Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., was 52nd at 33:38.2 (2+1+2+2).

Ukraine's Valj Semerenko won the women's event with a time of 28:08.4 (1+0+0+0). Russia's Irina Starykh shot clean to win the silver at 28:09.6, and Norway's Tiril Eckhoff missed one shot in four rounds of shooting to win the bronze with a time of 28:20.9.

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