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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 19:55 GMT

Bjoerndalen retains sprint title

Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen won his second biathlon gold of the Winter Games after a flawless display of marksmanship and power skiing.

He retained the 10km Olympic sprint title he won at Nagano in 1998 to rack up his third Olympic gold after taking the men's 20 km gold on Monday.

Bjoerndalen crossed the line in 24 minutes 51 seconds, more than 30 seconds faster than German Sven Fischer.

"This feels incredible. I never thought I would win"
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen

Fischler claimed the silver medal, despite one penalty lap for a missed shot.

Austrian Wolfgang Perner, who hit the target with all his 10 shots, took bronze a further 20 seconds behind Fischer.

"This feels incredible. I never thought I would win," Bjoerndalen said.

"I concentrated a lot when shooting and I think I am finally finding good form.

"There are not too many like this you have in your life. It was a perfect race. I had it today and also four years ago in Nagano."

Perner was not remotely disappointed at only finishing third as he collected his first ever Olympic medal.

He said: "You cannot imagine my joy. The fact I missed no shots at the Olympics is really great for me."

Results from this race also count as the first part of the two-leg pursuit event.

Bjoerndalen will start 28.9 seconds ahead of Fischer in Saturday's 12.5km event as he looks to complete his golden hat trick at these Olympics.

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