Canadian biathlete Megan Bankes makes history at junior world championship

Megan Bankes made history on Thursday, becoming the first Canadian female to win the gold medal at the Biathlon Junior World Championships.

Calgarian 1st Canadian female to win Biathlon Junior World Championships

Megan Bankes, centre, celebrates her gold medal on the podium on Thursday. (Source: @IBU_Junior/Twitter)

Megan Bankes made history on Thursday, becoming the first Canadian female to win the gold medal at the Biathlon Junior World Championships. 

The 19-year-old from Calgary put in a perfect day of skiing and shooting to win the junior women's 12.5 kilometre individual race with a time of 37:22.0 on Thursday in Bresno-Osrblie, Slovakia.

"It is pretty exciting," Bankes said in a release. "This is the first time I've shot 20 for 20. It never crossed my mind but to be the first Canadian to win is very cool." 

It was the second straight day a Canadian reached the top of the podium at the championship as Sherbrooke, Que., native Leo Grandbois won the youth men's individual race on Wednesday. Canada had never previously won back-to-back gold at the international youth and junior event. 

"I watched Leo yesterday and gained a lot of inspiration from him," Bankes said. "I saw how calm he was on the range and just felt if he can do it then I can too. I just wanted to go out there – shoot clean and ski fast."

Bankes finished 48 seconds ahead of Austria's Julia Schwaiger, who claimed silver with a time of 38:09.9 (0+0+0+1). Germany's Anna Weidel took the bronze at 38:42.0 (0+1+0+0). 

The Canadian entered Thursday's competition on a high after winning the silver medal at the Junior IBU Cup in the Czech Republic just two weeks ago.

"I shot with a lot of confidence today. It came really easy," Bankes said. "I had an early start bib so had to wait around a bit, and was nervous waiting for the other girls to finish. I kept peaking at the results, but I was the only one who shot clean and skied fast so I knew I had a pretty good chance at winning."

Other Canadian finishes included Prince George, B.C.'s Emily Dickson in 28th while Whitehorse's Nadia Moser was 41st. Charlotte Hamel of Sherbrooke, Que., did not finish the competition. 

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