The Canadian Press - Sunday Dec. 15, 2013 11:10 ET

Nathan Smith shoots to career best 8th place for Canada

Johannes Boe, Valj Semerenko 1st in World Cup biathlon

Valj Semerenko missed just one shot en route to Sunday's win. (Jens Meyer/Associated Press)

Canadian Nathan Smith finished eighth in a World Cup of biathlon pursuit event on Sunday a day after guaranteeing as pot 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 in Annecy, France.

"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 on Saturday with his second 16th place finish this year.   

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.

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 in the women's 10-kilometre pursuit.   

Megan Heinicke of Prince George, B.C., was 33rd, while Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, Man., was 41st and Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., was 52nd.   

Ukraine's Valj Semerenko won the women's event with a time of 28:08.4. 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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