Johannes Thingnes Bø displayed great speed on the last loop to ensure Norway won the first gold at the IBU World Championships ©Getty Images

Norway's Olympic hero Johannes Thingnes Bø led them home to the first gold medal of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships in Oberhof after a dramatic last loop tussle with Italy’s Tomasso Giacomel.

It was Bø's speed which proved decisive and he was able to celebrate with teammates Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Sturla Holm Laegreid after crossing the line in 1hour 4:41min to claim the miixed relay title.

The Norwegians had been tipped for success, particularly in the absence of the Russians, and their eventual margin of victory was 11.6 seconds over Italy who took silver in 1:04:53.5 

France won bronze with a time of 1:05:37.8, edging Austria out of the medals by only three seconds.

For Bø it was another golden chapter in an illustrious career which saw him win four Olympic golds at Beijing 2022.

He has maintained that form this season with six IBU World Cup wins to lead the overall individual standings from Laegreid.

He was quick to pay tribute to his World Cup rival for his efforts on the third leg.

"Sturla made the greatest race to put us in front; from there it was quite hard…it was a great team effort," Bø said.

"It was changing all the time, I was afraid to lose the Gold medal in the first stage. We fought to the end."

Competition in Oberhof continues on Friday with the women’s 7.5 kilometres sprint.