Last week a small Austrian town Saalfelden, placed not far from the famous Hochfiltzen, has become the center of biathlon life. The town was a place for the IBU OC Conference. Organizers of Biathlon World Championships, IBU World Cup, IBU Cup and other biathlon competitions of season 2017/18 were discussing the new regulations and rules for conducting their events. The delegation of IBU Cup leg that will take place in Khanty-Mansiysk on March’13-19’2018 has also participated in the event. The delegates from Ugra, who came to Saalfelden, were director of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra Igor Gubkin, director of AI “UgraMegaSport” Valery Radchenko and deputy director of AI “UgraMegaSport” Oleg Dress.
The Alexander Filipenko Winter Sports Center of Khanty-Mansiysk has a reputation of one of the best biathlon stadiums in the world, it has an A-license of the International Biathlon Union. For many times it was hosting the major international biathlon events including World Championships and World Cups. Still it will be the first time IBU Cup races will take place in Khanty-Mansiysk. This article is devoted to this new for Ugra format.
About IBU Cup
IBU Cup is a series of biathlon races for male and female athletes including individual race, sprint, pursuit, mixed relay and single mixed relay. The IBU Cup in biathlon has been held since the winter seasons of 1982/83 and 1988/89, for women and men, respectively. Until the 2007/08 season this competition was called European Cup. It is the second-rank competition in biathlon after the Biathlon World Cup. The IBU Cup season lasts from November/December to March, with contests in a different venue almost every week.
IBU Cup 2017/18 will consist of 8 legs. Apart from Khanty-Mansiysk IBU Cup races will be held in Brezno-Osrblie (Slovakia), Arber (Germany), Obertilliach (Austria), Sjusjoen (Norway), Martell-Val Martello (Italy), Lenzerheide (Switzerland) and Uvat (Russia).
About IBU Cup total standings
As in the World Cup, biathletes are awarded IBU Cup points for each discipline as well as Nations Cup points separately for men and women. The competitors placed first in each discipline will be awarded IBU Cup trophies – big and small Crystal globes. Big Crystal globes will be awarded to male and female biathletes placed first in IBU Cup total standings, while winners of separate disciplines (individual, sprint, relay and pursuit) will get small Crystal globes.
National Federation, whose athletes will show the best results in the season, will win IBU Cup Nations Cup score and get IBU Nations Cup trophy. It is worth noting that the last three seasons of IBU Cup Russia was the winner of both men and women IBU Nations Cup score.
About the conditions of Russian athletes
Russian biathletes show traditionally good results in IBU Cup races. In the last five seasons men’s team of Russia has won Nations Cup four times while Russian women has become five-time winners. So it is obvious that in IBU Cup races we expect a lot of medals and victories from Russian team.
More than that, the level of sport mastership of other IBU Cup participants is almost as good as in IBU World Cup. The quota of male and female competitors of IBU World Cup for National Federations is up to 6 athletes for each race. Usually it is even lower – 3-4 persons for men’s and women’s events. That’s why countries with strong biathlon teams send many their athletes to IBU Cup races. For example, biathletes from Ugra Alexey Volkov and Svetlana Sleptsova were competing both in World Cup and IBU Cup races. Besides, in different seasons among the participants of IBU Cup were such biathletes as Benedikt Doll, Franziska Hildebrand and Sabrina Buchholz (Germany), Marte Olsbu, Tarjei Boe, Alexander Os, and Lars Helge Birkeland (Norway), Quentin Fillon Maillet (France) and many others.
About athletes from Ugra on IBU Cup
Obviously, the line-up of IBU Cup for season 2017/18 will be know later, still, the performance of biathletes from Ugra is traditionally good in this event. In season 2016/2017 athletes from Ugra Alexey Volkov and Daria Virolainen were the winners of IBU Cup total. Besides, five other athletes representing Ugra were participating in IBU Cup races. They were Petr Pashchenko, Semen Suchilov, Svetlana Sleptsova, Ekaterina Shumilova and Ekaterina Moshkova.
About getting ready for IBU Cup
The process of getting ready for IBU Cup leg in Khanty-Mansiysk has already started. Around 15 cubic meters of artificial snow was stored from the previous season. They will be used for making a snow “pillow” for future biathlon track. It will prevent the snow from melting at plus temperatures. In winter the thickness of natural snow layer is more than 1 meter.
Besides, currently all the equipment used for making a track – snow machines and groomers – is being renovated.
It is worth noting that one of the main priorities in organizing any sport event is safety and public peace. To ensure this the stadium was equipped with face-detecting facilities that will allow to identify trespassers. Explosive-snuffing devices, introscopes and other devices for public security used in crowded places to prevent terrorist attacks were bought.
About biathlon in Russia
In the coming season Russia will have three weeks of big biathlon. IBU Cup 7 will take place in Uvat on March’08-11, the next and the final leg of IBU Cup will be hosted in Khanty-Mansiysk on March’12-19. Whereas Tyumen will make its debut as a host of IBU World Cup on March’19-25. For the first time the final World Cup races will be held on biathlon stadium “Pearl of Siberia”. So the real fans of this sport will have to plan their holidays and book tickets beforehand to take a true “biathlon trip” to all three Russian legs of international competitions.