Press-conference dedicated to the start of the IBU Cup Final 2017/18 was held today in the Regional information center “Ugra”. The Opening ceremony of the IBU Cup Final takes place this evening at 07:00 p.m. and tomorrow the athletes will race for the first time in a new discipline – super sprint.
The speakers of the event were director of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Ugra Igor Gubkin, executive director of the IBU Cup Final 2017/18 Valeriy Radchenko, race Director IBU Cup Felix Bitterling, vice-president of the Russian Biathlon Union and coordinator of the competitions Vadim Melikhov. Officials told what spectators and athletes should expect from the venue in Khanty-Mansiysk and how to watch the races – up-close and on television.
“Big biathlon indeed has returned to Khanty-Mansiysk. We are happy to welcome 19 teams that will compete during four days. First of all we are expecting great performances, because biathlon is probably the most entertaining sport, and of course we expect victories from our athletes. After the IBU Cup Final we will host Russian National Championships, so March is fully packed with competitions. We can’t guess what will be in the future, but we will work for Khanty-Mansiysk to remain a capital of biathlon, both in Russia and worldwide” – said director of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Ugra Igor Gubkin.
Numerous times Khanty-Mansiysk have held biathlon events from regional competitions to World Championships. However, the IBU Cup will take place in Ugra for the first time. Therefore the organizers and local fans will have to present the region to new guests.
“A big part belongs to the spectators, that they cheer not for one athlete, but for all biathletes that came here. Things are different at the World Cup, where everyone know each other well. Here we have a new group, that will rule the future. The things we show them now are the things they will return with. There are many factors, but a big role is up to the spectators and their reactions on the results, the feedback in media. We have to ask for the opinion of the athletes more often, that will be the guarantee of a warm relationship. What to expect? There will be interesting races, new meetings and also a new dicipline”, – said the vice-president of Russian Biathlon Union Vadim Melikhov.
As it was remarked by Valery Radchenko, the Director of the AI UgraMegaSport, this year it will be unprecedentedly easy for fans to enjoy the spectacular biathlon races and to cheer on athletes from the stands. The broadcast of the competitions will be carried out by the regional TV company ‘Ugra’ as well as by the TV Channel ‘Match! Nash Sport!’. Some of the races will be shown live, some of them will be available as recorded videos. This decision is partly explained by the IBU World Cup that will be taking place at the same time. We would like to invite all the guests and residents of the region to attend the competitions. The entrance to the stadium is free of charge, except for the North Stand that requires a ticket that costs 100 rubles. Also, I would like to address some words to the journalists: please, take this opportunity to report on the races and other events that are being staged as part of the IBU Cup. It is true indeed that now we are welcoming the best young athletes, the future generation of biathletes, so to say. It is possible that some of them will become bright stars of the world biathlon in the future.’
“This is the first time ever that in an IBU event super sprint would be conducted. So actually you have like a world premiere here in Khanty-Mansiysk. Super sprint is made of two parts – qualification and final. An 800 meter loop is used, in the qualification is a single start, each athlete shoots one time prone and one time standing during three loops of 800 meters. Then top 30 from the qualification will be in the field of the final. The final is a mass-start. Four times shooting, two times prone, two times standing. So it will be a very fast competition, very exciting for the spectators, especially in the final. The organizers did a great job with this 800 meters loop, its not so easy to find a good 800 meters loop in such a big stadium, but they prepared an excellent loop with very exiting downhills and a though uphill before the shooting range, – race Director IBU Cup Felix Bitterling told the journalists. He also shared what biathlon fans all over the world associate with Khanty-Mansiysk. – I think everybody knows the bridge from Khanty-Mansiysk with this big arc and also very special is this final loop when you’re coming to finish. I think this is what most people connect with Khanty-Mansiysk besides cold temperatures and good snow conditions”.
Tomorrow, March 14, at 11:00 a.m. the woman qualification of the first super sprint in IBU’s history will be held. Later, at 01:00 p.m. the qualification will start for men. The same day at 05:45 and 07:15 p.m. the final races will take place.