An interview with Race Director IBU Cup Felix Bitterling:
– Felix, what is IBU Cup about?
– IBU Cup is the second-level event series from IBU, just underneath the World Cup and above the newly-created Junior Cup. So we are right in the middle. Khanty-Mansiysk hosts the final event of the series where all the globes for the season’s total score and so on are given.
– How many times have you been to Khanty-Mansiysk before?
– Quite a few times, I don’t know. Seven or eight. First time, I think, was in 2010, just before the World Championships 2011. First visit was together with Vadim Melikhov and Franz Berger who were technical delegates here. This hook which is leading to the finish didn’t exist. And when we were here, I think it was September of something, there was also no construction. The organizers were telling us that it will be ready and everything will be fine. We were not sure at all about this. It seemed strange to finalize something like this in the middle of the winter but they did it.
I can say that Khanty is for sure one of the places where you can see that they are really eager to let’s say check out other places and are motivated to learn and to develop further. I can say that each time I was in Khanty-Mansiysk there was something new in comparison to the time I was here before.
– Each biathlon stadium is unique. What is special about Khanty-Mansiysk?
– It’s two points. First of all, it is a famous bridge which is also in each logo and this really steep uphill before you come to the shooting range. It is very tough for the athletes, so I am not sure that they like it too much but that is one of the characteristics of Khanty for sure.
– The biathlon season often ends in Khanty-Mansiysk. Why our city is chosen to host this kind of events?
– First of all, you have a very experienced organizing committee which means they can handle this really enlarged group of media at the final normally. And the most important reason is that you have good snow and weather conditions in March which is not so easy to find in other places.
– Do you personally like to be here in Khanty-Mansiysk?
– Yes, I like it. I have a lot of friends in the meantime as I was really often in Russia. I have one year visa each time. So I like to be here, I like the people, they are very friendly and also the fans are really keen about biathlon and there’s a lot of enthusiasm. Great to be a part of this!