The honorable guests of the official opening ceremony of IBU Cup Final 2017/18 – the governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova, the vice president of International Biathlon Union Victor Maygurov and the vice-president of Russian Biathlon Union, the coordinator of competitions Vadim Melikhov – have told journalists about the event and answered their questions.
Natalia Komarova has reminded journalists about a long-term passion for biathlon among local people: “Many times Khanty-Mansiysk has hosted major international biathlon events and now for the first time in our history we are having competitions of IBU Cup. Our cooperation with International Biathlon Union has started more than 20 years ago with signing a memorandum and a start of construction of biathlon center in Khanty-Mansiysk. Our city was the first one in Russia with an A-license biathlon stadium. At that time many skeptics thought this idea was crazy. Still the stadium was built and it became the center that raised many future champions. Many biathletes from Ugra became Olympic champions and medalists. It is impossible to take it from us. It is already a history. Yes, nowadays there are several A-license stadiums in Russian Federation. It is an effective competition that stimulates future development “.
The coordinator of Russian Biathlon Union Vadim Melikhov has told about the main novelty of the event: “The biggest surprise of this competitions is super sprint – a new discipline in the official calendar of IBU. It will consist of two parts – qualifications and finals. This is a very short and dynamic race. Today we made a test broadcast of it and watched athletes competing. The competition fascinates both participants and audience, emotions are overwhelming. The loop is just 800 meters long, athletes are always in front of the audience, they are very close to each other and everything will depend on their shooting. It is like a carousel, very difficult to define who is the first and who is the last”.
Victor Maygurov has informed about the conditions for hosting international biathlon competitions in Russia and in Khanty-Mansiysk in the future: “Russia has been applying its bids for hosting international events for more than 20 years and it will continue to do so. But currently the license of RUSADA doping agency is suspended so until it is resumed we are not able to host international biathlon events. I hope the situation will change in the nearest future. We want this unpleasant story to end and we are doing our best to solve this as soon as possible. We would like to start this story from the scratch. Anti-doping measures – is one of the main issues for International Biathlon Union. I will reveal you a secret, IBU takes much more doping tests from its athletes than even WADA. I am sure, as soon as Russia gets an opportunity to host international sport events, it will apply its bids for biathlon competitions. The right to chose the venue is given to the national federation, who is in a close contact with regional organizers. At the moment the leaders of Russian biathlon events are Tyumen and Khanty-Mansiysk. For me personally it is a special pleasure to see that this event is conducted on the highest international level. Of course, athletes are different from those participating in the World Cup, I had a phone call with IBU president Anders Besseberg and told him that everything goes smoothly. Just as we expected. Surely, this is very important”.
In the end of the meeting the governor of Ugra has assured IBU official on behalf of all biathlon lovers that Khanty-Mansiysk is ready to host any kind of big biathlon events: “The fans are looking forward to them, they want to see exciting and breathtaking races. Ugra is ready for big biathlon events and our bid to host them is permanent”.
It is to be reminded that tomorrow, on March 14, Khanty-Mansiysk will host the official world premiere of a new discipline – super sprint. Women qualification starts at 11 a.m. (local time), men qualification starts at 1 p.m. The entrance to a stadium is free of charge.