On March 08 the airport of Khanty-Mansiysk has greeted the participants of the European Ski Orienteering Championships and Ski Orienteering World Cup Final which will start on Tuesday in the capital of Ugra.
Athletes from 15 countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland – had a long trip to get to Siberia.
The current leader of Ski Orienteering World Cup Magdalena Olsson of Sweden was surprised to have such a warm greeting in the airport early in the morning. Music, songs and traditional snacks are already an integral part of any arrival of the participants of sport competitions in Ugra. “This can only happen in Russia for sure! Although we had an exhausting flight – as we were flying the whole night – it is nice to see such a warm greeting early in the morning”, – says she.
The athlete visits Khanty-Mansiysk for the first time. “Of course, I’ve heard about your city before. I was watching biathlon World Cup races from this place many times. I know that the track is tough, so I am a bit nervous before the start. Still we trained hard so I hope everything will be ok. Besides, the previous World Cup stage in Sweden was quite successful for me so I suppose this event will be as good for me as the previous one”, — says Magdalena Olsson.
Nerijus Sulcys of Lithuania also came to Khanty-Mansiysk for the first time. “I am very glad to get here. I know that this city hosted many major biathlon events and we will be competing on the same stadium. I expect hard races. It is easier to ski on a flat surface, but it will be more interesting with such uphills. There was not much snow in Lithuania this season, but still I am going to show my best here”, – says Lithuanian orienteer.
This is not the first time Ugra hosts ski orienteering event. The organizing committee has an experience of hosting such competitions before – in March 2019 it conducted National Ski Orienteering Championships in Surgut region.