On the first competition day of European Championships and World Cup final a press-conference dedicated to the very first big ski orienteering competition in Khanty-Mansiysk was held. The speakers of the press-conference were vise-president of Russian Orienteering Federation Alexander Bliznevskiy, technical delegate Sixten Sild, executive director of the competitions Valery Radchenko, and the participant, two-times world champion, winner of European and Russian Championships Sergey Gorlanov. Guests talked about the upcoming competitions, difficulties of the tracks of the Winter Sports Center, and about best ways to watch this new sport.
“Recently, International Orienteering Federation and Russian Orienteering Federation have done a lot to bring all kinds of technologies into our sport, so that you can understand all the processes that take place on a distance. We hope that Ugra residents will be able to get acquainted with this sport both on the stands of the Winter Sport Center, and by television and GPS-broadcast. The commentator will work at the stadium, and it will be possible to watch what is happening on the big screen. In addition, it was decided today that it would be possible to watch the races live on the Ugra TV channel. So we invite everyone to watch it! ” – said the vice president of the Russian Orienteering Federation Alexander Bliznevsky. He also noted that the host country, in accordance with international rules, has an additional quota: “We have two additional places in the World Cup, and we also have the right to add a national group. Hence, the team of Russia consists of nine women and eight men”.
Sixten Sild commented on the profile of the track: “The terrain in Khanty-Mansiysk is unique, it is for the elite of orienteering community. An experienced team of specialists worked on the tracks. The slopes here are very rapid and this will an advantage for those who are good at skiing. I wanted to note that the athlete from Egypt takes part in the competitions, I suppose he tried skiing even less than ten times, so this will be a real challenge for him. But still, you should pay attention to the last ten, traditionally these are the strongest athletes in the world”.
Valery Radchenko told the audience about the amount of work that was carried out by “UgraMegaSport”: “Competitions of this level are held for the first time in Ugra, but we already hosted the Russian championships last year in the Surgut region, so there’s still little experience. The titanic amount of work has been done: 58 kilometers of the track have been created, work began in the summer of 2019. The track profile was very complicated, unlike the World Cup stage in Sweden. Special equipment was purchased in preparation for the competition: a snowcat that builds tracks in the forest, a system of marks and timing. After the competition is over, it will be necessary to continue the development of this sport in our region, for example, by opening a class for children so that the entire material and technical equipment continues to work for the benefit of sport”, – said Valery Radchenko.
One of the participants of the competitions, Sergey Gorlanov, also answered questions from journalists: “Yesterday the model event was held, so it was possible to try the skis, wax and review the profile of the route, only by the piece that the organizers gave to us. I admit, we were preparing for simpler routes, because according to the reviews of skiers and biathletes, its profile looked pretty moderate, but the terrain was still very difficult and steep. There are ravines, so the results of the races will be very unpredictable. We train in the same places where both biathletes and skiers are training. For example, recently we trained together with skier Alexander Bessmertnykh and biathlete Dmitry Malyshko, and then each of us went to our starts. We also do a lot of work, like other winter sports athletes. I trained a lot, so despite tracks difficulties, today I will fight for high places. I lost the last World Cup because of illness, so I want to show a good result this year. All athletes of Russia, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria are ready to win today”, – said the athlete.
Athletes from 15 countries of the world take part in competitions: Austria, Estonia, Russia, Japan, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Sweden, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Switzerland and Finland.