The Para Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals are six months away, and the federation’s technical delegate Georgy Kadykov-Orberliani said the event’s Organising Committee is on track with all preparations after an encouraging visit to Sapporo, Japan.
The World Cup Finals will take place 18-22 March 2017, when cross-country and biathlon events will be contested. Kadykov-Orberliani, along with IPC Biathlon international referee Joe Bajan, inspected the site in October and the organisers showed significant understanding about IPC requirements.
“During our inspection there was the summer national Japan Biathlon Championship at the venue. So we had the unique chance to watch the biathlon range and courses in working conditions with athletes and referees,” Kadykov-Orberliani said. “It helped us imagine how the athletes with an impairment will enjoy the courses. Standing courses are wide enough and most curves have bankings. Sit-ski courses will mostly use military roads around the shooting range. But we expect to have a couple long-curve downhills and necessary uphills.”
The inspected venue in Sapporo is the existing summer and winter biathlon venue that will host 2017 Asian Games biathlon competitions, promising a good level of facilities for teams. The biathlon stadium belongs to the Japanese Army, guaranteeing the possibility to use rifles and to organise the biathlon competition.
As for the skiing courses, Kadykov-Orberliani said: “Standing courses are very challenging and exciting, the sit-ski course should have few adjustments with the snow during the winter.”
The event will be the first time Sapporo hosts a sports event for athletes with an impairment. This will also be the first time since the Nagano 1998 Winter Paralympic Games that Japan has hosted an IPC Biathlon event.
Asahikawa – the second-largest city of the Japanese island Hokkaido after Sapporo – hosted IPC Cross-Country World Cup in February 2015, and the same group of officials are involved with next year’s World Cup Finals.
“I’ve been a technical delegate since the Asahikawa IPC World Cup in February 2015 and was happy to see the key persons from there are working with us in Sapporo, and they showcased that they have experience and knowledge about IPC requirements,” Kadykov-Orberliani said.
“It also helps that Japan’s Para Nordic skiing coach Hideki Arai has been leading the project and providing valuable expertise on Para sport to the Organising Committee.”
The next steps toward the World Cup Finals are for the Organising Committee to send updated maps with homologation data and invitations for the teams with detailed information.