Ahead of the start of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships 2011, the Local Organizing Committee held a press conference on 31 March in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
Attendees included Pavel Kolobkov, Deputy Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy of Russia, Lev Seleznev, Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) Vice-President, and Viktor Maigurov, Director of Physical Culture and Sports Department of Ugra. All spoke about the preparations for the Championships in Russia and Ugra.
Speaking about the importance of the event for Russia and for Russian sports, Pavel Kolobkov said that the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships would undoubtedly become one of the most important preparatory stages before the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014.
Pavel Kolobkov said: “Russia hosts an event of this magnitude for the first time. Besides the contests themselves, we get the experience in organizing great competitions for people with a disability.
“We are glad to host the Championships, as for us it is the celebration of physical culture and sport. It is also important that the competitions are taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk, the city where the Biathlon World Championships were held a few weeks ago. We have done a lot for the development of sports, including adaptive sport.”
Lev Seleznev, the RPC Vice-President, said that, the phrase “for the first time” would be heard often during the Championships. “For the first time in our country, for the first time in Khanty-Mansiysk the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships are held. I call them all-powerful, their incredible strength of spirit can be observed during the competitions."
Viktor Maigurov, the Director of Physical Culture and Sports Department of Ugra, told about the work done in a very short time. “Due to the World Championships Biathlon experience we managed to prepare to the next competition better, taking all kinds of imperfections into account.
“We tried to make everything comfortable: hotels, sport areas, the whole city. Together with International Paralympic Committee, Russian Paralympic Committee and Ministry of Sport we get “fully armed” for the Championships, as the biathletes say.”
Nearly 100 skiers from 13 countries are in the Russian city of Khanty Mansiysk for the 2011 IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships.
Taking place from 2 to 10 April the event is the first World Championships in the two sports since the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.