Nearly 100 skiers from 13 countries will be in the Russian city of Khanty Mansiysk this weekend for the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (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.
After winning 38 medals, including 12 gold, in 32 medal events across both disciplines in Vancouver, Russia will start as strong favourite to win the most medals on home territory, especially as they build towards the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Amongst the Russian skiers expected to put in a good showing in Khanty Mansiysk is Vancouver multi Paralympic gold medalist Irek Zaripov.
In his last major event before these Championships, Zaripov won three out of four races in the Men’s Sitting category at the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Cup Finals in Germany to secure both the Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Cup titles.
After scoring a perfect score of 700 points in the Biathlon World Cup season, Zaripov’s teammate the visually impaired skier Mikhalina Lysova is also expected to be a major medal contender at the Championships.
Located in Western Siberia, Khanty Mansiysk has an impressive record of hosting winter sport events including various IBU Biathlon World Cups, and the 2003 and 2011IBU Biathlon World Championships.