From 23 January to 1 February 2009, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships will take place in Vuokatti, Finland. Over 100 athletes from 20 countries will compete in both sports.
"Athletes from all over the world will come together to be part of this unique and challenging sporting experience and experience the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality”, said IPC President Sir Philip Craven, who will attend the Opening Ceremony of the event on Friday.
The event is organized by the Vuokatti Sport Institute with the support of the National Paralympic Committee of Finland, the Municipality of Sotkamo and the IPC Nordic Skiing Sport Technical Committee, as well as other partners and sponsors.
The World Championships programme contains both Men’s and Women’s events in the Nordic disciplines of Biathlon and Cross-Country for sitting, standing and visually impaired categories. Up to six different races are held each day providing plenty of action for spectators along the slopes of Vuokatti.
Cross-Country Skiing was on the programme already at the first Paralympic Winter Games in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, whereas Biathlon was introduced in Lillehammer in 1994. Both sports are governed by the IPC through the IPC Nordic Skiing Sport Technical Committee following modified rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
The 10km, 12.5km and pursuit Biathlon events will be contested on 25 and 31 January with the Cross-Country events (various distances in classic and free technique) on 26-29 January. The championships will conclude on 1 February with the Classic Sprint Cross-Country events and a Closing Ceremony.