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Anders Besserberg: “We are grateful to the residents of the Ugra capital for the warm welcome and hospitality”

The solemn opening ceremony of the World Cup Biathlon Final took place at the Entertainment Center “Arena-Ugra” yesterday, March 14. The ice arena which seats 5.5 thousand people was completely filled up by the beginning of the event.
The first for the spectators to see was a multilevel scene and impressing decorations with a deer as a main element – the symbol of speed and stamina. When the deer “woke up” the show started.

As it was announced, the ceremony was very spectacular. Video projections, laser show, near 400 extras, air acrobat and many other things made the ceremony the unforgettable performance, which will stay in guests’ memory for a long time.  Theatrical performance took place on several grounds simultaneously: main stage, “balconies” and on the ice. The art background group didn’t stop to amaze spectators with new reformations and striking clothes.

The official part started with the greeting letter of Vitaly Mutko, the Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister of the Russian Federation. “For three days one of the best biathlon centers of the world will become the final battle scene of the best shooting skiers of the planet! In intense struggle the competition for the Crystal Globes will end. I am confident that uncompromising struggle on the track and shooting range will surely impress everyone from the many millions of biathlon fans!”

Natalya Komarova, the Ugra Governor, welcomed the guests with a poem of a local poet Uvan Shestalov. She noticed that during the years of competitions biathlon became a ski jump into the professional sport for thousands of Ugra children; and Khanty-Mansyisk became a world biathlon capital. “Thanks to biathlon we have more and more friends. On the World Cup Final we are waiting for 36 thousands of fans.  To see Ugra – to fall in love with Russia! Welcome to the Khanty-Mansiysk Atonomous Okrug!”

President of the International Biathlon Union (IBU), Anders Besseberg thanked the governing body of the Autonomous Okrug and Russian Biathlon Union for holding the Biathlon World Cup Final in Khanty-Mansiysk. “We are grateful to the residents of the Ugra capital for the warm welcome and hospitality that they always show. When the Winter Sports Center named after A. Filipenko has been renovated – it has become one of the best in the world. The winners of the IBU World Championships Biathlon which took place in Khanty-Mansiysk the last year have come here again, but this time they will fight for points. The organizing committee has done everything to organize a fair fight”- concluded Besseberg.
After that, the parade of the participating countries took place. Volunteers of the World Cup walked along the perimeter of the stage with the flags of the participating countries. After was the traditional raising of the IBU flag took place. The right to raise the main symbol of the biathlon starts was given to the hosts of the international competition – the Russian national team athletes: Svetlana Sleptsova, Evgeny Ustyugov, Evgeny Garanichev, Andrey Makoveev, Dmitry Malyshko and Anton Shipulin.
A colorful theatrical sketch of the biathletes grueling race on the marathon track from start to finish became the closing of the program. The action took place at all scenic stages. The Performance told about the origin of biathlon and it was compared to the traditional hunting of the peoples of the North.
After the opening ceremony Anders Besseberg said in an informal atmosphere that ceremony was great. “I wish us all an exciting final. Let the three competition days be such a memorable event for all the biathlon fans as Ruhpolding was”- said the president of the International Biathlon Union.

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Medal count
Belarus 2 1 3
France 2 2
Germany 1 3 4
Norway 1 1 1 3
Ukraine 1 1 2
Finland 1 1 2
Sweden 1 1
Russia 1 1

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