Go to the start!
Christian Breuer: We Can Start the Competition Today
January 8. Two days before the start of the European Speed Skating Championships, Uralskaya Molniya Ice Palace hosted a press conference with representatives of the International Skating Union, referees and national teams.
Roland Maillard (SUI), representative of the International Skating Union and ISU Council member, is certain that the Ural ice will be fast and will bring many surprises to fans and specialists. ‘There are a lot young athletes in the post-Olympic season. I am looking forward to exciting races and new names,’ says Roland Maillard.
Christian Breuer (GER), ISU Speed Skating Technical Committee Representative also thanked the city for their efforts in quick recovery of the venue after the damage sustained with the fall of a meteorite in 2013: ‘After the meteorite fell, we at the ISU were concerned more about the people who might have suffered, and not so much about the venue itself. Luckily, nothing horrible happened. The organizers have renovated the arena, its roof and the walls. Now everything, including the little details, is ready for the competition. Wecanstarttheheatseventoday’.
Ivan Dyakov (RUS), Assistant Referee Ladies, notes that both the athletes and referees should be comfortable in Chelyabinsk. ‘Chelyabinsk is one of Russia’s skating capitals. Most Chelyabinsk referees worked at the Sochi Olympics and made the core of the Sochi team. I am positive that the international referees will enjoy the conditions created here.‘
Ksenia Shantseva, General Secretary of the Russian Skating Union, remarked that Chelyabinsk deserved the right to host the European Championships thanks to an excellent organization of the World Cup competition in 2011. Successful staging of the continental championships may enable the city to bid for other major tournaments in the future.
Peter Novak, Czech Republic Team Leader, also recalled the World Cup competition in Chelyabinsk. ‘I have never seen such a World Cup as the one held in Chelyabinsk in 2011, with so many people attending even Group B competitions. I believe that there will be just as many fans at the European Championships. You have an excellent venue: it’s inexpensive but pretty. When I first got here, I thought how nice it would be to have such an arena at home, in the Czech Republic,’ Czech Team representative notes.
Chelyabinsk native Anna Piskunova, ISU Speed Skating Events Coordinator, remarks that the upcoming tournament will have a special significance for her personally: ‘The event in Chelyabinsk is something special. This season there were four World Cup competitions already, and starting with the very first events I had athletes coming to me and asking questions about Chelyabinsk. Everyone said they’re looking forward to this tournament.’The political issues were also discussed. The participants of the press conference, answering a question whether the pressure on Russia is felt in international sports organizations, replied in the negative, saying that sports should not be mixed with politics. ‘The Organizing Committee is neutral to the statements of boycotting the event for political reasons made by a Dutch coach,’ comments Ksenia Shantseva. She also specifies that all athletes are provided with equal conditions in Chelyabinsk