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Sergey Kushchenko: “IBU marked out Russia for the struggle against doping”

The date of the first-ever Olympic mixed relay, the debates on the «sportsmen nationality» issue and the positive remarks from the IBU on the RBU work- publishes the latest news from the international political stage. The 101st meeting of the IBU Executive Board was recently held near Salzburg. The IBU first Vice-president and RBU CEO Sergey Kushchenko summarized the results.

— One of the questions of the meeting's agenda was the date's settlement of the first Olympic mixed relay. Could you please name us the historical date?

— Of course, the mixed relay will take place in Sochi on the 18th February. The IBU Executive Board's decision is a result of protracted talks with the organizing committee and TV broadcaster — we have had to conform the date for a long time as the Sochi Games translation was scheduled long time ago.

— Have you decided anything on any other competitions held in Russia?

— Russia might have two IBU cups in the nearest two years — it hasn't been decided yet, but is moving in this direction. We have a discussion upon one of the sites — Ostrov, Russia or Otepaa, Estonia. It's obvious that we need to pull the Ostrov base's level up and maybe organize visit of a special commission. The Ostrov has a good potential and from now on also an international interest. All these should help to find stimulus and resources for the Ostrov base's reconstruction and modernization — the Russian biathlon will only benefit. Besides, in the Olympic season IBU cups could reach Ufa and Tyumen. Ufa already has the appropriate license and will easily go to the international orbit. Tyumen is progressing dramatically, if it continues the same way, IBU will certainly notice it.

— You have named even three cities, not two.
 — Russia is treated well in IBU — for example, in 2013 the IBU Executive Board will meet up in Sochi. And here is some fresh news — the IBU president Anders Besseberg has got the invitation from the ROC President Zhukov to participate at the international sport forum in Saransk and he is going to come. Last year Besseberg visited the «Russia — the sport state» forum, he was very pleased with what he had seen.

— In addition to the IBU cup in 2012 Russia will also host the summer world championship. Have you discussed any steps to prevent the tournament from turning into the simple gathering of dilettantes as it was on the last championship in Poland?

— I can't give guaranties for the championship 2011 in Czech Nove-Mesto, but in Ufa we will try to gather the solid team, so the spectators are interested.

— One of the points in agenda concerned the sportsmen' transition from one national team to another. How did you discuss this problem?

— The discussion lasted long time — there were the proposals to shorten the quarantine to one year, but Russia and Germany took the tough position. We're fighting for investments the government poured to raise and support sportsmen. The national federation should have the right to protect the regions' investments, where biathletes grew up. This question is very principal for us; we will watch the decision of the ski federation closely — they meet on the 6th of June. Experience of other sports is very important. If our colleagues decide to toughen the transition rules we would be able to say that the protection of countries and regions is the common tendency.

— What about medicine — didn't it raise any questions?

— It did, and the question was quite serious — putting the ban on those wax materials which contain carboides. Carboides could provoke cancer diseases. The Medical committee representatives demanded servicemen to work in solid masks. There were also other demands, in the result — the medical recommendations will be followed implicitly. Wax cabins and service teams will be under IBU specialists' control.

— What about the cup scores' system? Will the old system, where all the races are counted, remain?
 — No. We decided to come back to the system where the two worst results of the season are excluded. We think this system is more objective.

— Interesting…
 — And even more interesting — we discussed the weight of the bullet. During the season the Technical committee made the control measurements in different teams. The weight should be in the range of - 2,58 - 2,61, but some measurements showed the deviations from these numbers up to 2,77–2,78. But this heightens the stability of the bullet in the side wind and what about so-called spatters? This question is under control now and if such situation is ever to appear again some sanctions may follow. Let me assure you — the Russian team didn't have any complaints.

— Wouldn't it be better if the prize money gets bigger in the same way…
 — the prize money will also grow. For example, the winning team will get 4 000 euro for mixed relay. We talked a lot about the prizes of the Biathlon Award, which is already presented for several years and called «Biathlon Oscar» among the journalist. Starting from the last year this award is organized under the aegis of IBU. We discussed the subjectiveness of the estimation and decided to clarify this procedure. Communication between the Biathlon Awards organizing committee and specialists should be more intensive.

— I don't' think the Russian team is to win any international prizes, considering last season results. But I'm sure there is something to make a special mention for.
 — First of all IBU gave good remarks to Russia for the program against doping, particularly for the agreement with RusADA. Our intensive organizing work was also mentioned — last season we hosted four major international biathlon events: IBU Congress in St. Petersburg, World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk, international competition in Moscow and Petropavlovk-Kamchatsk. By the way, the next year «Champions race» could be rescheduled to the earlier date, so the sportsmen could stay in Russia after the final world cup in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Media Office RBU