From left, Czech representatives Markéta Davidová, Lucie Charvátová and Tereza Voborníková during training before the Biathlon World Cup, February 28, 2023, Nové Město na Moravě, Žďársko.
Nové Město na Moravě (Žďársko) – President of the Czech Biathlon Union Jiří Hamza believes that the World Cup in Nové Město na Moravě will be a successful warm-up before the World Championships, which will take place in the Vysočina Arena next year. After three events in 2020 and 2021, which were held in front of empty stands due to the anti-coronavirus measures, he is hoping for a visit between 70 and 80 thousand fans. He told journalists that the greatest interest is in Saturday's races, among which the women's relay will receive additional Olympic bronze medals from Sochi.
Photo gallery: Biathlon SP in Nové Město
“The weekend will be completely packed and we would need to inflate it here on Saturday. The stadium will be full on Thursday and Friday, but the tracks will certainly not be completely sold out. I think we could reach some 70 or 80 thousand people at the end,” said Hamza. The program will start this afternoon with the men's sprint.
The complex is undergoing renovations before the World Cup. The stands at the stadium will accommodate two thousand fewer spectators instead of sixteen thousand. Next year, however, they should already have a capacity of 17,000. The maximum attendance could now be 20 to 25 thousand in one day with fans along the track. “It's a practice session before the championship in a barracks under construction. But I hope that our racers will achieve good results and it will be a good invitation for next year,” said Hamza.
The organizers also had to change fans' tickets from the 2020 and 2021 seasons, when the races took place due to the covid-19 pandemic in front of empty stands. “Those were the sad years we saw here before. We will finish the losses only this year and the tickets could be exchanged until this week. There are still a lot of variables and hopefully people will come. When you look at the cross-country skiing world championship in Planica, it it's not as easy as it used to be,” he said and thanked the fans who did not want to return the entrance fee. According to Hamza, it was about four million crowns.
The increase in cost prices was also a complication for the host. While in the last pre-Covid SP in 2018, the budget was 63 million, according to Hamza, it is now between 80 and 85 million. “We try to save where it's least visible and the changes are effective. But at the same time we want to keep some quality, because then you can't get that mark back. Electricity, transport or food just fly up,” said Hamza. “When food becomes more expensive by 30, 40 percent, the budget will jump by a few million. Spraying the snow cost us three to four million, now it will be 10 to 15. We have to fight with that towards the World Cup. Back then there was a budget, I guess , 192 million and today we are already at 260,” said the vice-president of the International Biathlon Union.
There will be other changes before the World Cup. In addition to the stands, the lighting in the stadium and the track will be completely changed, optical cables will be stretched and the background with cells will be expanded. Tickets for the championship will go on sale in April or May. “We still have quite a lot to do. But it should be built in such a way that the next fifteen, twenty years do not have to be affected and we could organize competitions in all possible sports here,” added Hamza.
V on Saturday, she will participate with the head of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiří Kejval, at the ceremony during which Gabriela Soukalová, Veronika Vítková, Jitka Landová and Eva Puskarčíková will receive bronze Olympic medals from the relay in Sochi. In 2014, the Czech national team finished fourth when Ukraine won, but Russia was originally second, but they were later disqualified due to doping.
“I think it will be a reward. We will finally see them all together again, nine years is a long time. Value of course they lose, but the compensation for the girls is at least that they will have it in front of a full barracks,” said Hamza.