Organizers praise the World Championships: ”The best tracks in the world!”


IBU World Championships Biathlon in Kontiolahti are over now and both the Event Manager Esa Haapala and IBU President Anders Besseberg are happy with how everything went. There were 12500 spectators at the stadium on Sunday, and 88300 in total at stadium and Joensuu Market Square events.

Event Manager Esa Haapala explained that having experience helped with organizing.

”Everything went really well, thanks to the carefully made plans that were made based on 25-year experience and cooperation with our stakeholders.”

The stadium was especially full on the days when home crowd had a chance to see their favorite Kaisa Mäkäräinen. Haapala explains that the organizers are satisfied with the number of spectators.

”Of course we would have hoped to have more spectators also on the days when Kaisa wasn’t competing, but then again, Finns weren’t favorites in those ones. There were lots of Russians here but their trips are much shorter now than they used to be. I can’t be disappointed with our crowds.”

IBU President Anders Besseberg also enthused about the interest the event gathered in Kontiolahti.

”The 80 000 paying spectators we got here was a good number. In addition, I’m very happy with how many people watched these via television: for example, 6 million people in Germany. It’s a great televised sport.”

There were some small obstacles but nothing too challenging.

”We had some problems with the weather in the beginning but this is an outdoor sport. Women’s Sprint had the most difficult conditions but since Wednesday the weather has been excellent and the organizers have done a great job”, Besseberg said.

Haapala was thinking about the traffic jams and rush of the first weekend.

”We had so many people here on the first Saturday and it caused some problems but we fixed them by changing the bus schedules. And people got used to the fact that in an event like this you sometimes need to queue.”

Haapala didn’t have to think long when asked about the best moments.

”The joy of volunteers, races that went technically well and of course the sunshine we had on second week. In addition, we have the best ski tracks in the world.”

Besseberg remembered warmly women’s Individual.

”I was already sure that Gabriela Soukalova was the World Champion but then Ekaterina Yurlova went past with a big start number. A biathlon race is not over until the last competitor has finished.”

The Kontiolahti organization is now looking forward to the future.

“We want to organize major events in the future, too, and now we’ll start developing Kontiolahti to have the facilities to develop top biathletes. Life goes on after the event too!”, reminds Haapala.