The alpine skiing competitions of the Winter Deaflympics were opened in the alpine skiing center “Metallurg-Magnitogorsk”.
The event was attended by the governor of Chelyabinsk region Boris Dubrovskiy, the head of the board of directors of the OJSC “Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Company” Victor Rushnikov, the department director of the Ministry of Sport of Russia Grigoriy Kabelskiy, the president of the Russian Committee of Deaf Sports Alexander Romantsov, the minister of youth politics and sport of Bashkortostan republic Andrey Ivanyuta.
The main idea of the opening was based on the fact that the stage XVIII Winter Deaflympics in downhill skiing takes place on the land of the Urals, where the Ural River separates mainland Europe and Asia.
«I congratulate everybody on the beginning of the XVIII Winter Deaflympics. These are outstanding competitions for all deaf athletes. We hope all of you will do his best, show a great performance for the spectators and share warmth with hospitable people of Chelyabinsk region and Bashkortostan», – said Alexander Romantsov.
«We are very proud to host such important international competitions. We were working hard to make this sport event happen. I hope all the participants and spectators will get bright emotions. We will be supporting the Deaflympic team of Russia. Wish all the athletes to enjoy this sport event – let’s use the Olympic principle – the most important thing is not to win but to take part. Go, Russia!», – said Boris Dubrovskiy.
According to Victor Rushnikov, Magnitogorsk has an experience in hosting big sport events, but it’s the first time it conducts IOC-sanctioned tournament. «We prepared good trails, so I hope athletes will be able to show good results here. I am almost sure these trails will be lucky for you, the results will be high, and the spectators will greet you with cheers», – added Rushnikov.
«We all remember that Russia was holding Olympic and Paralympic games. Now in a year Russia is hosting one more major international sport event – the Winter Deaflympics. I want to thank Chelyabinsk region and Bashkortostan for their help in organizing these competitions», – said Grigoriy Kabelskiy.
Lighting Deaflympic cauldron was the key moment of the opening ceremony. The fire was carried by the merited master of sport, a many-time champion of Russia, an Olympic champion in Athens 2004 in rowing Igor Kravtsov. Then the lampion was given to a champion of Russia, a world champion 2008, a champion of the XXII Deaflympic Games 2013 in judo Natalia Drozdova. She got the honor to light the Deaflympic cauldron on the venue.
The first competitions will start on March’31. Athletes will compete in downhill.
It is worth adding that athletes from 18 countries – Russia, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Japan – have arrived to Magnitogorsk.