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Over the course of four days, the program of the Kontiolahti Games includes relays, speed races and pursuits. Photo: Piia Kinnunen.


Biathlon World Cup in Kontiolahti: Four days of sports celebration

In the program of the World Cup competition, 3.-6. March has six starts from Thursday to Sunday.

The Biathlon World Cup tour arrives in Finland and Kontiolahti from the Beijing Olympics and continues to Otepää, Estonia. The program includes the women's relay on Thursday, the men's relay on Friday, the sprint races on Saturday and the pursuits on Sunday.

—Six starts in four days brings an electric atmosphere. There will be plenty of fireworks, says the deputy director of the event Jarno Lautamatti.

From fall to spring

The competition calendar for the 2021-22 season was changed last spring. According to the original plan, Kontiolahti was supposed to organize the opening of the season. When Kontiolahti's turn moved to March, it also meant that there are two more race starts in Finland than there would have been at the start of the season.

—In Kontiolahti, the winners of the Beijing Winter Olympics and other medalists will participate. The World Cup season turns to its decisive moments at the same time as the days get longer, says the director of the event Sami Leinonen.

Finnish athletes' excellent early season has attracted well-deserved attention. Several Finnish placements in the top ten in the previous World Cup competitions do not seem bad for the organizers of the competition either.

—The starting points are delicious for home games, says Leinonen.

More than 30 years of Kontiolahti

Kontiolahti will host the World Cup twice this year. After the March games, the tour will return to Finland already in November-December, when the opening competition of the 2022-23 season will be held in Kontiolahti. The 2024-25 season will also open in Kontiolahti.

—For the first time, the World Cup was organized in Kontiolahti in 1990. We are currently on a streak of six World Cup events in five years. The competition among event organizers is fierce, and the tight chain of events is proof that we have succeeded in doing things right in Finland, says Kimmo Turunen, chairman of the Kontiolahti Sportsmen's Association, which organizes the events.