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30 years of World Cup competitions in Kontiolahti

Many things have changed since the first World Cup competitions were organized in Kontiolahti in 1990. However, one central pillar has remained: the joyful spirit of working together. That's what KontU is known for.

- The Talkooporukka team is a really warm-hearted family, they do a lot of hard work. The heart of the club is beating, the chairman of the Kontiolahti Athletes Kimmo Turunen is delighted.

The joy of working together is also good now that I am organizing the World Cup for the 12th time in Kontiolahti. In addition to them, two World Cup competitions (1999 and 2015) and three Junior World Cup competitions (1996, 2005 and 2012) have been organized since 1990. And that's not all: Since 2007, more than 130 competitions have been held at the stadium and more than 30,000 competition performances have been clocked at the games.

Turuse has relatively recent experience of how the club spirit in an association of less than 200 members absorbs itself. In 2014, his daughter, who was in the first grade, learned about eco-gun shooting at school, which prompted the daughter to suggest to her father the shooting club organized by KontU.

- It quickly became clear that this is pretty cool, there is a good mood in the group. Then I asked if I could come to the 2015 World Championships to do something, Turunen remembers the beginning of his "contagion".

Along the way, conditions have been developed with different operators. The stadium, built in 1990, was rebuilt in 2013–14, the shooting bench was renewed in 2011. Currently, the main stand can hold 4,500 people, the track stand 10,000 people.

Kontiolahti Athletes have quite a World Cup streak ahead of them, when the opening competitions of the next two cup seasons after March 2020 will be held in Kontiolahti. Turunen is excited about the future.

– For a long time, we have been doing quite a lot of things right. We have developed, we have created a culture. It's quite a show of trust. Tradition has been built and hard work has been done, says Turunen.

And development is not limited only to organizing world cups. The cooled track that opens the ski season in October has guaranteed skiing conditions, and there has also been an investment in coaching. The club has hired a head coach who is also the Finnish Biathlon Union's youth Olympic coach. Most of the national team lives or trains in the region and thus gets to enjoy World Cup-level conditions every day.

Photo: Petri Kiukas