In about nine months time, on March 10–13, Otepää will host a BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon stage. This is the first time the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon stage is held in the Baltics. The International Biathlon Union (IBU) carried out an inspection at Tehvandi Sports Center to assess their readiness to host the World Cup stage.
Otepää has not organised any BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon stages before, however, their organizing committee has years of experience in organizing international sports events. "Having been in Otepää for a little less than 24 hours, I can say that everything here seems even better than what I was told by colleagues who have been involved in organizing other races here before," said Borut Nunar, BMW IBU World Cup Race Director. He finds the Tehvandi Sports Center as well as the surrounding nature excellent. "The organizers are also well prepared, so I am very satisfied," Nunar added.
Tehvandi Sports Center underwent a major refurbishment a year and a half ago, with the lighting reconstruction and a new media tunnel with auxiliary facilities. "The main tasks have been completed, but there are still some minor jobs to be done," said Jaak Mae, Director of Tehvandi Sports Center. He added that a number of temporary solutions, such as maintenance facilities, additional tribunes and tents, must be provided before the start of the event. One of the objectives of the inspection was to make sure that the structure of the stadium and tracks are suitable for television broadcasting as well. "We will definitely consider relocating the protective walls of the shooting range so as to create better conditions for TV broadcasting," said Mae.
The organizers of the event find the advice from the International Biathlon Union (IBU) a great help. "Borut Nunar, the World Cup Race Director, was highly satisfied with the preparation work done so far, the compactness of the Tehvandi Sports Center, and our well maintained facilities," said Aivar Nigol, Chairman of the Otepää BMW IBU World Cup Organizing Committee. "We are interested in getting as many suggestions and tips from the IBU representatives as possible to organize the best Biathlon World Cup stage," said Nigol.
The BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon stage will be held in Otepää on March 10–13, 2022. The four-day competition includes sprint, mass start, mixed relay and single mixed relay. The shooting range tribune might still have some available seats for Thursday and Friday. The large stadium tribune will most likely be sold out before the start of the new biathlon season as well. You can also watch the race by the track.