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Nikolai Ananiev:
"Visit us even today!"

18 Apr 2012

In 2013, Minsk cycle track, one of the three sports facilities of the Minsk Arena centre, is hosting UCI Track Cycling World Championships. General director of the largest sports centres of Belarus Nikolai Ananiev told us about all the aspects of the forthcoming event.

— Mr. Ananiev, at first, please tell us if you expected the news that Minsk Arena was chosen as the main venue for the Track Cycling World Championships?

— I would say at once, that this news wasn’t sudden. We knew that there were several objective reasons for the successful application process. First one is the achievements of our sportsmen. Tsylinskaya, Kirienko, Lisovski, Sharakova, Panarina — all these athletes has already won at the Olympics, world Championships and World Cup rounds. The second one is the venue itself. The cycle track is a unique facility for our country; it was constructed accordingly to all the international standards, being one of the best tracks in Europe. This fact was confirmed by Olga Panarina, who managed to show there the best time in the history of cycling, in 500-metre’s track time trial. Thirdly, in 2009, Belarus hosted the European Championships. This has put us even closer to the world event. Last year, we demonstrated all the facilities of the cycle track and the entire Minsk Arena centre to the inspection committee, which appreciated our work carried out. The International Cycling Union appreciated our preparations and was convinced of our ability to host the event in Minsk on the highest level. These are major reasons for the positive decision, made by the UCI, I think. Naturally, the Belarusian application underwent a long way, being coordinated by the Government, Sports and Tourism Ministry, Minsk City Executive Committee, as far as this event is significant for cycling and the development of the entire country. It costs much to see the strongest track riders of the world.

— Has the infrastructure of the Minsk Arena has been ready so far to host the event?

— As the general Manager of the centre, I can say that we can host the contest even today. Of course, every sports event has its own peculiarities. But we manage to foresee all the things. Let’s say, today we host the World Figure Skating Championships among junior athletes, and some days ago the centre hosted the popconcert. UCI inspectors were excited by our quick ability for such a complex transformation and said that European venues should adopt our experience. There are no such complexities with the cycle track. We may host different cultural and entertaining events inside but the track surface is never been touched, being used by the riders only. If someone steps it in the wrong footwear, we treat this as the emergency situation. Due to peculiar care of it, the track is always ready-to-use. Concerning urban infrastructure, Minsk has already proved its highest approach to the holding of different sports events.

— Tell us some words about the European Track Cycling Championships in Minsk, in 2009.

— It was a very good sports feast. The specialists had all the facilities to work during the event, while sportsmen showed their best results. I’m sure that during the World Championships, the Cycling Federation of Belarus will do its best to enhance sincere interest of fans. I think this event will attract even more fans from different countries, than the European one.

— It’s not a secret that people abroad know little about Belarus. Is it a real problem?

— During preliminary process our guests made sure that there are really good conditions for the world-class competitions, in terms of security, services and infrastructure, etc. Even specialists from Japan, who searched for exotic Belarus on the world map, were excited. Though, we are situated in the heart of Europe. I guess, we haven’t known how to represent the country; we need to acquire new experience in this sphere and we have already started to accumulate it. After putting Minsk Arena center into operation, many foreign visitors have enriched their image of Belarus. Many sportsmen come there for training, on cycle track or skating stadium. Many world sports stars are frequent visitors to Belarus, like the Dutch skater and the Olympic champion Sven Kramer. The same thing happens in cultural ties. And I’m sure that the World Championships in Minsk wouldn’t be treated as exotics.

— Minsk Arena is a multifunctional centre. Is it easy to synchronize different events held in it?

— The complex consists of three sports facilities, with arena itself, skating rink and cycle track. Every facility is a separate worldclass construction. Of course, as far as they represent one centre, this makes its maintenance more complicated. If one of them is hosting any event, it doesn’t mean that two others do not operate. There are days, when we receive three sports events on the republican level. This puts serious requirements on the level of service. Usual for us is the situation when 15 thousand spectators enjoy the hockey match of the Continental Hockey League. They should be met, accompanied to the stands and accommodated. At the same time, athletes are training on the second arena, and the third arena is hosting another competition. And this every activity demands for our constant attention. Only a good team-work can provide the quality of the organizational process.

— Minsk Arena has become a major venue for international competitions. Has this become a certain trend?

— I’m sure, yes. The competitions like the World Track Cycling Championships give a chance to both Minsk Arena and Belarus to show our possibilities to the entire world. A very important thing here is accommodation of guests. Close to the centre, there are «Yubileynaya», «Planeta», «Victoria», «Europe» and «Minsk» hotels. Three hotels are being constructed right by the Minsk Arena. This creates a unique infrastructural surrounding, when all sportsmen and guests can be accommodated close to the Championships’s venue. Catering is another issue. I have travelled to many countries, and have seen different approaches to catering. Our catering service is none the worse. Our guests from international organization usually dine right in the centre and they always state a very good quality of our food.

— What influence of the World Championships on the Belarusian sports and cycling in particular do you predict?

— Hosting any world competition gives stimulates the development of sports. And when the athletes, who represent your country, show their best and appear on the award podium, supported by their friends, fans, and families, and the national flag is being raised, I can compare these emotional moments with no others. Such an event is of a great importance for the popularization of sports. And I can find no other answer.

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© Belarusian Cycling Federation, 2012