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World Championships start Feb 18

Fri, Feb  13, 2009 - By FIS

From 18th February -1st March, the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will take place in the Bohemian city Liberec (CZE). After years of intensive preparations, Liberec is ready for its grand premiere and looking forward to the event.  The forthcoming FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will be the most prestigious sports event to have taken place in the history of the independent Czech Republic.

Liberec World Championships for Nordic SkiingAltogether, 20 medal events are on schedule in Liberec, which is a new record in the history of FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Of those, Cross-Country will count for twelve (six female and six male) events, and Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined each for four. Needless to say, the 2009 Championships promise to be a superb spectacle with plenty of vivid experiences in store for about 635 participants from 62 nations, also a new record!

In Cross-Country, the first time a qualification race will take place on the opening day, 18th February for the Interval start competitions. To avoid accidents, all competitors with more than 120 FIS points (for ladies) or 90 FIS points (for men) in distance events will race a qualification over 5 km (ladies) and 10 km (men). The best 10 athletes per gender from this qualification are allowed to compete in the Interval start race. The Organizing Committee for Liberec 2009 and the competition venue - Vesec Cross-Country Center - are prepared for the World Championships. The courses with about 50 cm snow are getting their last fine-tuning and substantial snow reserves will guarantee the best conditions even if a warm weather spell should cross.

Beside the athletes and the sport, special attention is being paid to the Nordic fans who will visit these unique World Championships: "We have prepared a special social program for the fans. I am pleased to be able to invite to the Official Opening of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships at the Tipsport arena. Probably the most famous name (not from sports, of course) that spectators and ski fans will get to see there is the legendary English rock band Deep Purple", Katerina Neumannova, President of the OC and Cross-Country World Champion from Sapporo 2007 stated. "During the Championships, we will have theme days in Liberec. During these theme days, spectators will have the opportunity to meet cultures of countries such as Italy, Norway or Slovakia. A great attraction during the Slovak Day will be a concert of the popular Slovak band Elán. The Organizing Committee is preparing fan zones on the Vesec grounds which will offer not only refreshments but also music productions."

To get smoothly to the venues, the Organizing Committee is offering free public transportation in Liberec, as well transfers by tram from the neighboring town of Jablonec nad Nisou.

How to get there:  Prague International Airport is the closest airport to use for Liberec, it takes about 1,5 hours to Liberec (depending on traffic), the distance between Prague and Liberec is a bit more than 100 km and is connected with a highway.

For more information visit www.liberec2009.com 

Competitions
19.02: 10 km Classic - Interval Start ladies
20.02: 15 km Classic - Interval Start men
21.02:15 km Pursuit ladies(7.5km Classic + 7.5km Free)
22.02: 30 km Pursuit (15km Classic + 15km Free)
24.02: Sprint Free ladies/men
25.02:Team Sprint Classic ladies/men
26.02: 4 x 5 km Relay ladies (2 Classic / 2 Free)
27.02: 4 x 10 km Relay men  (2 Classic / 2 Free)
28.02: 30 km Free - Mass Start ladies
01.03: 50 km Free - Mass Start men

The reigning 2007 World Champions from Sapporo (JPN):

Ladies
Individual start 10 km free technique: Katerina Neumannova (CZE)
Mass start 30 km classical technique: Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)
Pursuit: Olga Savialova (RUS)
Team sprint free technique: Finland (R.-L. Roponen, V. Kuitunen)
Sprint classical technique: Astrid Jacobsen (NOR)
Relay: Finland (V. Kuitunen, A.-K. Saarinen, R.-L. Roponen, P. Manninen)

Men
Individual start 15 km free technique: Lars Berger (NOR)
Mass start 50 km classical technique: Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset (NOR)
Pursuit: Axel Teichmann (GER)
Team Sprint free technique: Italy (R. Pasini & C. Zorzi)
Sprint classical technique: Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR)
Relay: Norway (E. Roenning, O.-B. Hjelmeset, L.Berger, P. Northug)