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Interview with Ugra Governor Natalia Komarova on preparation to XVIII Winter Deaflympics


Interview with Ugra Governor Natalia Komarova on preparation to XVIII Winter Deaflympics

- Russia takes part in Deaflympics for the first time. Natalia Vladimirovna, how come the Games are taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk?
- Deaflympic movement has a long-standing tradition in our region. Currently, Deaflympic movement in the region unites about 600 hearing-impaired sportsmen, 23 of whom are members of the national team. Ugra sportsmen have won in the largest track-and-field events, ski races and volleyball competitions. Additionally, Ugra has experience of conducting all-Russian and international competitions both among healthy and psychically challenged sportsmen. Every year, about 400 competitions of various levels take place in the autonomous okrug. Another advantage of the capital of our okrug is that athletic infrastructure is located within walking distance. We filed an application for conducting Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf gave us the greed light. We will do our best not to betray trust of the world sports community.

- Are Khanty-Mansiysk sports facilities ready to host competitions of such a scale?
– All sports grounds where the competitions will be taking place meet international standards and are ready for the world Games.  The technical delegation of the International Deaflympics Committee visited Khanty-Mansiysk in spring this year and highly praised our facilities. The hockey match will take place in Arena-Ugra Cultural and Entertainment Center. We will be able to watch the contest in curling, which is a new kind of sports for us, at the ice arena. The Center of Winter Sports will traditionally host ski races; five Ugra sportsmen will take place in them. Khvojny Urman Mountain Skiing Complex will host competitions in snowboard. We can come and support our young sportsman from Khanty-Mansiysk, Maria Podorovskaya. The program of XVIII Winter Deaflympics includes five sports for the deaf.

- Khanty-Mansiysk gradually becomes a barrier-free city and what additional measures will be taken during Deaflympics to help hearing-impaired sportsmen to orientate themselves?

- During the Games, visual indicators will be placed in Khanty-Mansiysk to help sportsmen and fans to find their way in the city.

- It is clear that competitions among hearing-impaired sportsmen will be no less spectacular than those among healthy ones. However, as Deaflympics are not broadcast on TV, sports fans know few outstanding hearing-impaired sportsmen. How can we boost interest of people in Deaflympic movement? And do you expect spectators at Deaflympics?
- These are world competitions. Paralympic Games were held in Sochi and it was very hard to buy tickets, especially for team kinds of sports, where Russian sportsmen participated. I hope that Deaflympics will also attract the public. Over 450 sportsmen from 27 countries have already filed their applications. Sportsmen from many European countries, USA, Ukraine are planning to participate. We will be glad to see them and will do everything to organize the event properly. The executive direction receives letters from fans from other Russian regions in which people ask where to buy tickets and what hotel to book. About 100 hearing-impaired fans from the USA are planning to come to Russia. I think that people who are not indifferent to sports can't miss such a significant event. Moreover, entrance to the event will be free of charge. Webcast of Deaflympic events will be organized for all sports fans.

- What do you expect from Deaflympics?
- It is the first time when Russia hosts three winter Olympic Games within a little more than one year: XXII Winter Olympic Games, XI Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, XVIII Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games were held at a high professional level and I am sure that many boys and girls have decided to play sports and lead a healthy lifestyle.  Now the baton was passed to Deaflympics. I hope that after these large-scope events more hearing-impaired people will play sports and physical culture schools will open new deaflympic sports departments.

- Natalia Vladimirovna, will the orkug keep down prices for accommodating guests during the events?
- Yes, we have agreed that the prices will be reduced, not just kept down.

- What prizes will Ugra sportsmen get if they win?
- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered to allocate funds to award Russian sportsmen who will take part in XVIII Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2015. Champions will get 4 million for the gold medal, 2.5 million for the silver one and 1.7 million for the bronze one. Ugra sportsmen taking part in Deaflympics will get the same prizes as Olympic and Paralympic Games participants: 7 million rubles for the gold medal, 5 million for the silver medal and 3 million for the third place.

- Will you come to see Deaflympics?
- I certainly will when I can, especially to watch snowboard and ski races where our Ugra sportsmen will participate. It will also be interesting to support teams in curling and hockey. Especially taking into account that curling contests have never been held in Ugra before. We will be glad to meet sportsman and fans. Welcome to Ugra!


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