MINSK, 14 March (BelTA) - The Belarusian Paralympians arrived in Khanty-Mansiysk on 14 March to take part in the Alternative Paralympic Games “We are Together. Sport”, BelTA has learned.
The Belarusians received a warm welcome at the airport with music, songs and traditional northern treats - cranberries and pine nuts. Belarusian skier Valiantsina Shyts, who is in Khanty-Mansiysk for the first time, said that she was pleasantly surprised with such a warm welcome. She also said that she was going to do her best to win medals at the forthcoming competitions. Coach of the Belarusian skiers Yury Buranov, who has been in Khanty-Mansiysk before, said that he liked the city and its people very much. “Our team was seriously preparing for the competitions. We had training camps in Italy, Norway, Sweden, and performed at the world championship. I think that we will take some first places, otherwise why did we come here,” the coach said with a smile.
Belarus has fielded 16 Paralympians, who were supposed to compete at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing, to the alternative games In the capital of Yugra. The head of the Belarusian delegation is Deputy Director of the Belarusian Paralympics and Deaflympics Training Center Aleksandr Flerko. Belarusians will compete in cross-country skiing and biathlon. The program will also feature curling, snowboarding, alpine skiing and sledge ice hockey. The games will take place on 18-20 March.
The idea to hold the alternative games in Khanty-Mansiysk was voiced after the Paralympic teams of Belarus and Russia were banned from the 13th Winter Paralympic Games for far-fetched reasons.