SOCHI, March 08, 0:53 /ITAR-TASS/. Twelve sets of medals in biathlon and alpine skiing will be at stake at the Paralympic Winter Games in Russia’s Sochi on Saturday. Apart from that, Saturday will see first round robin sessions in wheelchair curling and preliminary rounds in ice sledge hockey.
The first medal event will begin at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time in biathlon. Biathletes will compete for six sets of medals in men’s 7.5 km race and women’s 6 km race.
Russia’s biathletes Akzhana Abdikarimova, Svetlana Konovalova, Maria Iovleva and Marta Zainullina will take part in women’s 6 km sitting event (starting at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time). Maria Iovleva, 24, won gold medals in skiing relay race and 10 km biathlon race and a silver medal in pursuit race at the previous Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010.
Russian male biathletes Alexei Bychenkok, Ivan Goncharov, Alexei Petushkov and Irek Zaripov will take part in men’s 7.5 km sitting race (starting at 10:25 a.m. Moscow time). Irek Zaripov, 30, was a four times Paralympic champion in biathlon and cross country race in Vancouver.
Fifteen athletes will compete for Paralympic medals in women’s 6 km race standing, which will start at 12:00 Moscow time. Russia will be represented by Natalia Bratyuk, Alena Kaufman and Anna Milenina. The favourite in this race is Alexandra Konovalova of Ukraine, a three times Paralympic champion in Vancouver. Men’s event in this category will begin at 12:15 Moscow time. Russia will be represented by six biathletes: Azat Karachurin, Ivan Kodlozerov, Vladislav Lekomtsev, Kirill Mikhailov, Alexender Pronkov, and Alexander Yaremchuk.
Women’s 6 km race for visually impaired will start at 13:05 Moscow time. Russia will be represented by Yulia Budalayeva, Mikhalina Lysova, the winner of several medals at the Vancouver Paralympics in biathlon and cross country races, and Elena Remizova, a six-tme world champion.
The final event of the biathlon programme will be men’s 7.5 km race for visually impaired. Five Russian biathletes - Alexander Artemov, Stanislav Chokhlayev, Nikolai Polukhin, who won two silver medasl at the Vancouver Paralympics, Oleg Ponomarev, and Vladimir Udaltsov - will take part.
Six sets of medals will be at stake in alpine skiing. The programme will start at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time with women’s downhill visually impaired. Russia will be represented by Alexandra Frantseva. Men’s downhill visually impaired event will start at 10:50 a.m. Moscow time. Russia will be represented by Alexandra Frantseva’s brother, Ivan Frantsev, and Valery Redkozubov, who was the Russian team’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
Women’s downhill standing will begin at 10:15 a.m. Moscow time, and men’s downhill standing - at 11:00. Russia will be represented by Inga Medvedeva and Anna Papulova, and Alxander Alyabyev, Alexei Bugayev, and Alexander Vetrov.
Alpine skiing programme will also include women’s downhill sitting (starting at 10:35 a.m. Moscow time) and men’s downhill sitting (starting at 11:50 a.m. Moscow time). Russian athletes will not take part in these competitions.
Round robin wheelchair curling and preliminary rounds in ice sledge hockey will start on Saturday. Ten teams - from Great Britain, Caada, China, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, the United States, Finland, Sweden and South Korea - will take part in round robin sessions in wheelchair curling. Four best teams will play in the semifinals. On Saturday, the Russian team will play with China (staring at 09:30 Moscow time), and Canada (starting at 15:30 Moscow time).
In ice sledge hockey, eight teams will play in two groups for preliminary rounds. Two best teams in each group will play in the semifinals, the rest will play in classification matches (5-8). Group A includes teams from Canada, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Norway. Group B is made up of teams from the United States, Russia, Italy, and South Korea. On Saturday, the Russian team will play with South Korea. The match will start at 20:00 Moscow time.