Everything you need to know about the Commonwealth Cup – 2022 in biathlon: what kind of tournament, schedule, lineups of the national teams of Russia and Belarus

On August 16, the Executive Committee of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) recommended extending the suspension of Russians from international tournaments. It is clear that with such an attitude, it is almost pointless to wait for the return of our athletes to the World Cup in 2022. But in Russia they did not despair, but came up with their own curious alternative – the Commonwealth Cup.

Will it replace the World Cup or will it make you miss the world competitions more?

“It’s a shame that the Russians didn’t participate.” A tournament for ski and biathlon stars was held in Norway

Suspended Cup

The Commonwealth Cup is an alternative to the World Cup and the IBU Cup. The Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) and the Belarusian Biathlon Federation (BFB), after the removal of athletes from international tournaments, entered into a cooperation agreement, within which they developed a new tournament. The Commonwealth Cup is an independent competition that does not depend on the Russian Championship and the RBU Cup. The tournament calendar provides for the possibility of participation of biathletes in all these starts.

Unlike the World Cup and the IBU Cup, the Commonwealth Cup will have not only winter but also summer stages. So, at three stages, biathletes will run on skis, and on two – on roller skis. Moreover, part of the races will be held on the territory of Russia, and part – in Belarus. As part of the Commonwealth Cup, an analogue of the Christmas Race will also take place, since Russians and Belarusians will not be allowed into Germany either.

Bold experiments in Russian biathlon.  Unique urban race - how will it be?
Bold experiments in Russian biathlon. Unique urban race – how will it be?

For each race, as in the World Cup, athletes will receive prize money. Their size is not yet known, but RRF President Viktor Maigurov claimed that they would be “good”.

Only Russian and Belarusian biathletes will take part in the Commonwealth Cup, although it was planned that representatives of other countries could also be invited to the tournament. It is worth noting that, according to the IBU rules, for competitions involving more than two countries, a special license is required, which is unlikely to be obtained in the current conditions. That is why the tournament was jokingly called the Suspended Cup.

Eduard Latypov

Eduard Latypov

Photo: RIA Novosti

Who is performing? Will there be stars?

Of course, there will not be a general composition for all stages of the tournament. Who will participate in a particular stage, the teams will announce immediately before the start. It was assumed that all the stars of Russian and Belarusian biathlon would come to the tournament. However, already at the first stage in Sochi there are losses.

Anna Sola and Irina Leshchenko did not come to compete for Belarus, as both athletes suspended their careers for the sake of maternity leave. In the Russian team, Alexander Loginov, Svetlana Mironova, Kristina Reztsova, Daniil Serokhvostov, Larisa Kuklina, Anastasia Goreeva, Ksenia Dovgaya miss the tournament in Sochi’s Laura. The reason is the consequences of past illnesses, in most cases coronavirus. At the stage in Sochi, you won’t be able to see Natalya Shevchenko (Mekryukova), who recently switched to biathlon from skiing. Miss the competition and Uliana Nigmatullina. Why is unknown.

Belarus national team at the first stage of the Commonwealth Cup

Men: Anton Smolsky, Dmitry Lazovsky, Maxim Vorobey, Stepan Danilov, Alexander Koshin.
Women: Dinara Alimbekova, Alina Pilchuk, Daria Kudaeva, Adelina Sabitova.

Russia will be represented at the tournament not only by national teams, but also by biathletes competing in the regions. In total – more than a hundred people. Among them, for example, Evgeny Garanichev and Victoria Slivko, who are preparing outside the national team.

Russian team at the first stage of the Commonwealth Cup

Kaminsky group: Eduard Latypov, Evgeny Emerkhonov, Roman Eremin, Alexander Kornev, Ilnaz Mukhamedzyanov, Mikhail Pervushin.
Bashkirov’s group: Anton Babikov, Kirill Bazhin, Mikhail Burundukov, Vyacheslav Maleev, Alexander Povarnitsyn, Vasily Tomshin, Maxim Tsvetkov.
Shashilov’s group: Vladislav Gavrilova, Anna Grigorieva, Irina Kazakevich, Alina Kudisova, Polina Plyusnina, Anna Starovoitova, Anastasia Shevchenko, Anastasia Batmanova, Tamara Derbusheva.
Istomin’s group: Natalia Gerbulova, Elizaveta Kaplina, Ekaterina Noskova, Karim Khalili.

“I can only work in one country.” Interview with the coach of the Russian national biathlon team

Dinara Alimbekova

Dinara Alimbekova

Photo: RIA Novosti

Stage schedule in Sochi

The first stage of the Commonwealth Cup started on August 25 in Sochi. The competition will last until August 28. The stage program includes six races: men’s and women’s sprint, pursuit and big mass start.

The sprints turned out to be very bright and full of wrestling, despite the very hot weather. Gold in the men’s race was won by Anton Babikov, who worked cleanly at both firing lines. Eduard Latypov didn’t make any mistakes either, but he wasn’t so fast, so he lost to the leader by almost half a minute. Closed the top three winners Alexei Vagin with one miss.

Commonwealth Cup – 2022/2023. First stage, Sochi
Race Schedule

25-th of August
11:00. Roller skates, sprint (men)
13:45. Roller skates, sprint (women)
August 27
11:00. Rollerblades Pursuit (Men)
13:00. Rollerblades Pursuit (Women)
August 28
11:00. Rollerblades, large mass start (men)
13:00. Rollerblades, large mass start (women)

The girls went to the start already in the heat, the coaches saved them from the heat by pouring bottled water on them. However, the fight for gold turned out to be much more acute. After the first firing line, Irina Kazakevich, who shot cleanly, was in the lead for a long time, but she was let down by two misses on the rack. With the same shooting, the Belarusian Dinara Alimbekova was a little faster.

Anastasia Shevchenko could snatch victory from her rivals due to clean shooting. After the “stand” she had about 20 seconds of advantage, but the biathlete could not keep it. At the finish, Anastasia completely ran out of strength and she lost to Alimbekova by some 0.5 seconds.

Alexey Kovalev

Alexey Kovalev

Photo: RIA Novosti

When are the next stages of the Commonwealth Cup?

Summer biathlon competitions will also be held as part of the second stage, which will be held in early September in Raubichi (Belarus). Then the athletes will return to classic winter biathlon competitions: in December they will run the New Year’s race in Ryazan, in January they will perform at two stages in Raubichi, and in March they will close the Commonwealth Cup in Tyumen.

Commonwealth Cup – 2022/2023. Stage schedule
1. August 25-28, Sochi (sprint, pursuit, big mass start)
2. September 15-18, Raubichi (sprint, mass start, relay)

New Year’s race. December 23-24, Ryazan (sprint, mass start)
3. January 19-22, Raubichi (sprint, pursuit, big mass start)
4. January 26-29, Raubichi (sprint, mass start, mixed relay, single mixed)
5. March 9-12, Tyumen (sprint, pursuit, mixed relay, single mixed)

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