Biathlon World Championships kick off in Nové Město na Moravě

Vysočina Arena

More than 250 athletes from 33 countries have gathered in the town of Nové Město na Moravě for the Biathlon World Championships, which officially got underway on Tuesday evening.

Jiří Hamza | Photo: Zuzana Jarolímková,

The event, which runs until February 18, was ceremonially launched on the town’s packed Vratislav Square by the president of the International Biathlon Union, Ole Dahlin and the head of the Czech Biathlon Jiří Hamza.

The gala evening started with a new circus performance called Biathlon in the Sky, which was followed by a joint entry of the flag bearers of all participating countries. The programme, attended by mostly Czech fans, ended with a concert by Czech pop-star Ewa Farna.

Ceremonial opening of the championships | Photo: Zuzana Jarolímková,

The opening competition, the mixed relay, is due to start at the Vysočina Arena at 5:20 pm on Wednesday and is expected to be attended by around 27,000 spectators. Eleven years ago the Czechs came third in that event, when the town first hosted the Biathlon World Championships in 2013. This year, the Czech team will include biathletes Michal Krčmář, Tomáš Mykiska, Markéta Davidová and Jessica Jislová.

Ahead of the event, the Vysočina Arena underwent a major reconstruction, including the building of new facilities for competitors and service teams. The investments, which amounted to around half a billion crowns, were paid for by the state and the region.

Markéta Davidová  (right) and Tereza Voborníková  (left) | Photo: Zuzana Jarolímková,

Over the course of the event, organisers expect up to 200,000 biathlon fans to arrive in Nové Město na Moravě, a town with 10,000 permanent residents. As a result, some roads in and around the city will be closed and organisers have appealed to visitors to take into account possible delays. More than 200 police officers will be deployed in the streets to oversee the event.